Olinger goes undefeated, downs roommate Thorpe in finals of White Diamond’s 9-Ball Open

Roommates Alex Olinger and Billy Thorpe weren't favored to face each other in the finals of the White Diamond Billiards 9-Ball Open on the weekend of November 15-16. Among those who were favored to be the last two standing were (in order) Skyler Woodward, Chip Compton, Joey Gray, and Robb Saez. Also in the 'favored' mix were former champions of the event Jamie Baracks and Shane McMinn, along with Manny Chau, Cliff Joyner, and former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy. But Olinger and Thorpe it was; Olinger completing an undefeated run with a victory over Thorpe in those finals. The $1,000-added bar box event drew 128 entrants to White Diamond Billiards in Lafayette, Louisiana.
"We'd played in the finals of a few smaller tournaments," said Olinger of his regular touring partnership with Thorpe, "but this was the biggest one we'd ever been in that we made it to the finals."
"It was a tough field," he said of his victory, "but I played well all weekend."
He started early, defeating Dalton Riley 7-3, before running into the top-favored player on the list, Skyler Woodward. He downed Woodward 7-4, which sent the youngster on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that ended in the tie for 7th/8th. Olinger went on to defeat Cheddy Brown, Eric Brown and Chip Compton, before running into Thorpe for the first time in a winners' side semifinal. Baracks and Matt Armstrong squared off in the other. Olinger downed Thorpe in a double hill battle, and in the hot seat match, faced Baracks, who'd sent Armstrong west 7-3. Olinger got into the hot seat 7-5 and waited on Thorpe's return.
On the loss side, Thorpe picked up Josh Roberts, who'd defeated Robb Saez 7-4 and ended Woodward's run 7-5. Armstrong drew Robert Dennies, who'd eliminated a couple of favorites; Jonathan Pinegar 7-4 and Chip Compton, double hill. Thorpe and Armstrong advanced to the quarterfinals; Thorpe 7-2 over Roberts and Armstrong 7-3 over Dennies.
Thorpe defeated Armstrong 7-4, and then earned his second shot at Olinger with a 7-5 victory over Baracks in the semifinals. Olinger stopped Thorpe's three-match, loss-side run with a 7-4 win in the opening set of the true double elimination final.
The event was the work of Ashley and Chris Miller, owners of White Diamond Billiards. Selected matches were broadcast throughout the weekend by PoolAction TV, with commentary by Ray Hansen.