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Davis comes from the loss side, and returns to NC State Open 9-Ball winners’ circle

Mike Davis, Jr.

Mike Davis, Jr. won the first three NC State Open 9-Ball championships from 2014 to 2016. After relinquishing the title for three years, to (in order) Shannon Fitch (‘17), Reymart Lim (’18) and Keith Bennett (’19), Davis returned to compete in the 7th Annual NC State Open 9-Ball tournament and in spite of having his path to victory re-routed through the loss side of the event’s bracket, returned to meet and defeat Justin Martin in the finals and reclaim the title. The $500-added event drew 43 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Davis advanced through the field to draw Justin Martin in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Barry Mashburn faced Brian Capps in the other one. Martin sent Davis to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Mashburn, who’d defeated Capps 7-5. Martin claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mashburn and waited on Davis’ return.

On the loss side, in the first money rounds, Davis picked up Josh Heeter, who’d shut out Kirk Overcash and eliminated Jeff Abernathy 7-3 to reach him. Capps drew Mackie Lowery, who’d eliminated Hank Powell, double hill, and Edwin Delacueva 7-3.

Capps sent Mackie Lowery home with some cash in a 7-5 win. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Davis, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Heeter. Davis then denied Capps a second shot at Mashburn by downing Capps in those quarterfinals 7-2.

Davis moved on to deny Mashburn a second shot at Martin with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. In the finals that followed, Davis was looking to regain a title he’d last held in 2016. His opponent, Justin Martin, was looking to break a three-year streak of being the NC State Open 9-Ball tournament’s runner-up.

Davis won his fourth NC State Open 9-Ball title and handEd Martin his 4th runner-up finish. Davis completed his run with a 9-4 win in the finals.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for March 7-8, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64+ entrants), hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Gupta and Crescimanno split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Vinnie Crescimanno & Shivam Gupta

It was Shivam Gupta’s second victory on the Tri-State Tour, although both of them have gone into the record books with an asterisk, labeled “No final match played.” In November of 2013, Gupta went undefeated through a field of 37, but he played his last match, against Chris Derewonski, battling for the hot seat. When Derewonski returned from the semifinals, they opted out of a final match, leaving the undefeated Gupta as the event’s official winner. On Sunday, February 18, at a $1,000-added, 10-ball event on the Tri-State Tour, which drew 54 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, Gupta came back from a loss to Vinnie Crescimanno in the hot seat match and by mutual agreement, they split the top two prizes. Though Gupta was willing to play the final match, issues related to employment led to Crescimanno’s decision to opt out of that match. Also by mutual agreement, they split the cash, with Gupta receiving the larger share (and related tour ranking points) as the official winner.
Following victories over Duc Lam, Jose Estevez, Brian Cap and Mio Celaj, Gupta moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against John Francisco. Crescimanno, in the meantime, squared off against Ralph Ramos, Jr. Gupta advanced to the hot seat match 6-4 over Francisco, while Crescimanno was surviving a double hill match against Ramos. Crescimanno claimed the hot seat 6-2.
On the loss side, Dave Callaghan, who’d been defeated by Francisco in a winners’ side quarterfinal, downed Jaydev Zaveri 6-2 and Dave Shlemperis 6-4 to earn himself a re-match versus Francisco. Ramos, Jr. picked up his father, Ralph Ramos, Sr., who’d defeated Kevin Chong and Jose Baez, both 5-1, to reach him.
Callaghan wreaked re-match vengeance on Francisco 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals, as Ramos, Sr. downed Ramos, Jr. 5-3 to join him. Callaghan then allowed father and son to go home at more or less the same time with a 5-2 win over Ramos, Sr. in the quarterfinals.
Gupta played what proved to be the final match of the event, the semifinals, defeating Callaghan 6-3. The mutual agreement to split the top prizes, and award Gupta the official event title was reached, and it was over.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 25, will be a C/D 9-Ball event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Muller runs loss-side table to win Tri-State stop

(l to r): Justin Muller & Matt Klein

It doesn’t happen often. While event victories by competitors who spend time on the loss side of a double elimination bracket are common, the number of them that do so after losing their opening match and ‘running the table’ on the loss side of the bracket are rare. Justin Muller did just that on the Saturday, January 13 stop on the Tri-State Tour. He would meet the player who’d defeated him in the opening round of play, Victor Dabu, in the event semifinals, and go on to defeat hot seat occupant Matt Klein to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 25 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
As Muller began his eight-match, loss-side winning streak, Dabu advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Tony Ignomirello. Klein, in the meantime, squared off against Shweta Zaveri. Dabu and “Tony Iggy” battled to double hill, before Dabu finished it to advance to the hot seat match. He was joined by Klein, who’d sent Zaveri to the loss side 7-4. Klein claimed the hot seat in a double hill match and sent Dabu to the semifinal re-match against Muller.
On the loss side, with three wins already, Muller defeated Brian Cap 7-4 and Joe Rubino 8-6 to draw Ignomirello. Zaveri picked up Mike Strassberg, who’d gotten by Luis La Puenta 6-4 and Jim Gutierrez, double hill. Muller and Strassberg handed Ignomirello and Zaveri their second straight loss, both 8-6, and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Muller ended Strassberg’s day 8-6 in those quarterfinals, and turned to face the opponent he’d more or less been waiting for all day; Dabu. The two locked up in something of a predictable double hill fight for a shot at Klein in the hot seat. Muller won that battle and turned his attention to Klein. Muller completed his mostly-loss-side run with an 11-5 victory over Klein and claimed the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Billiards, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Digicue, Billiards Digest, Human Kinetics, Blue Book Publishing, Phil Capelle Publications and Joe Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of January 20-21, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Cap and Guevarez split top prizes on the Tri-State

(l to r): Brian Cap & Harry Guevarez

Brian Cap and Harry Guevarez met up in the opening round of the Saturday, August 12 stop on the Tri-State Tour; the tour's first 8-ball event of the 2017-2018 season. At the end of the day, the result – Cap winning 6-4 – stood as the deciding match. Though Guevarez would win five on the loss side to earn a re-match in the finals, the two opted out of that final match, leaving Cap, the hot seat occupant, as the event winner. The $1,000-added event drew 22 entrants to Rockaway Blliards in Rockaway, NJ.
With what proved to be the only match between the eventual winner and runner-up out of the way, Cap moved on to defeat Michael Conoran 6-4 and then, meet up with Jaydev Zaveri in a winners' side semifinal. In the meantime, Allison LaFleur, on her way to her second top-three finish in as many weeks, made it by Mike Guevara, Michelle Brotons (friend and road partner) and Ron Lichtenberger to face Andrew Cicoria in the other winners' side semifinal.
Cap defeated Zaveri 6-4, and in the hot seat match, faced LaFleur, who'd chalked up her second straight, double hill win versus Cicoria. Cap claimed the hot seat 9-6 in what would prove to be his last match of the day.
On the loss side, Harry Guevarez opened his five-match march to the finals-that-never-were with a forfeit win, and defeated Paul Madonia 6-4 to draw Zaveri. Cicoria picked up Gil McGrath, who'd defeated Artur Trzeciak, double hill, and Lichtenberger 5-3 to reach him.
Guevarez defeated Zaveri 6-4, as Cicoria got right back to work and downed McGrath, double hill.  Guevarez then defeated Cicoria 6-2 in the quarterfinals. In what was described by tour representatives as a victory of "experience over determination," Guevarez dropped the final 8-ball of the semifinals, and last match of the event, winning it 7-4 over LaFleur to conclude the day's activities. The undefeated Cap claimed the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rockaway Billiards, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Digicue, Billiards Digest, Human Kinetics, Blue Book Publishing,  Phil Capelle Publications and Joe Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, a $1,000-added B/C/D event, scheduled for August 19-20, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan, NY.