Rocket Lands on Planet 9-Ball

Rodney Morris and John Ditoro

The 4th stop of The Florida Pro Tour took place at Planet 9-Ball in Tampa, Florida on May 6th and 7th 2006. Sponsored by the Seminole tribe of Florida, the event was 10 ball, rack your own $8000 added! It was quite appropriate that a player named ?The Rocket? would land at Planet 9-Ball on Saturday and blast through a very strong field of players to reach his final destination of victory on Sunday night.

63 players showed up on Saturday which included US Open Champions and Hall of Famers. Day 1 saw Charlie Williams defeat Earl Strickland 7-5 in their 2nd round winners side match. Jeremy Jones was beaten 7-2 by Chris Bartrum in their 1st round match and fate then brought Jeremy Jones and Earl Strickland to the same table on the one loss side with Jeremy coming out the 7-3 winner and sending Earl ?The Pearl? home early.

John Schmidt lost his first round match to tour regular David Broxson, forcing John to win 4 matches straight on the one loss side till a Sunday meeting with Jeremy Jones saw John come out on the wrong end of an 8-5 scoreline.

Hall of famer Nick Varner lost his 2nd round match to Butch Croft from Jacksonville, FL. Nick then defeated Eric David 7-2 but was unable to get past David Broxson. David Broxson eliminated Nick Varner from the tournament in a tight 7-6 match.

US Open Champion Gabe Owen lost his first match to Orlando, FL player and tour regular Adam Wheeler in another close 7-6 match. Gabe then wins easily 7-1 over Russel Binns, then squeaks by Tour Director John DiToro 7-6, only to lose his next match 7-4 to David Grossman.

This tournament was all about great players beating great players in one of the strongest fields on the Florida Tour in recent years.

The final day saw undefeated Rodney Morris defeat Butch Croft 8-6 and undefeated Trevor Braymore score a fantastic 8-7 come from behind victory over Robb Saez. Robb was on the hill 7-2 over Trevor. Trevor gets a shot after a Saez miss and Trevor runs out. Trevor then breaks and runs 4 racks of 10 ball keeping Saez in his chair wondering how this kid can play so good! Trevor now has the match tied at 7-7 and then breaks and scratches in the corner! Saez gets up from his chair for the first time in 5 games and makes the 1,2,3 and gets a little straight on the 4. Saez makes the 4 and scratches in the side giving ball in hand to Trevor. Trevor makes an easy 5 and immediately gets out of line and hooks himself on the 6. Trevor kicks at the 6 and leaves a straight in shot for Saez. With victory in hand, Robb Saez misses the 6 in the corner and then Trevor runs out for the very exciting 8-7 win (and the match of the tournament in my opinion)

Robb Saez then played Troy Frank who had also been beaten by Trevor Braymore earlier. Robb Saez eliminated Troy Frank 8-5.

The winners side match saw a very in form Rodney Morris easily beat Trevor Braymore 8-2, setting up a Saez/Braymore rematch with this match also having an 8-7 scoreline but Saez this time was the victor. The one race to 9 final was a quick affair between two friends (Morris and Saez are co-house pro?s at Capones Billiards in Spring hill Florida) The Rocket wasted no time firing in balls and running out for the 9-6 victory over Robb Saez.

Top 8:
1st Rodney Morris - $3500
2nd Robb Saez - $2000
3rd Trevor Braymore - $1400
4th Troy Frank - $1100
5th/6th Butch Croft & Louis Ulrich - $850
7th/8th Jeremy Jones & Neil Fujiwara - $650

Ken Miller and staff at Planet 9-Ball in Tampa were very gracious hosts and worked hard all weekend long in their awesome space themed room. Make sure you check it out if you are ever in the Tampa area. The tour now takes the summer break till the next stop October 7th at Victory Billiards in West Palm Beach.

The tournament was covered live online by where you can find brackets, final placings and photos.