Putnam wins Viking Ohio Regional Championship

BJ Ussery, Shawn Putnam and Danny Basavich

The Viking Cue 9-Ball Tour held their third Regional Championship at Cornfed Red's Billiards in Columbus Ohio this weekend and although the field of 110 players was full of talent, it was a familiar face in the winners circle when it was all over.

On the winners side, the story of the event was Danny Basavich. Basavich ran into Larry Nevel in the second round and handed him a dominating 9-0 loss. Three rounds later, it was Basavich vs former US Open Champion Corey Deuel. This time it was Basavich scoring a 9-2 win.

Meanwhile on the other side of the brackets, BJ Ussery was quietly making his way towards the hot-seat. With the top players that Basavich beat to get to the match for the hot-seat, it was a bit of a surprise for the crowd when Ussery took the hot-seat 9-5.

Basavich went to the one-loss side where Viking Tour regular Shawn Putnam was waiting fresh off a string of six matches won. It looked like another dominating win for Basavich as he raced to an 8-3 lead. Then Putnam won a rack. Then he won another. Then he snapped a 9-ball. Then he snapped another 9-ball. Before the crowd knew what happened, Putnam was firing in a 3-9 combo to tie the match at 8-8. Rack 17 turned into an all-out safety battle and a missed kick on the 4-ball by Basavich was the last shot he would get. Putnam ran out for the 9-8 win and a spot in the finals.

Putnam knew he would have to beat Ussery twice in the finals to get the victory. The first set of the finals saw both players go on streaks and string games together. With the match tied at 2-2, Putnam snapped 2 9-balls in a row and pulled ahead 5-2. Then is was BJ's turn as she won three straight games to tie the match at 5-5. From there, Putnam won rack 11 and then broke and ran the last three racks for the 9-5 win in the first set.

Putnam stayed on his hot streak and won the first three games of the second set before Ussery clawed out a game. Putnam won two more games before Ussery was able to move his second bead on the wire. After that, it was all Putnam as he won the last four racks for the 9-2 victory in the final set.

Putnam collected $2100 for first, while Ussery settled for $1400 in second place prize money. Basavich and Mike Moran filled out the top four spots.

The Viking Cue 9-Ball Tour will be at Q's 21 in Mentor Ohio next weekend for their next event and then the $25,000 added National Championship will take place November 19th - 23rd at Northfield Billiards in Northfield Ohio.

Photo courtesy of Mark Whiteside