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Mike Davis, Jr. comes from the loss side to capture $3.7K-added, MD State Bar Box 10-Ball title

Mike Davis

It’s been a good year for Mike Davis, Jr., who’d already chalked up his best (recorded) earnings year since 2016, when he travelled to Maryland this past Thanksgiving Day weekend (Nov. 26-27) and competed in the MD State Bar Box 10-Ball Championships. He got sent to the loss side by his eventual opponent in the double elimination final, Tom Zippler, and defeated him twice in the double elimination final to claim the title. The $3,750-added event drew 86 entrants to Brews & Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

The battle for this title was, by close-match standards, fierce; 38% of the tournament’s last 18 matches (7) went double hill, including the hot seat match, semifinal and first set of the true double elimination final. Mike Davis’ campaign opened up with a double hill battle that he won over Scott Haas. Davis followed up with wins over Clint Clayton (4), Mike Saleh (4) and Steve Fleming (5), to arrive at his first match against Zippler, in one of the a winners’ side semifinals. Zippler’s path started out easy enough, with a shutout over Matt Broz, but grew increasingly competitive as he got by Tony Manning (2), Michael Miller (3), Roger Haldar (4) and then, had to battle Brett Stottlemeyer to double hill in a winners’ side quarterfinal that did send him (Zippler) to that first battle with Davis. In the meantime, Kevin West, working at the other end of the bracket, sent Garrett Vaughan (1), Steve Johnson (2), Bobby Pacheco (double hill) and Grayson Vaughan (4) to the loss side and drew Brandon Shuff in the other winners’ side semifinal.

West and Shuff locked up in a double hill battle that eventually did advance West to the hot seat match. He was joined by Zippler, who’d won his first (and, as it turned out, last) match against Davis 7-3. Zippler and West fought to double hill in that hot seat match, with Zippler prevailing and waiting in the hot seat for Davis’ return.

On the loss side, Davis would play three matches against three of the mid-Atlantic region’s (country’s) toughest competitors; in order, Shaun Wilkie, BJ Ussery, Jr. and then, Kevin West. Upon arrival, Davis faced Wilkie, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Brandon Shuff and then defeated Matt Krah 7-5 and Jeff Abernathy, double hill. Shuff drew BJ Ussery, who didn’t give up a rack through his first two winners’ side matches and then, was defeated by Thomas Haas 7-5. Ussery went on a six-match, loss-side winning streak to get to Shuff, which included the most recent eliminations of Steve Fleming, by shutout, and, junior competitor Nathan Childress, double hill.

Davis defeated Wilkie 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Ussery, who’d given up just a single rack to Shuff. Davis ended Ussery’s loss-side streak at seven, downing him 7-2 in the quarterfinals before he and West locked up in the second-to-last double hill battle of the tournament, struggling for a seat in the finals.

Davis prevailed and walked right into the last double hill battle of the weekend in the opening set of the true double elimination final against Zippler. He won it and then, came within a game of a second double hill match, before getting out ahead and finishing it 7-5. 

It should be noted that the event was attended by a number of female competitors, veterans of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, most of them, including its tour director, Linda Shea, who went 2-2, finishing in the tie for 25th. The two highest female finishers were Tina Malm, who won three on the loss side before encountering Brett Stottlemeyer in the winners’ side fourth round, battling him to double hill before being sent to the loss side and finishing in the tie for 17th with a 3-2 record. And Bethany Sykes, who finished in the same position; sent to the loss side in the second round and winning two there, before being eliminated. Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Stefanie Manning also competed.

The event also featured a few junior competitors, among them Nathan Childress, who finished in the tie for 7th/8th, Brent Worth (25th) and Garrett Vaughan (33rd). 

Tour director Loye Bolyard thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as sponsors AlleyKat Cue Sports, Bull Carbon, AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Retirement Planners and Whyte Carbon Fiber Cue Shafts. 

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Chohan & Chua Take Raleigh

Tony Chohan and Alex Pagulayan

The Brass Tap & Billiards of Raleigh, NC has a long history of hosting tournaments and this year was no exception. After a layoff since 2019 due to the pandemic, owner Richard Kuntz welcomed players and fans back to the $15,000 added Beasley Open.

Presented by Doug Beasley of Beasley Custom Cues and special sponsors PoolActionTV.com and Brass Tap & Billiards, this year’s tournament had two events – One Pocket and Open 9 Ball. 

Everywhere you looked, there were recognizable faces. Led by BCA Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan, Tony Chohan, John Morra, Josh Roberts, Mike Davis Jr, Justin Hall, Brandon Shuff, Jason Brown and home town favorite Shane Wolford joined the fray. Can Salim, Omar Al Shaheen, Johann Chua, Carlo Biado, Robbie Capito, Kun-Lin Wu, Chia-Chen Hsieh and WPBA star Chia Hua (Amber) Chen added an international flavor to this year’s event.

Posting their $200 entry fees, the $5,000 added double elimination One Pocket division drew 48 players. Played on Diamond tables and racing to three, the finals would be one extended race to four. After the players auction and draw, the matches began.

With twelve players receiving a first round bye, Josh Roberts and Can Salim were not so fortunate. Josh survived that match 3-1 and went on to defeat Asad Khan 3-0, Justin Hall 3-1 and Brandon Shuff 3-2. On a similar path, John Morra had wins over Francesco Candela 3-1, Larry Pierce 3-2, Hunter White 3-1 and Corey Sykes 3-0. Then, in a hard fought match to reach the hot seat, Morra prevailed over Roberts 3-2.

Meanwhile, in the other portion of the bracket, Alex Pagulayan and Tony Chohan were on the march to the hot seat. After drawing a first round bye, Alex defeated Carlo Biado 3-2, Tony Pete 3-0 and Shane Wolford 3-1. Tony was the victor over Jesse Gilbert 3-2 and then skunked Robbie House 3-0, Brady Norris 3-0 and Omar Al Shaheen 3-0. He then received his own 3-0 thumping by Alex! 

The hot seat match was all Pagulayan as he beat back Morra – also 3-0. John headed west and Alex moved to the finals.

Morra watched as Chohan edged out Biado 3-2 only to be relegated to third place 3-0. Looking for revenge, Tony went to the finals.

Still on a tear, Tony sliced through Alex in under an hour winning four games  straight to claim the title. Congratulations, Tony! Good tournament, Alex!

Johann Chua and Bader Al Awadhi

The $10,000 added Nine Ball Open began on Friday night following the players auction and draw. Ninety six players posted their $150 entry fees to play. The format was alternate breaks, rack your own with the nine on the spot and the two in the back, no soft breaks and races to 9/7. 

Racing across the top half of the bracket was Johann Chua and Chia-Chen Hsieh. Playing to get to the hot seat match, Chua spanked Hsieh 9-1. The bottom portion of the bracket saw Bader Alawadhi win over John Morra 9-5. 

Hot seat action again was all Chua as he locked up his seat in the finals 9-1. Bader went to the one loss side to await an opponent. Morra defeated Roberts 7-5 and then was eliminated by the same score leaving John with another third place finish.

The finals were one extended race to thirteen. Chua rocketed out to a 7-1 lead until Alawadhi caught a gear and tied the match at eight games each! Johann finally won the next two games to reach 10-8. Bader fought back to win a couple more until his opponent pulled away to win the match 13-10. Congratulations, Johann! Good shooting, Bader!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Richard Kuntz and his staff for another fantastic event.

We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill and our commentators Larry Schwartz, Jeremy Jones, Alex Pagulayan, Josh Roberts, Mary Kenniston and Ray Hansen for an excellent job.

In addition, we’d like to thank our fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Durbin Custom Cues, Savage Billiard Apparel, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX and the Action Palace of Dayton, OH.

Our next event is the 4th Annual $7,500 added Big Boi Classic at Peyton’s Place in Knoxville, TN. The dates are November 18th-20th – hope to see you there!

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Round One of Pat Fleming’s International Open 9-Ball Tournament in the books

Some expected and not-so expected advances highlight Day One of the 128-entrant 9-ball event  

Surprises?

At the level of talent on display at this week’s (Oct. 28-Nov. 5) International Open in Norfolk, VA, it’s hard to single out any one match in the event’s opening round of play and call the result a surprise. One’s reaction to a given result will depend largely on an individual’s perception of the players involved and their own sense of how a match between them would play out. This, in turn, might reveal more about the person being surprised (or not) than it might about the match result.

As a random example from the International Open’s first event of the week, the $10,000-added One Pocket tournament won by T-Rex (Tony Chohan; see story elsewhere in our News). If you haven’t already seen the results, imagine the semifinal match between Sky Woodward and Fedor Gorst, won by Woodward. Surprised? 

Round one of the Open’s $50,000-added, 128-entrant 9-Ball tournament is over. We offer a short and not comprehensive list of matches from the round, and without looking it up through our links to the bracket, pick a winner, find the result and then determine whether it’s a surprise to you. An indication (J) identifies the player as a junior competitor. Results at the end of the report.

Tapei’s Hsieh Chia-Chen vs. Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo (winner of last week’s American Straight Pool Championships in Virginia Beach)? Jesus Atencio vs. (J) Kashton Keeton? Earl Strickland vs. Taipei’s Hsuan Wei Kuo? Brandon Shuff vs. Russia’s Kristina Tkach, crowned as the Women’s 2022 Straight Pool Champion last week in Virginia Beach? Hunter Lombardo vs. Shane Wolford? BJ Ussery, Jr. vs. Chris Rienhold? Corey Deuel vs. Sharik Sayed? Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski (semifinalist at the Straight Pool Championships) vs. Matt Krah? Vietnam’s Brian Vu vs. (J) Payne McBride? Justin Martin vs. Lukas Fracasso-Verner (former J)? 

Among those whose victories in the opening round were not likely have been a surprise to anybody were: Jayson Shaw’s win over John Francisco, Spain’s David Alcaide (the last piece added to Europe’s Mosconi Cup team puzzle), who defeated USA’s Sullivan Clark 10-6, Sky Woodward’s victory (albeit, double-hill victory) over Italy’s Francesco Candela, Fedor Gorst’s win over Curucao’s Bryan Farah 10-7 and Joshua Filler’s shutout victory over USA’s Christopher Pyle. There are, of course, others who have advanced on the winners’ side, which, for purposes of brevity, we’ll restrict to those not listed above who are among the top 10 in our Money Leaderboard: Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, Greece’s Alex Kazakis, Austria’s Albin Ouschan and the Philippines’ Roberto Gomez.

Among the key matchups highlighting Round Two today (Tuesday, Nov. 1) will be 6 p.m. battles between Alex Kazakis and veteran US competitor Raymond Linares, junior competitor Joey Tate’s matchup against Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyousef, Sanchez-Ruiz versus Justin Martin,  Roberto Gomez against Alex Pagulayan and junior competitor Payne McBride taking on Straight Pool Championship runner-up, Mieszko Fortunski. At 8 p.m., Albin Oushcan will take on Thorsten Hohmann, David Alcaide faces Josh Roberts, Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes will go up against Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi, and the winner of the Strickland/Hsuan Wei Kuo match (revealed below) versus Taipei’s Hsieh Chia-Chen (all 8 p.m.). At 10 p.m., Round Two’s winners’ bracket will continue with Tony Chohan against last week’s Straight Pool Championship runner-up Wiktor Zielinski, Jayson Shaw will meet the winner of the Shuff/Tkach match (revealed below), Ralf Souquet will go up against BJ Ussery, Alex Pagulayan will take on Roberto Gomez and Sanchez-Ruiz will battle Justin Martin. 

(‘Surprise?’ results from above: Junior competitor Kashton Keeton defeated Jesus Atencio 10-6,  Strickland got by Wei Kuo 10-5, Taipei’s Chia-Chen sent Dimitri Jungo to the loss side 10-7, Shuff beat Tkach 10-8, Lombardo over Wolford 10-6. Ussery over Reinhold 10-9, Sayed downs Deuel 10-6, Fortunski gets by Krah 10-7, Junior competitor Payne McBride defeats Brian Vu 10-2 and Justin Martin moves on with a double hill win over Lukas Fracasso-Verner.) 

Fans can watch not only the featured table with full commentary, but also any other table at the event with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long.

PPV Coverage
One Pocket Stage One Online Brackets
One Pocket Stage Two Online Brackets
Big Foot 10-Ball Brackets
9-Ball Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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Wolford Upsets Gomez at International Open One Pocket Event

Shane Wolford

Day one is complete at the International Open’s One Pocket Division at the Sheraton Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia, and returning champion Roberto Gomez is going to have his hands full as he tries to defend his One Pocket title from last year from the one loss side. Gomez ran into young gun Shane Wolford in both of their first matches for the day on Friday and Wolford showed why he is in just about every Mosconi Cup prognosticator’s mind. 

Wolford took a 2-0 lead with steady intelligent One Pocket play, and Gomez found himself on his heels looking for a new approach. Possibly thinking he had a bigger advantage in a tactical moving game, Gomez slowed things down and dared the youngster from nearby Roanoke to take on shots. Gomez won rack three but was not able to control a late game wedge up-table and Wolford won game four to send last year’s winner to the left side of the board. 

Wolford will take on Gomez’s countryman Carlo Biado Saturday at 2pm, while Gomez will start his day with German youngster Moritz Neuhausen at noon. 

Other top seeds who emerged from Friday undefeated include such notables as Alex Pagulayan, Tony Chohan, Josh Roberts, Sky Woodward, Omar Al-Shaheen, Fedor Gorst, Lee Van Corteza, Corey Deuel and Roland Garcia. Notables on the one loss side include Dee Adkins, Brandon Shuff, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Anthony Meglino and  fan favorite Mike Sigel. 

Fans can watch not only the featured table with full commentary, but also any other table at the event with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long. 

PPV Coverage
Online Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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Carlo Biado Starts US Open Defense In Style

Carlo Biado (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Carlo Biado got the defense of his US Open Pool Championship title off to the best of starts as he won two from two on the opening day of play at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City to reach Winners’ Qualification.

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The Filipino cueist followed in the footsteps of the great Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes to clinch last year’s title against Aloysius Yapp and a routine 9-1 over Dalibor Nikolin of Serbia meant he avoided an early banana skin before overcoming the returning Kristina Tkach by the same scoreline to be only one match away from the single elimination stage when he faces Joven Bustamante in Winners’ Qualification on Wednesday.

Pool’s most historic major returned for a second year to New Jersey as fans poured in to see the world’s best in the 256-player field competing for a slice of the $300,000 prize fund and they were not disappointed as number eight seed Alexander Kazakis got pushed to the Losers’ side at the hands of Jesus Atencio

Two-time Matchroom event winner this season Joshua Filler booked his place in Winners’ Qualification after wins over Jeffrey Kennedy and Sharik Sayed whilst Fedor Gorst‘s return to the Nineball Arena was convincing with victories against Coen Bell and Aleksa Pecelj with the latter making him sweat 9-7.

Elsewhere, former champion Jayson Shaw made lightwork of Vincent Beaurivage and Joshua Roberts to be one away from the Last 64 whilst it was a similar story for fellow Brit Chris Melling who overcame Samuel Disse running five racks along the way 9-1, and Billy Thorpe 9-3.

Subscribers on Matchroom Pool socials got to see one of the rounds of the first round so far to end the day as Skyler Woodward and Jeff De Luna were at loggerheads for the distance as the former ran out on top in the final rack with a 4-9 combo to seal a passage to Winners Qualification.

Badar Alawadhi, Imran Majid, and Dimitri Jungo are among some of the names who will have to fight through the losers bracket to make their way into the Last 64 after defeats on day one whilst 38 players went home after back-to-back defeats.

Acton returns from 10 am ET tomorrow morning with Eklent Kaçi and Long Nguyen before World Champion Shane Van Boening gets his campaign underway to secure a sixth US Open crown underway against Joey Tate live on the Matchroom Pool Facebook Page at 11:30 am ET. Table 2 begins with Johann Chua against Brandon Shuff before Wiktor Zielinski takes on Tyrel Blowers.

From Monday, 10 October to Thursday, 13 October fans will be able to enjoy the action globally on the Matchroom Pool Facebook and YouTube pages as well as Matchroom.Live with two tables streamed. Fans in China can enjoy all the action on our Weibo page.

The final two days will be live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Italy as well as Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Poland, and other broadcasters worldwide which can be found here including on Matchroom.Live in countries without a broadcaster.

A range of ticket packages are available including an event pass giving you access to all six days of action for only $155, a saving of up to $55. A premium event pass gives you reserved front two seats for the single-elimination stage at $205. Limited seats are available for the final day.

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Fans can also take advantage of our exclusive room rate. Stay side-by-side with the stars of pool at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.

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Gorst goes undefeated to claim 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial Title

Fedor Gorst, Shane Wolford, Kristina Tkach, Paul Oh and room owner Anthony Luong

There are times when words are insufficient to the task that they have been set out on a page to perform. So it is with reporting on the B & L Billiard Tournaments’ 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial, a $10,000-added event that drew 64 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA last weekend (June 11-12). Spearheaded by a trio of Hannah Choi’s close friends – Paul Oh, Kristina Tkach and Fedor Gorst – the memorial was organized to commemorate Choi, who went missing from her home in early March and was discovered dead in a Maryland park weeks later. The person currently being sought in connection with her death, classified as murder, has still not been apprehended. 

Choi was an active player at Street Light Billiard Academy in Alexandria, VA, where Tkach, Gorst, Ruslan Chinakhov and other members of “Roy’s Basement,” along with players like Shane Van Boening, Efren Reyes and Nick Varner would gather along with Academy members, offering clinics, challenge matches and exhibitions.

“Hannah became Kristina’s handler, like a family member,” said Oh. “Hannah wasn’t like a professional player, although she was an APA 6, and she became close to Kristina. She was probably Kristina’s closest friend, lived with her whenever she was in-country.”

As a loosely-organized group engaged in the Virginia (and surrounding areas) pool community, the players would discuss any number of things around meals, table practice and tournaments. On more than one occasion, Choi had mentioned to the group the idea of organizing a Virginia-based ProAm tournament, which, for a variety of different reasons, had never really advanced beyond casual talk about it being a good idea.

“We’d had conversations about it,” said Oh, “wanting to hold a tournament in the area, so when Hannah passed, it was a no-brainer.”

Oh reached out to B&L Billiard Tournaments, in the persons of Brian Kilgore and Lai Li, within a matter of days after Choi’s passing. In less than three months, the circle of friends that had known Choi personally, organized the 1st Annual event that would bear her name.

“It meant a lot to Paul, Fedor and Kristina, who was her best friend,” said Kilgore. “Kristina talked to the players (at length) before the tournament began, telling them all of the things that Hannah Choi had done for her.”

Kilgore and the 64-entrant field were all on-hand to hear Tkach’s impassioned words. In retrospect, Kilgore regretted that the moments had not been recorded. Tkach did, though, write about Choi’s passing in an on-line post.

“I didn’t lose my best friend,” she wrote. “No…I lost so much more than that. I lost my soulmate, my partner, life mentor, my whole world.”

“But you didn’t leave me, right?” she went on to ask. “No, it just can’t be… you are somewhere here now, by my side, kindly looking at me, smiling, listening to me just like you always did.”

Tkach continued, eventually confronting the chasm of grief that lay before her; “the pain that doesn’t go away no matter what you do, eating you up from inside.

“But I can’t give up,” she added. “I have to keep grinding, growing and trying to be the best I can possibly be, because that’s what you would want me to do. I promise you will be proud of me.”

At the risk of presumption, one can only imagine that Hannah Choi would have accepted the need and impetus to discuss her passing and the memorial tournament arranged on her behalf, and then, expected all of us to proceed; “grinding, growing, trying to be the best that we can possibly be because that’s what (she) would want us to do.”

The 64-entrant, double elimination bracket that opened the proceedings had a proverbial ‘boat load’ of pool talent on board, including the very people responsible for the tournament’s existence; Paul Oh, Kristina Tkach and Fedor Gorst. Two of those three (Tkach and Gorst) would advance to the single elimination phase of the event and Gorst would win it. Things were set up through the event semifinals for Tkach and Gorst to square off in the final match, but Shane Wolford stepped in and left Tkach in the tie for 3rd place.

In one of the more entertaining matches of the event, Gorst opened up the double-elimination phase against junior competitor, Joey Tate. Live-streamed (as were selected matches throughout the weekend) by Omega Billiards, Tate encountered some early issues, arguably brought on by an initial concern that he might not make it to the event at all. He’d called Brian Kilgore to relate some ‘timing’ issues and assured him that though he was running late, he would be there in time. He made it on-time, by a matter of minutes and found himself facing Gorst in his opening round.

In the early going, Tate missed some ‘9’s and ‘10’s and found himself in a 3-1 hole after four. But he fought back to be within a single game at 6-5. Gorst prevailed and Tate would go on to lose his first loss-side match. 

Gorst advanced and ran into an immediate double hill battle against Atlantic Coast veteran Steve Fleming. He survived that battle as well, and then shut out Kevin West to become one of the eight winners’ side competitors advancing to single elimination. He was joined by fellow ‘winners’ side’ competitors Warren Kiamco, Greg McAndrews, Manny Chau, Roberto Gomez, Shane Wolford, Brandon Shuff and Chris Hansen. From the loss side, Rafael Reyes, Danny Mastermaker, Deo Alpajora, Kevin West, Dylan Spohr, BJ Ussery, Jr., Mhet Vergara and Kristina Tkach advanced to the final 16. Tkach, sent to the loss side by Manny Chau, had worked her way through William Moon, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Roger Halder to join the loss-side’s group in the final 16.

Tkach got by Roberto Gomez in the opening round of single elimination and in the quarterfinals, drew Kevin West, who’d eliminated Chris Hansen. Gorst defeated Mhet Vergara and picked up Manny Chau, who’d sent Greg McAndrews home. Wolford, in the meantime, had knocked out Brandon Shuff and faced BJ Ussery, who’d defeated Rafael Reyes to reach him. Kiamco got by Deo Alpajora in the single-elimination opening round and squared off against Dylan Spohr, who’d ended Danny Mastermaker’s run.

Tkach downed West 9-7 and in the semifinals, drew Wolford, who’d defeated Ussery 9-7. Gorst eliminated Chau 9-4 and picked up Kiamco, who’d defeated Spohr 9-4. 

Wolford put an end to speculation and hopes for two of Hanna Choi’s best friends to meet in the finals with a 9-6 win over Tkach. Gorst downed Kiamco 9-5. In the extended race-to-9, Gorst and Wolford came within a game of double hill. Gorst pulled out in front in the end to win by two, 11-9. 

The 1st Annual Hannah Choi Memorial was in the books, with Gorst and Tkach proud to have played their part in making it a success. Paul Oh, though less than pleased with his finish ‘out of the money,’ as it were, was pleased at how well the entire affair had been arranged and executed, as was Brian Kilgore.

“It’s amazing to me how it turned out,” said Oh, noting that it was a combined effort on the part of the group of friends around Hannah Choi, who, over the years, “had eaten together, travelled together and worked together,” to include Anthony Milanesi (who’d donated a cue that he’d made for one of the raffles that helped bring money to the event), Ken Tranh and his wife, Linda, Joonick Jun and of course, the central trio of Tkach, Oh and Fedor Gorst. 

That core group along with Brian Kilgore and Lai Li thanked Anthony Luong and his First Break staff for their hospitality and a portion of the added money, as well as Cuetec Cues. They applauded the efforts of all 64 players who’d made Hannah Choi’s first memorial a memorable occasion. As something of an extended tour-promotion unit, they are already looking forward to the 2nd Annual Hannah Choi Memorial. While it’s a bit too early to determine how that will shape up, there is consideration being given to another Open event, as well as a Women’s tournament.

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Gorst goes undefeated in delayed 14th Bob Stocks Memorial

Fedor Gorst and Shane Wolford (TTMD)

There were a lot of events going on this past Easter weekend, particularly on the East Coast and the multiplicity of them led to a few crossover competitors, reducing the numbers here, increasing them there. This past weekend’s 14th Bob Stocks Memorial (April 16), usually held on an annual basis, came two years after the last one in 2019. Formerly held under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour, ThinkTechMD picked up the reins for this year’s edition. Initially capping the field at 64, that number fell to 52 for a variety of different reasons, and when it began, there were only 30.

Fedor Gorst went undefeated through the field, advancing first on the winners’ side of a double elimination bracket and then, winning four matches in a single elimination bracket to claim the title. Gorst and junior competitor Shane Wolford advanced through the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket and were one of the eight chosen from that side of the bracket to compete in the single elimination phase of the event. Had the double elimination bracket continued, they would have faced off in a winners’ side quarterfinal. As it turned out, after the redraw to single elimination, they showed up at opposite ends of the single elimination bracket and met, for the first and last time, in the event final. The $1,500-added event drew its 30 entrants to First Break Sports Bar in Sterling, VA.

Gorst played two matches on the winners’ side of the double elimination bracket, downing Rafael Reyes (1) and Matt Krah (0) by an aggregate score of 14-1. Wolford advanced through Lenny Valley (4) and Thang Nguyen (3) to arrive at the same winners’ side spot. Joining the eventual finalists in the single elimination phase were, from the winners’ side, Chris Hansen and Nathan Childress, Derick Daya and Manny Chau, as well as Kristina Tkach and Scott Haas.

The last eight left standing on the losers’ side and advancing to single elimination were Thomas Haas, Eric Heiland, Dylan Spohr, Rafael Reyes, Matt Krah, Brandon Shuff, Bart Czapla and John Moody, Sr.

Heiland and Spohr advanced to the event’s final eight after defeating Daya and Childress, respectively. Gorst got by Reyes and was joined in the final eight by Chau, who’d defeated Thomas Haas. Moody, Sr. and Shuff advanced as well, eliminating Scott Haas and Kristina Tkach. Wolford downed Matt Krah, and was joined among the final eight by Chris Hansen, who’d defeated Czapla.

The winners in the four, quarterfinal matches advanced by an aggregate score of 48-16. Shuff and Wolford downed Moody, Sr. and Hansen by the same 11-5 score. Gorst eliminated Chau 11-4 and Spohr gave up only two racks versus Heiland.

The semifinal matches pitted Gorst against Spohr and Shuff against Wolford. Gorst eliminated Spohr 11-5. Shuff gave Wolford a run for his money, coming within a game of forcing a twenty-first deciding game, but in the end, Wolford pulled out in front, advancing to the final against Gorst 11-9.

The final match was an extended race-to-13. Though similar in age (early 20s), the combatants were quite different in how far each had come to this point in their pool careers; Wolford, more or less just starting out and Gorst, already a recognized world-class professional player. Though Wolford would chalk up twice as many racks against Gorst as any of his previous challengers (Reyes and Spohr had managed five against him in races to 11), Gorst got out ahead of Wolford and closed the 14th Bob Stocks Memorial with a 13-10 victory to claim the title. 

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Turning Stone Classic XXXIV – Brandon Shuff vs Shaun Wilkie

Ussery wins by the toss of a coin on the Action Pool Tour

BJ Ussery, Tiger Baker and Brandon Shuff

They tossed a coin.

Normally, when two competitors at a pool tournament meet in the early hours of the morning to discuss a deal for opting out of a final match and splitting the top two cash prizes, one of the two has already claimed the hot seat. And more often than not, it’s the occupant of the hot seat who is declared the official winner.

This past weekend (Oct. 16-17), Brandon Shuff and BJ Ussery took a different approach to things on the Action Pool Tour, when it came down to the finals and determining the official winner. Much earlier, Shuff had won the hot seat match over Ussery, but when it came to the final match, they opted to flip a coin to determine the official winner. Ussery won the toss. The event – The 2021 Pineapple Morris Memorial 10-Ball Open – drew 27 entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA, where Pineapple Morris was the doorman at Barry Behrman’s annual US Open 9-Ball Championship for many years. 

Ussery’s path to the hot seat match, following a play-in round for his first opponent, went through just two opponents before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal match against Liz Taylor. He gave up only two racks to those first two opponents – Bruce Reed (0) and Chris Pyle (2). From the opposite end of the bracket, Shuff competed in the play-in round, downing Donnie Huett 7-2 and then, meeting and defeating Amory Capers 7-2 and James Blackburn 7-4, to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal versus Dwight Cherry.

Shuff sent Cherry to the loss side 7-4, as Ussery was shutting out Liz Taylor. Shuff claimed the hot seat 7-4.

On the loss side, Taylor picked up Jared Pitts, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal match to Cherry and then, survived both a double hill match against Jimmy Bird and eliminated James Blackburn 7-3. Cherry drew Amory Capers, who’d recently eliminated Chris Pyle, double hill and Kenny Daughtrey 7-4.

Pitts and Capers advanced to the quarterfinals by the same score; Pitts defeating Taylor and Capers downing Pitts, both 7-4. Taylor’s finish in the tie for 5th place earned her an extra $100 as the event’s top-finishing female. Pitts took the quarterfinal match 7-3 over Capers before having his four-match, loss-side winning streak ended by Ussery 7-4 in the semifinals.

Ussery and Shuff flipped the coin that made Ussery the official winner.

Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Haselman and Hunt, D.D.S., P.C. Family Dentistry, George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor) and CueSports International. The next event on the Action Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 13-14, will be the 2021 VA State 8-Ball Championships, featuring Open and Ladies competition. The event will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

Gray goes undefeated to claim MD State 8-Ball title

Loye Bolyard, Tuan Chau, Dave Nangle, Jordan Gray and Rick Scarlato, Jr.

It is arguably heartening to know that Pro Football’s  “Any Given Sunday” rule is alive and well and living on pool tables from coast to coast. The unwritten rule dictates that on any given Sunday, a football team, no matter what its history or record going into the game, is capable of beating a team with a much better record and greater odds of winning. Translated to the fields of felt-covered slate, it means that in any given tournament, a player with limited history at the tables, with fewer earnings than any number of potential opponents can win a tournament, populated by players with much more robust track records. As in the way that the ‘rule’ is applied to football, it presupposes that the lesser-skilled team/individual player has some decent measure of experience on the playing field and that no one has to explain to a player how the game is played, or in the case of pool, which end of the cue stick to use when attempting to pocket a ball.

The 2021 Maryland State 8-Ball Championships, held this past weekend (July 24-25) drew 42 competitors to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD. Many of those in attendance were seasoned veterans; known competitors, not only in the mid-Atlantic region, but at nationwide events dating back years. Brandon Shuff and Steve Fleming, for example, who are former Tour Champions of the Action Pool Tour; Fleming in 2018 and runner-up in 2019, Brandon Shuff in 2015. Or Joey Korsiak, who’s been in the AZBilliards database since before the turn of the century. Or Bethany Sykes, who’s won Ladies events on the Action Pool Tour, the National Pool Tour (NAPT) and was the VA Women’s 8-Ball Champion in 2018. 

The winner (Jordan Gray) and runner-up (Tuan Chau) in this 2021 Maryland State 8-Ball Championship, combined, have recorded career earnings less than, as an example, Joey Korsiak earned winning this past May’s MD State 9-Ball Championships and this past June’s Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championships. The winner, Jordan Gray, went undefeated through the field and it wasn’t entirely due to the luck of the bracket draws. He defeated the aforementioned Steve Fleming in the third round, and in his winners’ side semifinal, faced and defeated Bryan Jones, who’d sent Joey Korsiak to the loss side in the winners’ side quarterfinals.

It’s an “Any Given Sunday” reminder to veterans and a reminder to up-and-coming challengers, from wherever they may emerge, to “play the table, not the opponent.”

Gray’s path to the winners’ circle went through Randy Davis, Jeremy Mason and Fleming without giving up more than three racks in any of those first three matches, which put him into the winners’ side semifinal against Bryan Jones. In the meantime, Dylan Spohr, got by Randy Clepper, Leroy Taylor and the eventual runner-up, Tuan Chau, to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Brandon Shuff.

Spohr dispatched Shuff to the loss side 6-1. Gray joined him after surviving a double hill match against Jones. Gray survived a second straight double hill match in his battle for the hot seat and sat in it, waiting for Chau to complete his five-match, loss-side winning streak.

It was Jones who moved over and picked up Chau, who’d followed his shutout defeat at the hands of Spohr with loss-side victories over Joonick Jun 6-3 and Russell Obaker 6-2. Shuff drew Korsiak, who, after his defeat at the hands of Bryan Jones, had eliminated Clint Clayton 6-4 and just did survive a double hill battle against Steve Fleming.

In one of the more ‘classic’ matchups of the event, Shuff defeated Korsiak 6-4. Chau, in the meantime, had eliminated Jones by the same score to face Shuff in the quarterfinals.

Chau won two straight double hill matches to earn his spot in the finals. He downed Shuff in the quarterfinals and Spohr in the semifinals. Chau chalked up a third double hill win in the opening set of the finals. Gray, though, won the second set 6-4 to become the 2021 Maryland State 8-Ball Champion.

On the Hill Productions’ Loye Bolyard and Rick Scarlato, Jr. thanked the ownership and staff at Championship Billiards for their hospitality, as well as their “generous tournament and streaming sponsors” AZBilliards, Aramith Balls, Mezz Cues, Turtle Racks, Simonis Cloth, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Safe Harbor Investments, Poison Cues, Gina Cunningham of Keller Williams Integrity. They also gave a shout out to Josh Parks, for his photography work at the events.

Next up will be the MD State 10-Ball Championships, scheduled for August 28-29. For further information, follow On the Hill Productions on Facebook.