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Mike Davis, Jr. claims first Open event of the 2023 Q City 9-Ball Tour

Mike Davis

In the first of 12 planned Open events in 2023, to be known as The TOP (The Open Players) Tour, Mike Davis, Jr. was crowned as its premier champion. The $500-added, non-handicapped event had to compete with a number of other regional events in the immediate and not-too-distant area and as a result, drew only 18 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

Davis and Mark Bolton opted out of a final at this event, allowing their one and only match to stand as the title-claiming victory. As the occupant of the hot seat at the time, Davis went into the books as the event’s official champion and they split the top two prizes.

With races to 7 on both sides of the bracket, they met first in the hot seat match, once Davis had defeated Barry Mashburn 7-5 in one of the winners’ side semifinals and Bolton had sent Kelly Farrar to the loss side 7-4 in the other one. Davis claimed the hot seat and, as it turned out, the official event title with a 7-3 win over Bolton.

On the loss side, Mashburn picked up Josh Heeter, who’d defeated Graham Swinson and Corey Morphew, both 7-2, to reach him. Farrar drew Chris Turner, who’d survived two straight double hill matches, versus William Baize and Derek Leonard, for a shot at Farrar.

By identical 7-3 scores, Heeter and Farrar advanced to the quarterfinals over Mashburn and Turner, respectively. And it was 7-3’s all the way to the end. Farrar over Heeter in the quarterfinals and Bolton over Farrar in the final match of the event, the semifinals.

Davis and Bolton opted out of the final, split the top two prizes and completed the Open Tour’s first event.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club for their hospitality, along with title sponsor, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC),, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and TKO Custom Cues. The next stop on The TOP Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Deb. 25-26 will be the 11th Annual North Carolina State 9-Ball Open and Ladies 9-Ball Open, to be hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

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Monday comes back to double-dip Nevel in GSBT/Carolina Open 8-Ball Tournament

Sammy Monday, Shannon Daulton and Larry Nevel

He’d finished second, fifth and seventh (three times) on the Great Southern Billiard Tour this year. He’d taken second place in both the Derby City One-Pocket Mini, and on a Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour stop. Safe to say, Sam Monday came to the Great Southern Billiard Tour Championships/Carolina Open on the weekend of November 9-14, looking for a win. And got one. He joined a field of 57 entrants, on-hand for the $3,000-guaranteed total purse 8-Ball event, hosted by Fast Eddie’s in Goldsboro, NC, got sent to the loss-side from among the winners’ side final eight, fought his way through back through five matches into a double elimination final, and then took down hot seat occupant, Larry Nevel, twice.

From Monday’s perspective, the man with the big target on his back was Chris Turner, who’d sent him to the loss-side. Turner went on to face Billy Thorpe among the winners’ side final four, as Nevel was busy with Alex Olinger. Turner got into the hot seat match with a 6-1 victory over Thorpe, but Nevel, who’d sent Olinger west 8-6, kept him out of the hot seat with an 8-5 win.

Monday, in the meantime, in his first loss-side match, drew B.J. Ussery, who was simultaneously working his undefeated way to a victory in the 9-Ball event. Monday stopped Ussery’s 8-Ball bid right there 7-1, and went on to a 7-3 victory over Mike Cone that set him up to face Olinger. Thorpe picked up Lucas Hawkins, who’d just gotten by Larry Kressel double hill, and shut out Mike Fuller (he would also go on to finish third in the 9-Ball event). 

Monday got into the quarterfinals with a 7-3 victory over Cone, and was joined by Hawkins, who’d downed Thorpe 6-2. With Monday’s vengeance ‘target’ (Chris Turner) a single match away, he earned the right to face him with a 7-4 victory over Hawkins. He dropped Turner by the same score, and turned to face Nevel.

Of the many things either player or anyone watching might have predicted about a match between Nevel and Monday at that point (approaching dawn on Monday morning), a shutout by Monday in the opening set would likely have drawn long odds. But that’s just what happened. Odds on a second set going 13 games would have been less, but that, too, is just what happened. With Nevel needing to reach 8 games, and Monday 7, Monday prevailed 7-6 in the second set to capture his first event title of the year. 

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked the owners and staff of Fast Eddie’s in Goldsboro, NC for their cooperation and hospitality in hosting the Tour Championships/Carolina Open, as well as sponsors Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Mike Davis Exterminating, Tiger Products and Delta-13 racks. In addition to the guaranteed prize money, the event raised $1,200 for charity.