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Wolford & Keeney Make Sweet Music at Music City

Shane Wolford

The 34th Annual Music City Open was once again hosted by JOB’s Billiards in Madison, TN – a suburb of Nashville. Played on seven foot Diamonds, $7,000 was added to the event. Owner Ricky Gamble and his staff went all out to welcome all the players and fans.

Kicking off the event on Wednesday evening was a single elimination open 9 ball mini tournament. Sixty four players joined the fray – format was races to seven, winner breaks.

Directed by our own Ray Hansen, the field was whittled down to four players. Manny Perez handily beat Josh O’Neal 7-0 while James Davee beat Jeremiah Petty 7-3 to move into the finals. Due to the late hour, Manny and James decided to split the pot.

The $6,000 added Open 9 Ball division began the following evening. 127 players paid their $100 entry fees into this double elimination event. Races were to eleven with winner breaks. Following the players meeting, a rousing players auction and draw, play began.

Notable matches in the first round action saw John Gabriel thump Chris Baskerville 11-1 as did Shane Wolford over Raed Shabib 11-3. Brian Bryant had a bit of a tougher time with cuemaker Mike Durbin – the final score was 11-7. Young guns Sergio Rivas smoked Tracy Blevins 11-2 while Manny Perez defeated Steve Legace 11-3. John Hennessee blitzed Bob Ferrell 11-0 and Dave Matlock notched a forfeit over Jesse Couch.

In the second round and still having a fairly easy time of it, Tulsa’s John Gabriel then defeated Dominick Iraggi 11-3. Shane Wolford, owner of the Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA made short work of Mark Nanashee 11-4 and Jeremiah Petty skunked Brandon Andre 11 zip. Manny Perez claimed victory over Chris Busby 11-5 and Hennessee spanked Michael Williamson 11-3. Robert Hall defeated Ron Frank 11-7, James Davee outran Andrew Stroup 11-8 and Mike Gann forfeited his match to Josh O’Neal.

Legendary bar box king Dave Matlock had his hands full with the straight shooting Sergio Rivas. Hoping for a flashback, Dave played well but Sergio took him down 11-7.

Third round action saw John Gabriel run into a buzz saw named Shane Wolford. Catching up to the great breaking Shane a couple of times, Wolford finally pulled away to a 10-6 lead. No slouch himself, John clawed his way back to tie it up at ten apiece! In a heartbreaker of a game, a relieved Shane finally edged him out.

Other matches from that round had Rivas easing past Tab Pranee 11-5 as Chuck Raulston eased past Steve Cruse 11-2. Seemingly unable to find his game, Manny Perez was smoked by Rusty Jackson 11-3 and Hennessee from Tennessee took care of Anthony Gunn 11-5. Joey Yarbrough was no threat to Robert Hall – he lost 11-2 while James Davee wrestled Lee Uhles for an 11-8 win.

With both the Open and Ladies event in full swing, Saturday night was ground zero for the Midnight Madness nine ball mini. Eight players put up a $500 entry fee. Format was single elimination with races to eleven and winner breaks. Shane Wolford and Hennessee were the last men standing – they also decided to split the pot.

After a scare in his previous match with John Gabriel, Shane Wolford cruised to an 11-2 victory over Scott Roberts and Rivas was in the zone with an 11-1 win over Gene Drerup. Raulston sent Kevin Ping packing – same score – 11-1.

After his big win over Manny Perez, Rusty Jackson had his hands full with Hennessee – he lost 11-7. James Davee also survived a tough one – he defeated Joey Yarbrough 11-9.

Playing great, Wolford swept past Chip Gaither 11-2. Same great play by Rivas got him past Chuck Raulston 11-6 while Hennessee sent Davee west 11-6.

As the Open 9 Ball played on, the $1,000 added Ladies Division began on Friday night. Forty two players entered this double elimination event – format was races to seven with winners break. As always, there was a players meeting and auction followed by the draw.

The ladies played down to the final four on the winners side. Nicole Keeney defeated Amanda Huff 7-3 and Amy Theriault was defeated by Edie Dean. Edie & Nicole advanced to the hot seat match where Nicole breezed through the match and locked up her berth in the finals 7-1. Edie headed west to await an opponent.

After losing her first match, Laura Kanov’s run to the finals was finally thwarted by Julie Skirpac 7-3. Laura finished in fourth place. Julie then went on to face Edie Dean but lost 7-5. She finished third – Edie would get another shot at Nicole in the finals.

Since this was a double elimination event, Edie would have to win two sets to claim the title. She won the first two games but Nicole came roaring back to win the next four. Edie managed to put two more games on the board but it wasn’t enough – Nicole took the match and the title 7-4! Fantastic tournament for both players!!!

Finally down to four on the winners side in the Open event, Wolford made short work of Brian Bryant 11-5 while Rivas outlasted Hennessee 11-7. Sergio and Shane headed to the hot seat match – their opponents slogged over to the one loss side of the chart.

The hot seat match was all Shane Wolford. He kept Rivas pretty much nailed to his chair and moved undefeated into the finals – 11-4.

On the other side of the brackets, Bryant and Mike Gann battled – Gann was eliminated 11-8. On the other table, Josh O’Neal and Hennessee took it down to the wire – Josh was eliminated 11-10. After escaping his previous match, Hennessee tortured Brian Bryant 11-1 – Brian finished in fourth place.

Fighting to claim the remaining berth in the finals and looking to avenge his previous loss to Rivas, Hennessee was taking no prisoners this time. Hennessee defeated Sergio 11-6 and headed to the finals. Sergio finished in third place.

As this was double elimination, Wolford would have to be beaten twice for Hennessee to win the tournament. By mid-match, it was tied at five apiece. Shane won the next three games – making it 8-5. Could he run out the set?!!!

Nope!!! Hennessee rallies and ties it up at eight!!! Wins the next game and takes his first lead of the match!!! His lead didn’t last long though as Shane tied it up again at nine games each but once again, Hennessee won the next game. He was on the hill – 10-9. Could he win this last game and force a second set?

Not so fast!!! He scratched on the break!!! A dejected Hennessee slowly walked back to the chair to watch Shane run out the rack making it 10-10!!!

Making the one on the break, he had a wide open rack! Methodically running the balls but leaving himself a little long on the seven, he took a deep breath and rifled it in to win the event!!! Great tournament for both players!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to again thank Ricky Gamble and local sponsor Action 24/7 for another fabulous event. Tournament Director Jason Hill – ably assisted by Steve McDonald – did an excellent job coordinating the various events.

We’d like to thank commentators Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston and Jeremy Jones – great job!

We’d also like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, StraightPoolEye, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next stop is the long awaited Derby City Classic in New Albany, IN – dates are January 21st-29th. As always, we hope to see you there and in our Aramith Action Room!!!

Parks and Huang Win U.S. Amateur Championship Titles

Brian Parks

“To see where my game stacks up against the best of the best.” 
 
“There’s nothing else in pool like it.” 
 
“I want to leave a legacy.”
 
Those were just a few of the many reasons event participants cited for wanting to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
That’s what drove more than 2,100 of North America’s top amateur players to try and qualify.  That’s what brought 128 men and 39 women to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla., in early November to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
Yeah, there were some great perks too.  Like a getaway to Tampa, one of the premier vacation destinations in the world.  An all-expenses paid trip to a pro event next year courtesy of the APA for the winners of each division.  Oh, and let’s not forget the championship trophy – a combination of marble and bronze that more closely resembles a piece of fine art than something awarded at a tournament.
 
But winning the U.S. Amateur Championship is all about the title.  It’s about leaving your mark on the sport of pool.  It’s about having your name and your accomplishment forever etched in history on the Larry Hubbart Trophy.
 
Parks Drive for 5
 
In the finals of this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, it was four-time U.S. Amateur Champion Brian Parks of Bakersfield, Calif., looking to defend his title against Jeremy Edwards of Granger, Ind.
 
Parks had gone undefeated coming into the final round. He was squaring off against a red-hot Edwards who also came into the final day undefeated before being bounced to the one-loss bracket by Parks.
The match opened in the 8-Ball set, with Parks winning the first two games, the second of which by perfectly executing a jump shot to pocket the 8-ball in the corner.  Edwards got on the scoreboard just moments later when Parks pocketed the 8-ball on the break, but also scratched.
 
Leading 2-1, Parks would take the next two games, with Edwards winning the following two games to make the score 4-3.  Parks would close out the 8-Ball set with another win and took a 5-3 lead going into the 9-Ball set.
The players traded the first two games of the 9-Ball set, with Parks taking the first and Edwards winning the second.
 
One of the more pivotal moments in the match came in the third game of the 9-Ball set.  Trailing 6-4, Edwards had the chance to draw within a game, but failed to pocket the 9-ball.  Parks instead capitalized on the mistake and took at 7-4 lead.
 
Parks would go on to win three of the next five games, and lead 10-6.  In the seventeenth game, after Parks pocketed the 8-ball, and had perfect position to pocket the 9-ball for the victory, Edwards conceded the match in a show of good sportsmanship.
 
The championship was Parks 5th U.S. Amateur Championship title in 11 appearances, the second time he’s secured the title in back-to-back years.  He’ll advance to the 2018 U.S. Open courtesy of the APA. 
 
For Edwards, the Runner-up finish was an impressive showing in only his second U.S. Amateur Championship.
 
Former champions David Rowell (’00) of Birmingham, Ala., and Henry Brodt (’98, ’99, ’15) of Laguna Beach, Calif., finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
 
[photo id=48246|align=right]Huang Finally Secures Coveted Championship
 
Melinda Huang of Los Angeles previously qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship eight times, twice making it to the finals, but each time coming up just short of the title.  For Huang, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
After a two-year hiatus, she returned to Stroker’s once again determined to take home the championship.  
 
But opportunity doesn’t always come easy at the U.S. Amateur Championship.  Undefeated and seemingly well on her way to another final, Huang’s championship hopes were derailed by Amy Theriault.  
 
In the hot-seat match, Theriault, of Sandusky, Ohio, sent Huang to the one-loss bracket and secured a spot for herself in the final round.  If Huang was going to have a chance at the title she’d been chasing for more than a decade, she’d have to get past Rhea Brooks of St. Louis, Mo.
 
With her back against the wall, and her opponent on-the-hill, Huang rose to the occasion.  She forced a hill-hill showdown with Brooks, eventually defeating her 5-4.  The win setup an opportunity for redemption with Theriault.
Things seemed to finally come together for Huang in the final round.  The match opened in 8-Ball, with Huang dominating the set 6-0.
 
Theriault got on the board by winning the first two games of the 9-Ball set, but Huang would not to be denied this year.  She took three of the next five games and sealed the match with a 6-9 combo for the victory.
You could almost sense the relief from Huang as she grasped the trophy that had eluded her for so many years.
 
Huang moves on to compete in a WPBA event next year, courtesy of APA.
 
Theriault finished as Runner-up, her first appearance since 2010.  Brooks finshed in 3rd Place.
 
Match coverage, including the finals, of this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship and Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship can be found on the APA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/apaleagues.
 
The entry window for the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship is now open with the Preliminary Rounds scheduled across North America in mid-September.
 
The U.S. Amateur Championship is conducted by the APA, and is the only tournament produced by the APA open to both members and non-members.  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-September.
 
As Champions, both Parks and Huang will return next year to defend their coveted titles.
 
The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.
 
The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.
 
The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out more than $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!
 
The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues and Pool Dawg.
 
For complete coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship visit http://www.poolplayers.com/usam/.