Schmidt and Lac take Tiger Tour Wins

room owner Cindy Dorsey, John Schmidt, Brandon Shuff and room owner Thomas Dorsey

The Tiger Tour was at Diamond Billiards in Midlothian Virginia for the first time this past weekend on May 31st and June 1st. The room added a total of $2500 to the event with the help of Jagermeister, and a cue donated by John Schmidt's sponsor OB1, and the sponsors of the Tiger Tour.

The field was a strong one, with 41 players coming out to prevent Manny Chau from taking a fourth tournament in a row, and 20 ladies attending for the title of Virginia State Champion. Saturday's line up included several of the top points leaders of the tour, along with some new faces from the Richmond area, and three of the ladies that were warming up for their competition on Sunday. The surprise visitor from Florida was pro player John Schmidt, John is currently sponsored by the host pool room, and wasn't about to let them down. John's tournament run didn't allow a single player to reach above four games. His wins on Saturday included Dave White of Norfolk, VA 9-3, Larry Kressel 9-4, and his final match for Saturday against Dustin Paris ended brutally 9-3, taking him into Sunday where he would meet Richmond local David Hunt in the Final Four of the winners bracket. The defending Chau continued to look strong starting out on Saturday winning his first match 9-2 against Mark Little, but as the day wore on his matches grew closer to the edge with wins over John Newton 9-7, and Paul Helms 9-8 taking him into the final four on the winners bracket for Sunday where he would meet up with Planet Pool Tour Founder Danny Green. The women faired well on Saturday, however only one made it into the final twelve cash, 2007 Tour Champion My-Hanh Lac. My-Hanh fought her way through the winners bracket Saturday with wins over Will Moon 9-7 and Joey Ryan 9-6, and was sent to the elimination bracket by Danny Green 9-5, where she met up with Richmond local Larry Kressel and was defeated 7-5.

After a full day of matches, Diamond Billiards put together a special evening action ring game, $200 entry between John Schmidt, John Newton, Larry Kressel, Joey Ryan, Brandon Shuff and Manuel Chau. Manny came out ahead in the end, with Joey Ryan taking second.

Schmidt's returned on Sunday continued as he quickly dispatched of David Hunt 9-3, to finally meet up with Tour Points Leader, and winner of the previous three events, Manuel Chau. This was a much anticipated match up between the two, but Schmidt again dominated the table and dispatched Chau to the elimination bracket with a win of 9-4. Brandon Shuff was waiting for Manny on the elimination bracket. After taking an early upset loss on Saturday to Paul Helms, Brandon began plugging away to get back to the top. With wins over Dave White 7-5, John Newton 7-3 and an early Sunday win over Eric Moore 7-1, Brandon then eagerly took on Larry Kressel and defeated him 7-0. He looked to be unstoppable as he went up against Manny Chau defeating Manny 7-1 to face off against John Schmidt. The finals however weren't as evenly matched as we had hoped, and John walked away with the first place prize money of $1100, after defeating Shuff in an 11-0 victory.

After the match we had a moment to catch a quote from John “I want to thank everyone at Diamond Billiards in Midlothian Virginia. The Tiger Tour put on a great event and they treated me very nice. I am happy I played well and got the rolls when needed to win the tournament. Diamond Billiards has great food, tables and atmosphere and I want to thank them for agreeing to sponsor me. Ceci Strain runs a nice event and I am looking forward to playing the Tiger Tour again.”

The ladies division Sunday saw 20 players all vying for the title of Virginia State Champion, and the much coveted spot at the WPBA 2008 US Open. With a surprise visit from Virginia's Governor Gilmore, the ladies were really in the spotlight. Newcomer to the tour Iris Ranola of Manila, Phillipines, appeared to be the toughest competition for Ming Ng and My-Hanh Lac early in the day. The big surprise for the day, was long time friend of the tour, Christine Foster. Christine pushed her way through the winner's bracket defeating Ann Bellamy 7-4, and Katie Cowan 7-5, but was sent to the elimination bracket by Lac. She didn't give up and went on to defeat Sharon O'Hanlon 7-5 for a shot at Ming Ng. Ng didn't give her a chance defeating her 7-0, sending Christine into 4th place. Ng and Lac matched up to see who would go on to play Ranola in the finals, with Lac coming up with the win. Lac had already qualified for the US Open, and was going strictly for the Virginia State title. Lac came out ahead 9-7 against Ranola. Ranola will be attending the WPBA 2008 US Open alongside My-Hanh Lac. We wish both ladies the best of luck!