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Bryant goes undefeated to take WPBA title at Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards

Brittany Bryant, Janet Atwell and Mary Rakin (Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee)

It’s hard to know just how exactly the proverbial ‘luck of the draw’ can impact a tournament field. Is there ever an easy path through a strong field? Does early ‘luck of the draw’ influence a player’s ability to face increasingly difficult competition? With ‘no’ as the answer to the ‘easy path’ question, one would think that getting a few relatively ‘easy’ matches under your belt before facing any heavy hitters would have to be of benefit. On the weekend of October 18-21, Canada’s Brittany Bryant went undefeated through a field of strong opponents to win the WPBA BLU-EMU Southern Open Signature Tour Stop.
 
With a Fargo Rate of 663, Bryant opened the tournament with matches against opponents whose ratings were in the 500 range, slowly graduating to matches against higher ranked opponents, and then, in the finals, squaring off against Mary Rakin with exactly the same rating of 663. The $10,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
That said, it didn’t take Bryant long to get into the thick of things. Following victories over Autumn Duncan (Fargo Rating 585) 7-2 and Bonnie Arnold (553) 7-3, Bryant faced the Texas Tornado, Vivian Villarreal, sporting a higher Fargo rate of 685 (the top Fargo-rated female in the US). They locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Bryant against Jia Li (654) and a second double hill fight, which Bryant won, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal match against Karen Corr (722; as an Irish competitor, Corr is not on the US Top 10 list, and doesn’t appear among the top 10 World List, dominated by seven Chinese women, whose ratings range from 782 to 744).
 
Meanwhile, Line Kjorsvik (675) was running her own gauntlet of top-notch talent. She defeated Ji-Hyun Park, Jeannette Lee, Ashley Rice and Helena Thornfeldt to draw (out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak) Allison Fisher (724). Fisher had sent Bryant’s eventual finals opponent, Mary Rakin, to the loss side in the second round.
 
Bryant downed Corr 7-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Kjorsvik, who’d survived a somewhat predictable double hill match against Fisher. Bryant claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Kjorsvik and waited for Rakin to complete her nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would bring her into the final match.
 
Six matches had put Bryant in the hot seat, and while they included those back-to-back wins over Villareal, Li, Corr and Kjorsvik, the run paled (somewhat) in the face of what Rakin accomplished to meet her in the finals. Wins over Kaylin Wykoff and Maureen Seto put Rakin into the first money round (17th-24th) against Gerda (Hofstatter) Gregerson. A subsequent win over Dawn Hopkins led to five straight wins over Thornfeldt, Jennifer Baretta, Corr, Fisher and Kjorsvik.
 
She defeated Thornfeldt 7-4 and Baretta 7-3 to pick up Corr, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Fisher drew Jia Li, who’d defeated LoreeJon Hasson 7-5 and Melissa Little 7-4 to reach her.
 
Rakin defeated Corr 7-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Fisher, who’d eliminated Li 7-2. Rakin and Fisher locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Rakin to the semifinals against Kjorsvik. A second straight double hill fight, won by Rakin, gave Rakin her shot at Bryant in the finals.
 
The finals, according to FargoRate, was a 50/50 proposition. Rakin had the intangible of momentum and recent wins over higher ranked competitors going for her, though two straight double hill wins over quality opponents might have taken a little out of her. Bryant had the wait, which can sometimes work for you with a little rest or against you, in terms of going a little cold at the table. By the same token, her own list of recently defeated quality opponents suggested that either way, it was going to be a good match between two quality opponents who had more than earned their way into the finals. Bryant won it 7-4 to claim the event title.

Seaver goes undefeated to win her second WPBA Regional Tour Championship

Almost to the day, one year ago, Jeannie Seaver, after 17 years as a competing professional, won her first Women’s Professional Billiards Association Regional Tour Championship. It had taken her just over 17 years and competition in 30+ WPBA events to reach that pinnacle. On the weekend of January 11-14, Seaver defended her 2017 RTC title with an undefeated run through a field of 52 entrants, downing Autumn Duncan twice (hot seat and finals) to earn the title. The $5,000-added event was hosted, as it was the previous year, by Zingale’s Billiard Room and Sports Bar in Tallahassee, FL.
 
Commencing with eight, round-robin ‘flights’ on Thursday and Friday, the 2017 RTC advanced to a final, double elimination bracket of 32 on Saturday, January 13. Seaver got by Terry Petrosino, Roe Guarnero and Ashley Rice to draw Kaylin Wikoff in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Duncan, who’d defeated Vanessa Hood, Kristy Ranalli, and Jenna Bishoff faced Lisa Cosette in the other one.
 
As Saturday turned into Sunday, Seaver got into the hot seat match with a 7-1 victory over Wikoff. Duncan joined her after sending Cosette to the loss side 7-5. Seaver sent Duncan to the semifinals with a 7-3 win that left her in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Cosette picked up Kim Pierce, who’d lost her opening round to Jessica Human, and was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that would propel her as far as the quarterfinals. She’d most recently won two straight double hill battles against Ashley Rice and Tam Trinh (loss-side wins #4 & #5) to face Pierce. Wikoff drew Jenna Bishoff, who’d been sent to the loss side by Duncan in a winners’ side quarterfinal, and defeated Guarnero 7-5 and Human 7-3.
 
Pierce advanced to her final match in the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Cossette. Wikoff downed Bishoff 7-3 to join her. Wikoff advanced to what would prove to be her last match with a 7-1 victory over Pierce in those quarterfinals.
 
Duncan and Wikoff locked up in a double hill battle that ended Wikoff’s short, loss-side run, giving Duncan a second shot at Seaver. In a race to 9, Seaver completed her undefeated run with a 9-7 victory to capture her second RCT title.
 
WPBA representatives thanked Michael Zingale and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Simonis, Aramith and Predator Cues.  

Calhoun Wins WPBA Georgia State Championship

Tiffany Stidham, Belinda Calhoun and Ashley Rice

Tiger SMART gathered for the 2nd Annual Georgia State 9-Ball Championship at Rack & Grill II in Augusta, GA, September 16, 2017.  Rack & Grill hosts two events a year and is also home to the very popular Monthly Tournament the first full weekend on each month.  Chris Kuneman, owner, is always a fantastic host and Tiger SMART is so happy to have cultivated the relationship.
 
Format was double elimination, one race to nine in the final.  The event was full of exciting matches including:  a hill-hill victory for Debbie Teichert over Marianne Merrill; Tiffany Stidham over Christy Miller 7-5; Tiffany Stidham over Palma “Rose” Kogan 7-5; and Lisa Cossette over Erica He 7-5. There were also some one-sided matches including Ashley Rice over Audra Mozee 7-1; Belinda Calhoun over Palma “Rose” Kogan 7-1; and Marianne Merrill over Erica He 7-1.
 
Winner’s bracket final was won by Calhoun 7-4 over Ashley Rice while the one loss battle was won by Tiffany Stidham 7-4 over Lisa Cossette setting up the semi-final match between Stidham and Rice.  Showing some signs of fatigue, Stidham was bested by Rice 7-2.
 
The one set final was very well played.  Ashley Rice won the South Carolina Championship earlier in the year, showing she’s got game.  Calhoun took the match and the title 9-5.  Congratulations to all the ladies who displayed their talents, professionalism, and dedication to our sport.
 
Tiger SMART would like to thank our title sponsor Tiger Products along with Simonis, Aramith, Ozone Billiards and Quick-Clean.
 
Our next tour stop will be the North Carolina State Championship at Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC, October 21-22.  Come join the fun!
 

Rice Crowned at The Palace

Ashley Rice

The WPBA Tiger SMART Tour staged the 5th Annual WPBA South Carolina State 9-Ball Championship May 20-21, 2017 at Palace Billiards in Greenville, SC.  Many thanks to owner, Mike Sijon, for opening his room to host the event.  Palace Billiards is a new venue for Tiger SMART and it is safe to say, will be a permanent venue for the tour.  Sijon commented, “The girls are terrific; so well dressed and congenial.”
 
Format was two, six person, round robins, race to seven, with the top two finishers of each bracket playing a single elimination semi-final and race to nine final.  Five rounds of group play began and was completed on Saturday.  Bracket one results were: Ashley Rice 4-0; Tiffany Stidham 2-2 with a games won/games lost record of 25-20; Marianne Merrill 2-2/21-18; Cheryl Pritchard 2-2/21-23; and Audra Mozee 0-4.  Bracket two results were: Belinda Calhoun 3-1/24-18; Debbie Teichert 3-1/24-22; Lisa Cossette 2-2/23-21; Betty Lea 2-2/22-21; and Julie Stephens 0-4.
 
On Sunday, the semi-finals were played by Debbie Teichert, who was having a fantastic tournament with her only loss in group play was to Calhoun and who has shown tremendous improvement over the past year and up and coming future star, Ashley Rice.  Rice continued her unbeaten streak for a trip to the finals.  The other semi-final was contested by Tiffany Stidham, back from child birth and Belinda Calhoun. At 5-6 Stidham played a great safety on the seven-ball.  Calhoun kicks in the seven and had a shot on the nine for the win.
 
Rice played solid, was consistent, and took advantage of her opportunities, always a winning formula as evidenced by her 9-3 victory and a perfect 6-0 record for the weekend.   Congratulations to Ashley Rice for a stellar performance the entire tournament.  Rice not only captured the title but has won the opportunity to play in the next WPBA Pro event.
 
Many thanks to Tiger SMARTs sponsors:  Tiger Products, Ozone Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, and Quick-Clean for helping to make dreams come true.