Grau goes undefeated, winning sudden death final game on Western New York Pool Tour
Skip Maloney
Mar. 3, 2020
(l to r): Jake Miosi, Dave Grau & Nick Brucato
(l to r): Jake Miosi, Dave Grau & Nick Brucato
It’s been a couple of years since the Western New York Pool Tour (WNYPT) has been in what could be described as full swing, or ‘stroke,’ if you prefer the pool analogy. Tour director Nick Brucato hasn’t been idle, but with children entering and proceeding through elementary school, his time was restricted somewhat, and what time he did have, he spent playing instead of organizing and directing tournaments. There have been a few here and there, unreported, over the past couple of years, but with a tournament held this past weekend, February 29, at Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester, NY, Brucato is announcing the return, hopefully, the robust return of the Western New York Pool Tour.
 
“We’re going to start having two stops a month,” he said, literally still working on the precise schedule and sponsorships for the tour. “We’ll be back at Diamonds in Rochester in a couple of weeks.”
 
It’s perhaps fitting that this ‘return’ of the Western New York Tour was won by one of its strongest competitors, Dave Grau, who’s won a number of its stops over the year, while also competing and winning on the Joss Tour and a number of New England-based events. He won a Joss Tour stop in February last year and finished 9th at the 10th Annual New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open. His last recorded cash finish on the Western New York Tour came three years ago, when he finished as runner-up to Nick Brucato. They almost met in the finals at this most recent event; almost, as in . . . Brucato came from the loss side and was defeated by Grau in the semifinals. Grau and hot seat occupant, Jake Miosi, played a single deciding-game final, won by Grau.
 
The worked their way through the short field, facing two opponents to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal. Grau downed Dan Miosi 6-1 and survived a double hill fight against Geoff Montgomery to draw Qais Kolee in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Miosi opened with a double hill win over Fran Imburgia and then, shut out Brucato to pick up Sourith Thammavong in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
With something of a pattern emerging, Miosi followed his double hill win and shutout with a second double hill win, over Thammavong. Grau sent Kolee to the loss side 6-3. Miosi broke the pattern with a 6-4 win over Grau to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Thammavong picked up Montgomery, who, following his defeat at the hands of Grau, chalked up loss side wins over Fran Imburgia 4-1 and a double hill win over Sean Zen. Kolee got Brucato, who was working on a modest two-match, loss-side streak in which he’d given up only a single rack; giving up none to Cory Welfare and the one, to Nick Cappolla.
 
Thammavong downed Montgomery 4-1, as Brucato gave up more racks in his third loss-side match than he’d given up against his previous two opponents combined. Kolee battled him to double hill, but Brucato prevailed, advancing to the quarterfinals and then, downing Thammavong 4-2.
 
Grau and Brucato battled to a somewhat predictable double hill juncture before Grau prevailed for a second shot at Miosi in the hot seat. It was decided that their second meetup would be a single game for the title. Grau won it to claim the first WNYPT pool title in quite a while.
 
Brucato thanked Diamond Billiard owners Fran and Jeremiah Imburgia and Cinder Ziegler and the staff for their hospitality. Stay tuned to these spaces for information about upcoming events on the tour and its sponsors.