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Flores Wins First AWBT Tour Stop

Final eight players (minus one)

With tour points leader Amanda Pulley (as well as Leandrea Gaff and Sara Miller) in Illinois for the NAPT’s Summer 10-Ball Classic, the AWBT’s stop at Pockets on August 18th and 19th was a prime opportunity for one of the other top points list players to make a move on first place.

 

Those players would find out quickly that even without Pulley, Gaff and Miller, the field of 38 players was still going to be a tough one. “A” players started dropping to the one loss side in the first round with Claudia Morado’s 5-4 win over Justine Bishop. Bishop would be joined by a handful of top players in the second round with Tammy Holben, Pearl Ortiz, Tracie Hamman, Rae Evans and Michelle Trevino all suffering early losses.
 
As the winner’s side narrowed, the final four players only contained one “A” player in the person of Susan Williams. Williams was joined by Pati Martinez, Diana Leon and Mary Helen Mondragon.
 
The one loss side was no more kind to top players as Bishop finished tied for 25th place with such notables as Hamman and Jordyn Flores. The top players would keep falling as Saturday play went on and the day ended with Sonia Flores, Stephanie Benavidez and Carmen Osenton joining Rae Evans for Sunday play.
 
Winner’s side action on Sunday saw Martinez score a 5-4 win over Williams and Mondragon with a lopsided 4-1 win over Leon. Mondragon then went on to capture her first ever AWBT hot-seat with a 4-2 win over Martinez.
Sonia Flores had lost a late Saturday match to Martinez on the winner’s side and she wasn’t going to go away without a fight in this one. A 5-1 win over Terri Johnson-McCauley on Saturday night was followed up by a 5-3 win over Benavidez early Sunday morning and then back to back 5-1 wins over Leon and Evans. Flores would then get her revenge against Martinez with a 5-2 win in the semi-final match.
 
The final match between Mondragon and Flores was an extended match with players adding another two games to their individual races. That left Flores going to seven and Mondragon going to six. Mondragon came out early with a 2-0 lead, but Flores then took control and won four straight racks. Mondragon fought back to 4-4, but Flores then regained control and won three straight for the 7-4 win and first place.
 
In addition to the main event, a second chance tournament was played on Sunday with Sara Sorg going through the field undefeated for first place. A “Balls Only” event was also held on Saturday with 29 guys competing. That event saw AJ Jones and Chris Paradowski split first and second place.
 
The AWBT will take September off, but will be back in Phoenix on October 13th – 14th for 9-ball on the 7’ tables at Bullshooters.

Pulley Tops AWBT Stop 4 And Points List

Susan Williams and Amanda Pulley

Amanda Pulley bounced back from a late Saturday loss to win her second AWBT tour stop of the season and jump to the top of the tour’s point list. Pulley was just one of the early favorites in the field of 53 players at Main Street Billiards in Mesa on July 7th – 8th. 

 

Pulley was joined in the field by such notables as Susan Williams, Sara Miller, Pearl Ortiz and Justine Bishop.
 
Things were going well for Pulley early Saturday with wins over Tonya Kurtz and Ilyana Flores but her path took a detour late Saturday after a 7-5 loss to Pearl Ortiz. A 7-2 win over Kristi St Ange was enough to earn Pulley her place in Sunday’s matches.
 
Ortiz came back on Sunday morning for a lopsided 7-0 win on the winner’s side over Sara Sorg, who had a great weekend of matches. The other half of the bracket saw AWBT veteran Susan Williams scoring a 7-1 win over Pati Martinez, who also turned in an outstanding performance all weekend long. The hot-seat match saw Williams with a convincing 7-3 win over Ortiz.
 
On the one loss side, Pulley had wins over Tommy Holben, Martinez and Dawn Polotto before a rematch with Ortiz in the semi-finals. “I wasn’t thinking revenge,” said Pulley, “but I felt strong during the match and this (plus an energy drink) empowered me”. Pulley was definitely empowered as she eliminated Ortiz 7-3 to earn her spot in the finals against Williams.
 
The final race to 9 was a true back and forth battle. Williams took an early 2-0 lead, but Pulley quickly knotted things at 2-2. The players stayed close until Williams was able to pull ahead for a 7-4 lead and she got to the hill at 8-6 but wasn’t able to put Pulley away. Pulley clawed back to 8-8, leaving the ladies playing one game for the title. The pressure of the final game appeared to get to both players as they both had problems pocketing the final 9-ball. After a missed bank by Williams though, Pulley cut the final ball into the heart of the pocket for the win. “I just told myself that I know how to make this shot, and I wasn’t going to give Susan another chance at the table,” Pulley said.
 
Sunday saw 29 players come back for the second chance tournament where Gigi Callejas took first place and Heather Cortez finished in second. Ed Scott and Evans Bishop split the men’s event that was ran alongside the main event. The AWBT will take it’s annual trip to Tucson on August 18th – 19th for an event at Pockets Pool & Pub.

Tagley Returns To AWBT Winner’s Circle

Nina Tagley and Heather Cortez

She had knocked on the door all season, but Nina Tagley finally broke through into the winner’s circle at the AWBT’s 3rd stop of the season at Kolby’s on June 2nd – 3rd.

 

The field of thirty-two players held it’s usual assortment of monsters, but an unusually large number of those monsters found themselves on the one loss side early as four former tour stop winners (Susan Williams, Jaye Succo, Amanda Pulley and Bernie Store) dropped their first-round matches. Of those monsters, Succo was out in two rounds while Store would only make it one more round as she lost in three rounds.
 
Back on the winner’s side, Tagley had her work cut out for her as she scored wins over April runner-up Justine Bishop, Windy “Five Rounds Deep” Breck, Pearl Ortiz and Rae Evans. As if that wasn’t a tough enough draw, Tagley then had to face “The Torpedo” Heather Cortez. Tagley would drop the match to Cortez 7-3.
 
The left side of the board came down to Evans and Ortiz, who were both looking to avenge their early losses to Tagley and then take on Cortez. Evans got past Ortiz 6-5, but Tagley then made quick work of Rae Evans, beating her by the same 7-2 score that she beat her on the right side of the board.
 
The extended final set between Cortez and Tagley saw Tagley score a hard-fought 9-6 win for her first tour stop win in well over 10 years.
 
Tagley credited home field advantage with helping her get back to the winner’s circle in this one. “I’ve played at Kolbys for nearly 30 years, and last year it was Heather and I 1st and 2nd at this event at Kolbys” Tagley remembered. She also pointed out how close she has been in recent stops. “If you look at the last six events, I’ve scored 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishes. I think my focus level has changed a bit recently, I’m a bit more disciplined now than I used to be.” she said.
 
Eleven players came back on Sunday to compete in the second chance tournament, with Mary Walczak defeating Justine Bishop for the hot-seat, and then Sandi Wilson in the finals, for first place.

Pulley Wins Freezers’ AWBT Tour Stop

Amanda Pulley and Justine Bishop

They came out in droves at the 2nd stop of the Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour, with a field of 56 players at Freezer’s Ice House on April 28th – 29th.

 

Surprisingly in a field of that size, early rounds held their fair share of marquee matchups with #3 ranked Amanda Pulley starting her tournament off with a 6-3 win over #1 ranked Bernie Store and Las Vegas’ Mary Coffman scoring a first round 7-2 win over Sara Miller. While those matches were not necessarily upsets, junior player Tory Conley’s 5-5 win over Jaye Succo was an eye opener and just went to show how much the junior player’s games are improving.
 
The top half of the board saw Pulley score wins over Windy Breck, Pearl Ortiz and #2 ranked Heather Cortez to earn her place in the hot-seat match on Sunday. The bottom half of the bracket was all about Justine Bishop as she dominated her matches, not allowing an opponent more than three games against her. As if that performance wasn’t strong enough already, Bishop then went on to beat Pulley 6-1 for the hot-seat.
 
On the one loss side, Susan Williams was on a run. After a first-round loss to Store, Williams won seven straight matches on the left side of the board, including over such notable opponents as Cathy Kelley, Conley, Tracie Hamman and Cortez. Williams’ run was finally brought to an end by Pearl Ortiz who had put together a four-match winning streak after the earlier loss to Pulley. The win over Williams earned Ortiz another shot at Pulley, but she wouldn’t fare any better with a 6-3 loss.
 
Bishop won the first two games in her first AWBT finals appearance in more than a decade. Pulley pulled the brakes on her and won the next 8 games in a row to clinch the match
 
When asked about this tournament – her 4th tour win – Pulley commented on the tough field. “In this tournament, each time I discovered my next opponent, I was like, “Awww, man, another monster?” And each time with luck and skill, I found a way to work through the match. I was calm after the initial anxiety, and without expectation; that helped a lot.”
 
Twenty-two players came back for Sunday’s second chance tournament, where Veronica Poore defeated Jaye Succo in the finals for first place.
 
The AWBT will next be in action on June 2nd and 3rd at Pockets in Tucson.

Bernie Store Wins AWBT Stop

Bernie Store

Bernie Store returned to the AWBT’s winners circle, with an undefeated run through a field of 28 players to capture the second stop of the season at Skip & Jan’s in Gilbert Arizona on April 30th – May 1st. 
 
Store dominated day one of the event, with wins over Kim Kauffman, Amanda Pulley and Becky Onnembo. Store finished the day with 21 game wins and 7 game losses. 
 
Joining Store on the winner’s side were Sara Miller, Heather Cortez and Sarah Geoghan
 
The one loss side saw a couple surprises as stop 1 winner Amanda Pulley, and Susan Williams both failed to make it to two day. Pulley dropped a left side match to Tami Hathcock, and Williams lost the last match of the night on Saturday to Leadrea Gaff.
 
Sunday play on the winner’s side saw Store defeat Cortez 7-3 and Miller send Geoghan to the one loss side 7-4. Store would then go on to defeat Miller in a hill-hill match for the hot-seat.
 
On the one loss side, Onnembo defeated Gaff and Jaye Succo eliminated Susan Mello. Both players coming over from the winner’s side then won matches, as Geoghan defeated Onnembo, and Cortez defeated Succo.
 
A 7-4 win by Cortez over Geoghan, kept Cortez’s tournament hopes alive, but Miller quickly snuffed those hopes out with a 7-2 win in the semi-finals. 
 
Store jumped on Miller right out of the gate in the finals, and quickly held a 5-1 lead in the extended race to 9. Miller would fight back, but it was Store scoring a 9-5 win in the end. 
 
Store’s win, combined with her runner up finish at stop 1, moves her to the top of the AWBT points list. Miller moves into second place on the list. With their first and second place finishes, Store and Miller also won invites to the North American Pool Tour’s 10-Ball Invitational in Herndon, Va this June. 
 
Eleven players returned to Skip and Jan’s on Sunday to compete in the second chance tournament. That event saw Susan Williams go undefeated for first place, with Jessica Derezinski taking second. 
 
Tour staff expressed their thanks to Natalie and her great staff at Skip and Jan’s for hosting their season opener. Thanks were also given to the “friends of the AWBT” who added $100 to the main event and $50 to the second chance tournament, as well as Las Gloria Grille for adding $100 to the main event. 
 
The AWBT will be at Stingers on June 25th – 26th, for their next stop.

Keeney outlasts Coffman to win Women’s event of the Chinook Winds 8-Ball Championships

Nicole Keeney with Men’s winner Skyler Woodward

Either way, one of the two finalists in the Women's division of the Chinook Winds 8-Ball Championships, held on the weekend of March 11-13, was going to chalk up her first 2016 title. Nicole Keeney and Mary Coffman, both looking for that win, squared off in the hot seat match, and twice in the finals. Keeney took two out of three to claim the title. The $5,000-added event  drew 37 women to the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon.
 
After being awarded an opening round bye, Keeney advanced through Carissa Biggs, Amanda Pulley and Heather Cortez to draw Kim Jones in a winners' side semifinal. Coffman, also awarded an opening round bye, defeated Melyssa Chasteen, survived a double hill match against Jeanne Christiansen, and defeated Carla Jean Beers, to pick up Cynthia Sliva in the other winners' side semifinal. Coffman downed Sliva 5-2, and was joined in the hot seat match by Keeney, who'd survived a double hill fight against Jones. Keeney took the opening round of her three against Coffman in convincing fashion, shutting her out to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Sliva drew Liz Lovely, who was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the quarterfinals. Lovely defeated Cortez 5-3 and Biggs 5-1, to reach Sliva. Jones picked up Beers, who'd gotten by Linda Carter in a shutout and defeated Susie O'Conner 5-3. Jones survived a double hill match versus Beers, and met up in the quarterfinals, with Lovely, who'd eliminated Sliva 5-3.
 
Jones ended Lovely's loss-side streak 5-3, only to be turned away in a double hill fight, by Coffman in the semifinals. The battle for the first 2016 title was on.
 
Coffman immediately made it a compelling story by bouncing back from her shutout defeat in the hot seat match to defeat Keeney 5-2 in the opening set of the true double elimination final. Keeney rallied in the second set, defeating Coffman by the same 5-2 score, to claim the event title.

Wagner Wins AWBT Tour Stop

Rebecca Wagner (Photo courtesy of Nick De Leon)

Rebecca Wagner made it a perfect “two for two” with her second win in as many appearances on the Arizona Woman’s Billiard Tour in 2015. 
 
After a shaky 7-5 start over Claudia Justus, Wagner was untouchable as she won her next two matches by a combined score of 14-2 to advance to Sunday play on the right side of the board. Matching Wagner match for match, was Fort Worth’s Tara Williams. Williams had wins over Marcy Thomas, Bernie Store and Sara Miller on Saturday to remain undefeated. 
 
Joining Wagner and Williams on the winner’s side after one day of play were Nina Tagley and Susan Williams.
 
On the one loss side, Store was mowing down the competition with her sights set on Sunday play. Wins over Sandi Wilson, Claudia Justus and Amanda Pulley were enough to get her there. Sara Miller, Jaye Succo and Justine Bishop would also make it to Sunday play on the one loss side.
 
Sunday matches saw Wagner and Tara Williams keep pace with each other as Williams beat Nina Tagley 7-5 and Wagner beat Susan Williams 7-2. Wagner and Tara Williams would face each other for the hot-seat, which was won by Wagner 7-4.
 
Sunday play on the one loss side saw Sara Miller eliminate Jaye Succo in 7th place, and then Susan Wiliams in 5th place. Meanwhile Bernie Store eliminated Justine Bishop in 7th place and then Nina Tagley in 5th place.
 
The rivalry continued between Miller and Store, with Store pulling out a 7-5 win this time. Miller had a chance to tie the score at 6-6, but missed a 9-ball that gifted the match to Store. 
 
The semi-final match, between Store and Tara Williams, looked to be on its way to a quick finish with Williams cruising to a 5-0 lead. That was when things took a bad turn for Williams. Williams missed a couple of balls that she would have made early in the match and all of a sudden her “can’t miss” confidence was shaken. Store was more than happy to take advantage of the opportunities and the match was eventually tied at 6-6. Both players struggled in the final game, but a miss on the 7-ball was all that Williams could take as she unscrewed her cue and congratulated Store for the win.
 
The extended final match started out close. Store took an early 2-0 lead, but Wagner came back to a tie at 3-3. The score would be tied again at 4-4 and 5-5 before Wagner took control and climbed to the hill at 8-5. A great 6-9 combo by Store brought her back within two racks at 8-6, but it was just delaying the finish as Wagner broke and ran the next rack for the 9-6 win.
 
The second chance tournament on Sunday saw Amanda Pulley bounce back from a loss in her first match to run the one loss side with five match wins and then defeat Tami Hathcock in the finals for first place.
 
The Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour will be back in action on October 17th and 18th at Pockets Pool & Pub in Tucson.
 
Assistant Tour director Tres Kane gave his thanks to Mike and Julie Bates, and the staff of Bullshooters for hosting and adding $300 to the main event and $100 to the second chance event, Jose Gonzales of Las Glorias Grille for adding $100 to the main event and his partner Kristie Ortega for running another fine event.

Amanda Pulley Wins AWBT Tour Stop

Amanda Pulley

The Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour drew a field of twenty four ladies to Stingers on May 22nd – 23rd for their annual Bar Table 8-Ball event, where Amanda Pulley put together an undefeated run for her second career AWBT tournament win.
 
The field was filled with the usual group of top Arizona ladies talent, including previous event winners Pulley. Bernie Store, Susan Williams, Sara Miller and Jaye Succo.
 
Saturday matches were not kind to the points list leaders, as both Store and Williams were not able to earn spots in Sunday’s matches. #1 ranked Bernie Store turned in a “three and out” performance, with losses to Pulley and Susan Williams. Williams didn’t fair much better, with losses to Sara Miller and Justine Bishop, for a 9th place finish.
 
After a 5-3 win over Succo early Sunday, Pulley faced off against tournament surprise Sarah Geoghan. Geoghan turned in her best AWBT performance yet, with four wins on the winner side and a combined games record of 20-5. Unfortunately, she had no answer for Pulley in a 5-1 loss for the hot-seat.
 
Geoghan was one game away from a rematch with Pulley in the finals, as she led Succo 3-2 in the semi-final match, but found herself unable to put the former event winner away. Succo came back to win that match 4-3 to set up a rematch between her and Pulley in the finals.
 
The final race to seven, between Pulley and Succo, couldn’t have been much closer as neither player was able to take any control in the match. Succo held multiple small leads, but could never put any distance between her and Pulley. A 5-4 lead by Succo would be her last, as Pulley dug down to win three straight games for a 7-5 victory and first place.
 
The second chance tournament on Sunday saw Sophia Morquecho, who was unable to compete in the main event, go undefeated for the win. Morquecho defeated Jamie Goodwin twice, for the hot-seat, and in the finals.
 
Assistant Tour director Tres Kane gave his thanks to Dale Hanson, and the staff of Stingers for hosting and adding $300 to the main event and $50 to the second chance event, Jose Gonzales of Las Glorias Grille for adding $100 to the main event, “friends of the AWBT” for adding $200 to the main event, and his partner Kristie Ortega for running another fine event.

Wagner Wins AWBT Stop #2

Rebecca Wagner (Photo courtesy of Nick De Leon)

Rebecca Wagner wasn’t even planning on making the trip from Vegas to Phoenix for the AWBT’s second tour stop at Bullshooters on April 25th and 26th. It was only when she was able to get the weekend off work, that she agreed to accompany road partner Ashea Erdahl to the event. Wagner would end up mowing down a field of twenty eight players to earn first place in her first event of the new season.
 
Wagner would not have an easy path to the win however. Matches against Cynthia Haeffner and Tracie Hamman on Saturday were followed by equally tough matches against Jaye Succo and Bernie Store on Sunday. Wagner did not allow an opponent to the hill against her, and won two of those four matches 7-1. 
 
Wagner’s opponent for the hot-seat, Store, would not have a path any easier. Store scored wins over Alicia De Leon, Jodie Villegas, Susan Williams and Erdahl before dropping the hot-seat to Wagner 7-4.
 
The one loss side on Sunday was a “who’s who” of top female talent, including Williams, Amanda Pulley, Justine Bishop and Susan Mello. After Susan and Susan scored wins over Pulley and Bishop, they were joined on the left side of the board by Erdahl and Succo. Susan Williams would keep her winning ways going, with a 7-2 win over Succo, but Mello would drop a hill-hill decision to Erdahl.
 
Things were not looking good for Williams in her next match, against Erdahl, as she trailed 5-2 in the race to seven. Williams had been in that position before though, and she drew on that experience to mount a great comeback for the hill-hill win.
 
The semi-finals between Williams and Store started out well for Williams, as she took an early 2-0 lead, but then it was time for Store to mount a comeback and she won seven of the next nine games for the 7-4 win and a rematch with Wagner in the finals.
 
The single race to nine extended final was closer than their earlier battle, but it ended in the same result, as Wagner defeated Store 9-6 for first place. 
 
The win moves Wagner to second place on the AWBT points list, with Store still holding a comfortable lead over the rest of the list in first place. Williams, Haeffner and Barbara Lee fill out the top five positions on the list.
 
Although this event worked out well for Wagner, she still doesn’t see herself able to compete in many events this season due to work conflicts. 
 
The AWBT has been forced to change their schedule, and the upcoming Stinger’s event has been moved to May 23rd and 24th. 
 
The second chance event on Sunday saw Cynthia Haeffner beat Diana Leon for the hot-seat and then beat Tami Hathcock in the finals for an undefeated victory.
 
Assistant Tour director Tres Kane gave his thanks to Mike and Julie Bates, and the staff of Bullshooters for hosting and adding $300 to the main event and $100 to the second chance event, Jose Gonzales of Las Glorias Grille for adding $100 to the main event and his partner Kristie Ortega for running another fine event.

Bernie Store Wins AWBT Season Opener

Bernie Store and Heather Cortez

The AWBT kicked off their 2018 season on March 10th – 11th at Bullshooters with a field of 43 players and Bernie Store coming back from the one loss side to win and stake early claim to the AWBT points list. 

 

Store’s path through the brackets started off with wins over Stephanie Woodman, Carol Strong and Sandi Wilson before running into Heather Cortez in the final eight. Cortez, the 2017 points list winner, sent Bernie packing to the one loss side in a hill-hill match. 

 
After her win over Store, Cortez went on to defeat Nina Tagley in the final four and then Amanda Pulley for the hot-seat 7-3.
 
On the one loss side, Store got down to business with wins over Justine Bishop, Beth Orth, Jaye Succo (a hill-hill nail biter), Tagley and then Pulley in the semi-finals.
 
As is always the case on the AWBT, the finals were an extended race to 9 and Store cruised to a comfortable 9-5 victory for first place.
 
Sixteen players came back to Bullshooters on Sunday to compete in the second chance event, where Pearl Ortiz defeated Justine Bishop in the finals for first place. 
 
In addition to the ladies events, the AWBT also held their first “Balls Only” event where Jason Melm completed an undefeated run with back to back wins over James Main in the finals for first place and $310 in prize money.
 
The AWBT will be at Freezer’s for the second stop of the season on April 28th – 29th where they will be playing 9-ball on the 9 foot tables with $500 in added prize money.