Shuffett wins Bank Shot Invitational

Landon Shuffett and Truman Hogue (Photo courtesy of

Youth was served at Louisville's Bank Shot Billiards on Jan 5, 2009 as 14 year old superstar-to-be, Landon Shuffett took the $1000 first prize in the invitational nine ball event. As always, promoter extraordinaire Truman Hogue, filled his 32 player field a week before the opening break shot. He also tweaked the format and raced to 6 on both sides with alternating breaks. Those changes plus Bank Shots' pre-pro cut Diamond pockets figured to produce some upsets, but no one was complaining when their $50 entry gave them a shot at the $2100 ($500 of it added) prize fund.

The upsets started immediately. Many of the supposed pre-tournament favorites were out altogether by the third round. But the quality of play among the field was stellar. In the winners semi finals, Kenny Tran held off Donny Sinkhorn by 6-3. Young Landon ambushed the venerable Bryan Roberts 6-2. Kevin Nichols then eliminated Bryan, who never made a ball on the break, in a strong 6-0 win. Rob Ganote awaited Sinkhorn in a battle of southpaws. Rob moved on in a tightly contested 6-4.

The winners final matched Tran and Shuffett. Landon moved on in a very well played match by a 6-4 count. Kevin Nichols then went after Rob Ganote in the losers semi. The very entertaining match went to Kevin at double hill as Rob wound up fourth. So, Kevin found Kenny Tran newly arrived on the left side as they battled back and forth until Kenny got over at 6-4 leaving Kevin I a solid third place.

Repeating the winner finals were Tran and Shuffett. Kenny seemed to relish his underdog status, but he is starting to get quite a few high finishes. Landon held the advantage of true double elimination and in the finals it would be races to 9. Landon jumped out early at 3-1, but Kenny began a surge when he two rail kicked in an eight ball after hooking himself behind the nine. He broke and ran the next rack to tie and continued on to lead 6-4. But they arrived at hill- hill. Landon was running out for the title when a miscue gave Kenny a chance and he ran out to force the deciding set.

Many players of any age might come unglued after that miscue. But Landon really upped his focus and played very well, jumping out to a 4-1 lead and stretching it out for a 9-4 victory.. Kenny got a $600 second prize, and frankly is an underdog no more. And Landon shows once again why he is one of America's elite young pool players. He left the field at Bank Shot wishing that he would pick on somebody his own age!