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Bezdan Wins Mezz West State Tour Top Gun Event

After 11 events on the Mezz West State Tour, a total of 32 invited players came to Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA to compete in the year end event for its 12th and final event of Season 1. The invited players were chosen based off a points system based off the Camel Pro Tour rankings. The top players accumulated points based off their performances to play in a special year end event of $2000 added prize money plus the membership dues collected throughout the season which totaled to 5750 off of 231 total members. In addition, as a bonus, the top 16 ranked players did not pay an entry fee while the 17-32nd ranked players paid a standard $65 entry fee.
The top half of the board was led by co founder of the MWST, Oscar Dominguez with wins over the Filipino veteran, Ramon Mistica 9-4, followed by wins over Johnny Kang 9-4, Dave Hemmah 9-5, and Ernesto Dominguez 9-0, to lead up to the hot seat match. The bottom half of the bracket was dominated by Hungarian sharpshooter, Attila Bezdan, with wins over Phil Prentice 9-3, Ramin Bahktiari 9-3, Melissa Herndon 9-4, and road companion Vilmos Foldes 9-4. The hot seat match was one sided as Attila came out firing balls in from all angles putting pressure on Dominguez. After a few failed safeties, Attila ran away with the match with a 9-5 score. 
Meanwhile on the losers side, Rodrigo Geronimo who lost his first match to Tang Hoa 8-4, had grinded through seven matches against Kevin May 9-3, Beau Runningen 9-7, Chris Fangre 9-3, Melissa Herndon 9-5, Tang Hoa 9-4,Ernesto Domiguez 9-4 and Ruben Bautista 9-7 to reach the 3rd place match against Oscar Dominguez. Rodrigo looked hungry to reach the finals and took a quick 5-1 lead over Dominguez. It wasnt until Geronimo missed a crucial 2 ball in the side pocket to widen the lead to 6-1 that Dominguez had a chance to take control of the table. Winning that game and then the next 3, Dominguez was able to tie it up 5. The following 6 games were each nail biters, with each player playing inspirational kick, jump and safety shots. Dominguez fell behind once again 7-5, but in his true fashion, showed a lot of heart to come back and win the match 9-7 sending him back to the finals to seek revenge on Bezdan.
The finals was one to be seen. Bezdan played flawless, only missing two balls the entire set. He pocketed every ball on the table as if they had eyes and controlled the cue ball at a top notch level. His break was also in top gear, leaving Dominguez helpless. Attila Bezdan went on to easily win the set 8-2. His victory was well deserved, as he was the best player on this day.  All of us on the Mezz West State Tour will surely miss him next season and would like to congratulate him on his very great accomplishment. 
We would like to again thank all of the players and sponsors who make all of this possible: Mezz Cues (, West State Billiards Supply (, ZAN tips (, Kurzweils Country Meats (,,,, Marty Carey Jump Q,, Turtle Racks, and fast&loose designs.

Geronimo wins 19th Annual Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial Tournament

Rodrigo Geronimo (Photo courtesy of Ashi Fachler)

Three weeks prior to becoming winner and runner-up of the 19th Annual Jay "Swanee" Swanson Memorial Tournament at Hard Times in Bellflower, CA on the weekend of February 7-8, Rodrigo Geronimo and Vilmos Foldes had met in the finals of a stop on the Mezz West Tour in La Mesa, CA. In the earlier event, which featured an appearance by Efren Reyes (he finished fourth), Rodrigo Geronimo and Vilmos Foldes met first in a winners' side final 16 battle, and then, in a two-set final. Foldes took the opening set of that final, but Geronimo prevailed in the second set to secure his third Mezz West Tour title of the season.
At the most recent "Swanee" Memorial, Geronimo and Foldes squared off twice, as well; first, in the hot seat match, and again, in the final. Foldes took the first of those two, but Geronimo won the single match, race-to-11 final to claim the event title. The two-year defending champion Dennis Orcollo was not on hand to defend his title at this year's $4,000-added event that drew 164 entrants to Hard Times in Bellflower.
Best friends, road partners and fellow Hungarians Foldes and Attila Bezdan advanced to a winners' side semifinal in this one (they'd met on the loss side at the Mezz West event, three weeks earlier). Foldes took on Brian Parks, while Bezdan faced Geronimo. They would not meet again. While Foldes defeated Parks 7-5, Geronimo sent Bezdan to the loss side 7-4. Foldes then claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Geronimo.
As the loss side dwindled down to eight, three familiar names remained in the hunt. Two of them, Rodney Morris and Mika Immonen, had been sent to the loss side by Foldes, and as Bezdan moved over from the winners' side semifinal, he faced an "Iceman" on a 10-match, loss side winning streak that included victories over Oscar Dominguez and a shutout over Corey Deuel, who reportedly was never able to get up from his chair. Parks, meanwhile, drew Morris who'd just eliminated Fach Garcia and given up only a single rack to Chris Rose.
Morris and Immonen advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 victories over Parks and Bezdan. Morris ended the Iceman's streak with a 7-2 quarterfinal victory, and was then, himself eliminated by Geronimo in an entertaining, double hill semifinal. The Philippines trumped Hungary at the 19th Annual "Swanee" Memorial, as Geronimo went on to defeat Foldes 11-6 and claim the event title.

Geronimo wins La Mesa Mezz Stop

The Mezz West State Tour was held in gorgeous La Mesa, California at its premier room, On Cue Billiards. The Nooris family welcomed 88 players including none other than “The Magician” himself, Mr. Efren Reyes. It was quite a treat for both players and spectators to watch and interact with the legend himself during the two day event. 
The top half of the bracket was packed with talent as it contained not only Rodrigo Geronimo, Ramin Bakhtiari, Vilmos Foldes, Johnny Kang, James Cabal, Dan Wallace, Dave Gorham, Rodney Wynn and Victor Castro but also Efren Reyes. Foldes and Reyes met up in the final 16 of the winner side in a TV table face off. Foldes fought hard, but was out matched by Reyes with a score of 9-4. Reyes’ bracket got no easier, as Rodrigo Geronimo was waiting for him following his 9-3 victory over James Cabal.  This Filipino match up went back and forth to the bitter end with Rodrigo pulling away a 9-7 victory and sending the Magician to the losers side. This win secured Geronimo’s spot in the final 4 of the winners side where he would defeat Victor Castro, who had tough wins over Mark Whitehead, Ray Pajarillo and Dave Gorham. Geronimo would go on to defeat Castro 9-6 to find himself waiting to battle it out for the hot seat. 
The bottom half of the bracket was no cake walk either as Oscar Dominguez, Attila Bezdan, Kenichi Uchigaki, Ruben Bautista, Sal Butera, Beau Runningen and Melissa Hernadon made up just a few of the great players that filled up this portion of the chart.  Second round of the winners side found Beau Runningen taking on Toyko player, Kenichi Uchigaki. Beau made a heart filled effort but fell short, sending Uchigaki further into the winners brackets and himself to the losers side. Uchigaki proceeded to find wins over Branch Talley, Larry Bohn and Sal Butera all of which allowed him to face off against Oscar Dominguez in the final 4 winners. Dominguez made his way there with wins over Melissa Hernadon, Amir Shoshan and Attila Bezdan. This was hard fought battle between the two international friends, but ended with Kenichi Uchigaki taking down Dominguez 9-6. This win ensured Uchigaki to face off with Geronimo for the hot seat. The match up one sided early on with Geronimo taking the win 9-5, putting him in the hot seat.
Meanwhile, the action continued on the losers’ side where team Hungary faced off. Vilmos Foldes defeated his best friend and road partner 9-4 knocking Attila out of the competition. Vilmos would then go on to beat Sal Butera in a hill-hill, nail bitter which came down to a safety battle on the 8 ball in the final game.  However the hill-hill matches were not over for Foldes just yet, as Victor Castro played his heart out but fell short to Foldes in the following round.  On the top side of the losers bracket, Oscar Dominguez found himself fighting back against Efren Reyes, who at one point led the match 8-2. Dominguez came with great out after great out, eventually tying the match at 8-8. In the case game, Reyes was up to break. Reyes broke in two balls and skillfully made an incredible out on Dominguez, forcing Oscar to settle for 5th/6th.
The 3rd/4th match found Foldes and Reyes once again. Foldes found his revenge on Reyes winning 9-6 and sending him to the losers side final against Uchigaki. Uchigaki, who was feeling ill and very jet lagged opted allow Foldes to move onto the finals by forfeit.
The finals between Vilmos Foldes and Rodrigo Geronimo was a match to be seen. In true double elimination format Foldes would have to defeat Geronimo twice to claim victory. Foldes easily handles Rodrigo winning the first set 9-3. The second set was much more of a grind with many break and runs, kicking and safety play. Rodrigo eventually grinded down Foldes and took his victory in a close 9-7 win. This win would make Rodrigo a three time tour stop winner this season. 
Also, a congrats to Melissa Herndon for being the top female finisher and receiving a $100 bonus.
The MWST would like to thank their sponsors for their continuous support of bringing pool back to the west coast. In addition, a very special thank you to Daniel Bush and POV POOL for their hard work providing the live streaming. Mezz Cues (, West State Billiards Supply (, ZAN tips (, Kurzweils Country Meats (,,,, Marty Carey Jump Q,, Turtle Racks, and fast&loose designs.

Bezdan wins in Phoenix

The Mezz West State Tour headed to Phoenix, Arizona for its 9th stop of the season at the beautiful Bull Shooters establishment owned by Mike Bates. Mike and his staff worked tirelessly all weekend to accommodate the 87 player who convened to this legendary room with 43 tables of all types. Players from all over the west coast and along with several international stars in attendance, the crowd was not disappointed to a world class demonstration of 9 ball.   
The top half of the bracket was led by one pocket specialist and high stakes action player Scott Frost. Frost had a strong support group as he played some high powered 9 ball defeating Danny Gokhul, Tommy Tokoph, Bobby Emmons, Chuck Evans, and finally Beau Runningen to play for the hot seat. 
Meanwhile, leading the bottom half of the bracket was Hungarian Attila Bezdan. Attila is in the United States on a sports visa with road partner and best friend Vilmos Foldes to play on the Mezz West State Tour. The always jovial Attila had some solid play with wins over Jason Gilbert, Brian Begay, Mitch Ellerman, and Vilmos Foldes to get the chance to play Scott Frost for the hot seat. After a very impressive start, the young Hungarian allowed Frost into the match with some errors and Frost took full advantage. After some fortunate rolls on behalf of Attila, he capitalized on his fortune with intelligent safes and pocketing sending the "Freezer" to the west side of the bracket.
On the one loss side Vilmos Foldes awaitEd Scott Frost after two very hard fought victories over Oscar Dominguez and Beau Runningen. Frost jokingly told Attila he would "double dip" him in the finals but Vilmos was quick to say he wouldn't be playing in the finals. The friendly trash talk was the perfect backdrop to what became an incredible match by Foldes and Frost. Having only the 7 and 9 ball left in the hill hill game, Frost left himself a bit too straight and tried to punch the ball over for position on the 9. This caused the 7 ball to jaw in the hole leaving Foldes a hanging 7 and routine 9. A poor position play on the 9 left Foldes a predicament of back cutting the 9 or firing cross side which Vilmos shot at warp speed making it and sealing Frost's fate in the hill hill game. The all Hungarian final was played out with Attila winning his first event ever on the Mezz West State Tour. 
The MWST would like to thank their sponsors for their continuous support of bringing pool back to the west coast. In addition, a very special thank you to "Fast" Lenny Marshall for donating his time and hard work for the Live streaming. Also a congrats to Tina Hess for being the top female finisher and receiving $100 bonus.
Mezz Cues (, West State Billiards Supply (, ZAN tips (, Kurzweils Country Meats (,,,, Marty Carey Jump Q,, Turtle Racks, and fast&loose designs.

Vilmos is Victorious in Sacramento

The Mezz West State Tour visited Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA for their 8th stop of their 12 stop season this past weekend of December 27-28, 2014. 80 players from all over the west coast along with a few international superstars came west to participate in the $2000 added guarantee event. The Markulis family has been supporting the billiard community for many years as past proprietors of several southern California poolrooms. This event showed why they have one of the premier establishments in the US as they have a beautiful 33 table room with a kitchen and separate "Tournament Room."  Some of the special guests from the world pool scene showed up and gave all the locals a treat to their world class play and professionalism which included, Ruben Bautista, Thorsten Hohmann, Rodney Morris, Vilmos Foldes, Attila Bezdan, Danny Gokhul, and local pro Amar Kang.
Sacramento local pro and World Cup of Pool representative for Team India, Amar Kang exploited his home court advantage of the super tight tables of Hard Times by playing world class pool all weekend. Some of his big wins included wins over UK sharpshooter Danny Gokhul, junior national champion Beau Runningen, and Mexican national champion Ruben Bautista. Leading the top half of the bracket was co founder of the Mezz West State Tour, Oscar Dominguez. He had a strong showing with wins over locals Rex Chan and Reid Strensrud before defeating Thorsten Hohmann (9-5), Vilmos Foldes (9-4), and Amar Kang (9-2) to gain the hotseat.  
Meanwhile on the B side of the chart, some big hitters were there early including Vilmos Foldes. After a fairly early loss to Dominguez, Vilmos went on a rampage of high powered pool defeating two former Mosconi Cup champions, Rodney Morris (9-5) and Thorsten Hohmann (9-3), followed by Amar Kang (9-5) to make it to the finals to avenge his earlier defeat to Oscar Dominguez. 
In the finals, a true double elimination format is utilized to reward the undefeated player. However, after a very intense and closely contested match, Vilmos sucessfully defeated Oscar Dominguez two consecutive sets; (9-7) and (9-8) to take home his second victory on the Mezz West State Tour.
As always, the Mezz West State Tour cannot thank their sponsors enough for their constant support and commitment to bringing pool back to the west coast. Mezz Cues (, West State Billiards Supply (, Zan tips (,, NYC Grind, Kurzweil's Country Meats (, POVPool, fast&loose Designs, Turtle Rack, Marty Carey Jump Q, and Virtual Pool 4.

Oscar and Amar split on Mezz West State Tour

Amar Kang and Oscar Dominguez

The Mezz West State Tour traveled to San Francisco, CA to the Billiard Palacade owned and operated by the enormously generous and kind, Murcia. A great field of 73 players came from all over California, Nevada, and even from Europe. The 5th stop of the tour was 10 ball to be played on the 13 beautiful AMF antique tables which Billiard Palacade had refelted specifically for this event. 
The top half of the bracket was dominated by World Cup of Pool team India member, Amar Kang. The Sacramento, California ace has had excellent results on the tour and for years on the west coast with elite players. Some of his victories included a strong win over Filipino champion, Rodrigo Geronimo, Deo Alpojara, Johnny Kang, and Oscar Dominguez for the hotseat. As previously mentioned, Oscar Dominguez came up short to Kang in the hotseat but not before disposing of several strong local talent and Romanian expat, only known as Babken on the bottom half of the bracket.
On the losers side, several upsets took place including the fairly early departure of tour points leader, Rodrigo Geronimo by Hungarian young gun, Attila Bezdan after defeating his best friend and road partner Vilmos Foldes. In addition, former junior national champion, Beau Runningen, fought valiantly on the losers side after a loss to Deo Alpojara. Beau went on to defeat the always tough Justin Logan, Johnny Kang, and Babken until he ran into Dominguez who stopped Beau, from going to the finals.
The finals between Amar and Oscar would be a true double elimination where Oscar needed to win twice for the victory while Amar needed to only win once. After a strong start by Kang to lead 7-2, Dominguez forged a comeback to win 9-7 and force a second and deciding set. The duo agreed to call it a night as it was 3 am and it would be safer for all parties driving home that night. 
Also, the Mezz West State Tour would like to congratulate Emilyn Collado on her Top Female finish!
The Mezz West State Tour would like to thank their sponsors: Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, Kurzweil’s Country Meats, AZBilliards, NYCGrind, Fast&Loose Designs, ZAN tips, POVPool, and Turtle Rack. Also, a very special thank you to Francisco Murcia and his entire family for their warm hospitality and generosity to promote the sport we all love. Next stop is at On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, CA. We hope to see you there and be sure to tune in to to watch all the action live and free!