Freeman double dips Palaci to win DFW 9-Ball Tour's season opener
Skip Maloney
Jan. 25, 2020
(l to r): Clint Palaci, Clint Freeman & Tony Top
(l to r): Clint Palaci, Clint Freeman & Tony Top
Though he played more games and eventually, after winning five on the loss side of the double elimination bracket, met and defeated hot seat occupant, Clint Palaci, to claim the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) 9-Ball Tour’s season opener on the weekend of January 18-19, Clint Freeman did not end up with the highest game-winning percentage of the 106 entrants, who signed on to the $1,500-added tournament, hosted by Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX. That interior-event ‘title’ went to Walter Huenerfuerst, who, though he finished in the tie for 13th place, won 57 of the 80 games he played over the weekend (71%).
 
Event winner Freeman, at 65% (85-46), wasn’t even in second place for the game-winning percentage ‘title,’ though he did end up in third place. Second place went to a competitor who was the odds-on favorite to win the tournament; seven-time participant and 2019 Vice Captain of the USA Mosconi Cup team, and winner of the 1998 US Open One Pocket and 2003 US Open 9-Ball titles, Jeremy Jones. Jones, though he finished in the tie for 9th place, won 64 of the 96 games he played (67%).
 
That strange little ‘factoid’ emanates from a disparity of games-played and racks-given-up that doesn’t always figure into the bottom line of winning or losing a given tournament. If you play 10 games of pool in a tournament, all races to 8, and win them all, you win the tournament. But if each of your eight games goes double hill (8-7), you’re going to finish the tournament with a 53% game-winning percentage. Huenerfuerst lost his opening match, faced seven opponents on the loss side, and gave up an average of just under three racks per match to his opponents to win the game-winning percentage battle. Jones, who moved to the loss side after the fourth round, faced a total of only six opponents and gave up just over five racks per match. Event winner Freeman played 11 matches, to include the double elimination final and gave up just over four games per match.
 
Freeman’s path to the winners’ circle went through Jeff Williams (8-5), Paul Villa (8-2), and Shane Hvamsted 8-3, before running into Donnie Gregory for the first time. Gregory sent him to the loss side 7-5. Gregory then advanced to a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Clint Palaci. Meanwhile, Tony Top, who’d recently battled to double hill versus Jeremy Jones and sent him to the loss side, advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal against Harold “Woody” Paine.
 
Top got into the hot seat match with an 8-6 victory over Paine. He was joined by Palaci, who’d defeated Gregory 7-2. Palaci gave up only a single rack to Top and grabbed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Freeman began his loss-side campaign with his hands full, so to speak, by drawing Jeremy Jones, who’d just won his first loss-side match 10-6 over Daniel Herring. Freeman put an end to an extraordinarily brief loss-side run by Jones with an 8-5 win. Freeman moved on to a double hill battle that he eventually won over JP Kinman, that set him (Freeman) up to face “Woody” Paine. Gregory picked up Jud Hunter, who’d recently eliminated Billy Guy and John Doughty, both 7-5.
 
Freeman advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-4 win over Paine, earning himself a rematch against Gregory, who’d defeated Hunter 7-5. Freeman went at the quarterfinal rematch with a vengeance, and allowed Gregory only a single rack in his 8-1 victory. Freeman completed his loss-side run with an 8-2 victory over Top in the semifinals.
 
Hot seat occupant, Clint Palaci began the double elimination finals against Clint Freeeman with one ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 8. The two Clints battled to double hill in the opening set, before Clint finished it, forcing a second set. Freeman took the second set 8-4 to claim the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener and for about a month, sit at the top of the DFW’s standings.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Anchor Predator Cues, Business Sponsor Ft. Worth Billiards Superstore and Associate Business Sponsors Aramith Balls, Outsville Racks, Rasson Billiards and JB Cases. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Feb. 22-23, will be hosted by Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.