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Burbul Qualifies for U.S. Open at NCPT Stop #10

Josh Burbul, Sergio Rivas and Jonathan Strzezewski

Josh Burbul traveled a long way–on the road and through the bracket–to claim his $1,000 paid entry to the 2020 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. Driving from Eagen, Minnesota, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Burbul competed in the North Central Pool Tour’s final stop of the year at Romine’s High Pockets. The event was part of the U.S. Open Global Qualifying Series from Matchroom Multisport.

In his first match, Burbul lost 7-2 to Tyler Styer, fresh off a team win for the Mosconi Cup. But Burbul regrouped and cruised undefeated through the B-side. He notched wins over tough players like Pablo Diaz (6-2), Mark Berry (6-4), Andrew Mackey (6-2), and Wilson Dorsey (6-0). He even faced Tyler Styer again, making a 9 on the break in the last game to advance.

In the finals, Burbul faced undefeated Sergio Rivas. Rivas had put on quite a show with his stellar play. But the final race proved to be a battle. Both players traded wins for most of the set, keeping the score tight. In the hill-hill game, Rivas broke dry. He returned to the table, though, after Burbul missed a safety on the 1 ball. Unfortunately, Rivas gave up the out when he miscalculated a shot on the 6 ball, handing Burbul the final game.

The NCPT’s 10th stop included 32 players from the region. You can watch streamed matches by RailbirdsTV on

The NCPT’s first stop of 2020 will be another U.S. Open qualifier. It will be held on Saturday, January 18, at Chris’s Billiards in Chicago–known for its cameo in the Color of Money.  Visit to register.

Cohen Claims Top Spot at the Fifth NCPT Stop

Scott Cohen

The North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) hosted its fifth event of the year at Pyramid Sports Bar and Pizzeria on Saturday, June 29. Twenty-seven players signed up to compete in the open 10-ball tournament. By the end, the two players vying for the top spot were Scott Cohen (McHenry, IL) and Mason Koch (Menasha, WI).

Young gun Koch cruised through the A side to claim the hot seat. He downed Joe Ulanowski (7-2), Olivia Cheng (7-4), Tom Karabatsos (7-4), and Marcus Wronski (7-4) on his undefeated streak. He even sent fellow finals contestant Scott Cohen (7-4) to the one-loss side in a late-round A-side match. Undeterred, Cohen rebounded with solid wins against Donald Branson (6-3), Andrew Mackey (6-5), and Marcus Wronski (6-2) to secure a rematch against Koch.
In the final set, one race to nine, Koch started off strong. He was quickly up 2-0 on Cohen, snagging his second win with a bank on the 10. But then Koch made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Cohen closed the gap–and then some–winning the next six games in a row. Koch attempted a late-match rally with some impressive play, even making a four-rail bank shot on the 9. But the late hour may have affected his focus as he then missed two 10 balls. Cohen cleaned up the match with a 9 to 4 finish.
To watch streamed matches from this event, visit the RailbirdsTV’s YouTube page at To see a full list of players and the brackets, visit The final standings for the event are:
1st Scott Cohen ($450)
2nd Mason Koch ($285)
3rd Marcus Wronski ($180)
4th Andrew Mackey ($115)
5/6th Donald Branson and Robert Madison ($75)
7/8th Greg Pitts and Mensur Kahric ($45)
The NCPT thanks Pyramid Sports Bar and tour sponsor Eric Nelson for adding $300 to this event. A big thanks, too, to RailbirdsTV for streaming all the action. The new tour directors for the NCPT (Vanessa Hood, Laura Semko, Rho Reyes, and Laura Bendikas) are sincerely grateful to Kelly Nickl for all her work over the past 3 years. She set the groundwork for the successful continuation of this tour.
The NCPT will be hosting two ladies division events July 20 at City Pool Hall and August 24 at Red Shoes Billiards. At least one more open event is also in the works for the fall. Visit the NCPT facebook page or for more details! You can also find the NCPT on Instagram and Twitter.