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Davis loses first set of finals, splits with Johnson on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Clay Davis

Over the years, we’ve reported on any number of individuals who’ve won their first event on any given or multiple numbers of regional tours. We’ve also reported on competitors who’ve returned from long absences away from the tables and chalked up their first win since however long it may have been, most notably in these last two years. According to Herman Parker, tour director of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, Clay Davis’ official* (did not complete finals) win on last weekend’s (Feb. 26-27) tour stop marked his first win in almost eight years, predating the tour’s reporting to us about their events. He’d been competing all along, with his cash payouts on the tour being reported to us as far back as 2016. Ten of them altogether, but no tour wins.

“He’s the player who’s gone the longest time between wins on our tour,” said Parker.

Davis and Paul Johnson met only that once, in the first set of the tournament’s true double elimination finals. The $500-added event drew a hefty 62 entrants to Rock House Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

They were both a part of the two winners’ side semifinals. As Davis was battling Trent Talbert to double hill before prevailing, Johnson was being outdone by Rory Dover 6-3. Davis claimed the hot seat over Dover in a shutout.

On the loss side, Johnson picked up Runal Bhatt, who’d defeated Zach Martin 7-2 and Matt Lucas 7-4 to reach him. Talbert drew Cole Lewis, who’d recently eliminated Hunter White 8-5 (White racing to 10) and Andrew “Tiger” Carlisle 8-3.

Johnson downed Bhatt 6-5 (Bhatt racing to 7), as Lewis was busy shutting out Talbert. Johnson eliminated Lewis 6-4 in the quarterfinals that followed. 

The semifinal between Dover and Johnson was a straight-up, race-to-6 rematch of their winners’ side semifinal. This time, they battled to double hill, before Johnson finished it, in what was probably an unwitting attempt to face and prevent Davis from chalking up that first tour win in eight years.

Johnson continued that attempt in the opening set of the true double elimination final. With one ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 7, Johnson won that first set 6-2, at which point, the two of them negotiated a split. As the occupant of the hot seat at the time, Davis claimed the official event title, chalking up that first (albeit, with an asterisk) title in eight years. 

Tour director Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Rock House Grill and Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 5-6), will be a $500-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA. 

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Fowler and Duncan win Scotch Double event on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Justin Duncan and Billy Fowler

In a final, race-to-six match that took 12 minutes, Billy Fowler and Justin Duncan defeated Kevin Ping and Tony Wall in the second set of a true double elimination final at the May 30-31 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. The $500-added Scotch Doubles event drew 48 teams of two to Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

 

The event finalists met first in the hot seat match. Fowler and Duncan had sent Hayleigh Marion, a junior player, and Janet Atwell to the loss side 6-4. Ping and Wall had defeated Team Abernathy (brothers Jeff and John) 6-3. Two out of three of the matches that Fowler/Duncan and Ping/Wall played went double hill and the hot seat match was the first of them. Fowler/Duncan claimed the hot seat and waited for Ping/Wall to get back from the semifinals.

 

Over on the loss side, Team Abernathy picked up Landon Hollingsworth and Junior Gabriel, who’d recently eliminated Justin Clark and Hank Powell 6-1 and Keno Patel and Steve Gerardi 6-3. Hayleigh/Atwell drew Hunter Zayas and Dalton Messer, who’d defeated Clay Davis and Kris Bower 6-2, and Joey Tate and Anthony Mabe 6-4 to reach them.

 

In the first money round, battling to get into the quarterfinals, Zayas and Messer leapfrogged into those quarterfinals when Hayleigh and Atwell could not return to compete on Sunday and forfeited. Team Abernathy, in the meantime, survived a double hill battle against Hollingsworth/Gabriel and joined Zayas/Messer.

 

A double hill fight eventually sent Ping and Wall to the semifinals over Zayas/Messer. Ping and Wall earned their second shot against Fowler/Duncan with a 6-4 win over Zayas/Messer.

 

In their second of three, the opening set of the true double elimination final, the two teams went double hill, before Ping and Wall prevailed to force a second set. Once the second match got underway, tour director Herman Parker chose to take a step outside. When he returned, moments later, the match was half over at 3-0 in favor of Fowler and Duncan.

 

According to Parker, the Fowler/Duncan team had chalked up three 9-ball combinations in a row to win those opening three games. They kept that pace up, and completed the second-set shutout that earned them the event title.

 

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break & Run Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will be held this weekend, June 6-7, and hosted by Randolph Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Brady holds off Heeter in double elimination final to capture Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Norris Brady

When they met in the finals of the Feb. 1-2 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, they were both looking to capture their second-ever title on the tour. Josh Heeter captured his first title anywhere with a win on the tour, just over a year ago, when he lost his opening match and won 11 on the loss side to meet and double dip Brian White. Heeter was also runner-up to BJ Ussery in a tour event in October, and 4th in an event, also won by Ussery, in June. Norris Brady was making his first appearance on the tour since June of 2018, a year in which he won a stop on the tour and finished in the money two other times; 9th in the earlier NC State 9-Ball Championships (March) and 13th at a stop in June. Brady was also the tour’s first tour champion in 2013. They met twice in this most recent event in both sets of a double elimination final with Brady in the hot seat and Heeter having won three on the loss side to meet him. Heeter took the opening set of that final to force a second set, won by Brady. The event drew 68 entrants to Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.
 
They’d both advanced to a winners’ side semifinal. Heeter, facing Clay Davis and Brady, squaring off against Stevie McClinton. Davis sent Heeter to the loss side, as Brady was busy defeating McClinton 9-5. Brady gave up only a single rack, claiming the hot seat 9-1.
 
On the loss side, it was Chuck Ritchie who drew Heeter, just after surviving two straight double hill fights against Jason Potts and Jeff Abernathy. McClinton picked up Brandon Butts, who’d defeated Jeff Little 5-2 and Zac Leonard 5-5 (Leonard racing to 8).
 
Butts prevailed in a double hill fight versus McClinton (5-6) and was joined in the quarterfinals by Heeter, who’d eliminated Ritchie 8-4. Heeter then eliminated Butts 8-2 in those quarterfinals to earn himself a rematch against Davis in the semifinals.
 
Heeter wreaked his vengeance on Davis 8-4, loading himself up on momentum that carried over into the first set of the double elimination final against Brady. Heeter took that opening set 8-1, so they loaded up for a second meet. This one stretched out a bit, as they both looked to claim the title. They battled to double hill before Brady prevailed to claim the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for Feb. 7-8, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

Lowery gets by Worden twice to take Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop in Chesnee, SC

Mackie Lowery

The beat, as they say, goes on.
 
Mackie Lowery moved into uncharted territory two months ago when he came back from a defeat in a hot seat match to win a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. The win turned 2019 into his best earnings year since he first showed up on a payout list 13 years ago, finishing 7th in an earlier version of the Viking Cues’ tour. On Saturday, September 21, Lowery chalked up his second 2019 win on the tour, going undefeated through a field of 54, on hand for the $500-added event, hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.
 
Lowery had to get by a competitor who was also in the midst of his best and also his first earnings year, and looking for his second win on the 2019 tour, Travis Worden. Worden had won his first-ever regional tour event last month at a stop, hosted by Buck’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC. They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Joey Fox and Sam Epps squared off in the other one.
 
Lowery and Fox advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-4 wins over Worden and Epps. Lowery then downed Fox 7-2, claiming the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Worden picked up Aaron McClure, who’d defeated Billy Fowler 6-6 (Fowler racing to 9) and Daniel Jones, double hill, to reach him. Epps drew a rematch against Clay Davis, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the event’s third round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had included recent wins over Junior competitor Joey Tate 7-5 and Tommy Johnson 7-2.
 
Davis chalked up a successful rematch against Epps 7-3, as Worden was busy eliminating McClure 7-4. Worden then ended Davis’ loss-side run with a 6-5 win in the quarterfinals (Davis racing to 7).
 
Worden downed Joey Fox 6-4 in the semifinals for a shot at Lowery, waiting for him in the hot seat. He’d have had to win two to claim the title. Lowery, though, made the point moot. He won the opening and only set 7-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break & Run Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (September 28-29), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

Lowery and Francis split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Mackie Lowery

As far as we can determine, Mackie Lowery’s been at the tables for about 15 years. He’s cashed, according to our records, in a total of nine events, including a Viking Cue 9-Ball Tour, runner-up payday almost exactly 10 years ago at Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. On Saturday, Oct. 27, leaking into the early hours of Sunday, Lowery went undefeated to claim his first title, on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, at Randolph’s Billiards in NC; a clear application of the ‘location, location, location’ answer to the question of where a player does his best work. The $250-added event drew 33 entrants to Randolph’s and while Lowery was declared the official winner, he split the top two prizes with runner-up Brian Francis, who’d won five on the loss side to face him in the finals.
 
When Justin Clark sent Francis to the loss side, he advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Kirk Overcash. Lowery, in the meantime, squared off against Zac Leonard. Lowery moved on to the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Leonard, and was joined by Overcash, who’d sent Clark to the loss side 5-3. Lowery claimed the hot seat and, in effect, the event title with a 7-2 victory over Overcash.
 
On the loss side, Francis opened his trek to the finals with a 6-8 victory over JT Ringgold (Ringgold racing to 10) and a 6-1 defeat of Clint Clark (no relation to Justin). This set him up to face Leonard coming over from his winners’ side semifinal defeat. Justin Clark picked up Mike Bumgarner, who’d survived two straight double hill matches, against Clay Davis and Josh Heeter, to reach him.
 
Francis downed Leonard 6-4, as Bumgarner was eliminating Justin Clark 7-4. Francis and Bumgarner locked up in a double hill quarterfinal fight, won eventually by Francis, who moved on to what turned out to be the last match of the event, the semifinals against Overcash. It was a second straight double hill fight for Francis and his last win of the night. He and Lowery agreed on the split and the event was over.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph’s, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 3-4), will be hosted by Corner Pockets in Fayetteville, NC.

White double dips Hammer to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Bar Table Championships

Brian White

In what proved to be his first 2018 major tournament win, Brian White returned from a loss in the hot seat match to down Will Hammer twice and capture the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Bar Table Championships, held on the weekend of Sept. 29-30. The $2,000-added event, open to invited members of the tour, drew 90 entrants to Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC.
 
“We were hoping to hit 100 entrants and break our previous tour record of 96,” said tour director Herman Parker. “But in the last hour, we had several players who told us that they couldn’t make it.”
 
In addition to his two victories over Hammer in the finals, White had to defeat the tour’s most prolific winner, JT Ringgold, twice. Ringgold entered the tournament in search of his 12th win on the tour, and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against White, as Hammer was facing Edwin Delacueva in the other one. In their first of two, White and Ringgold battled to double hill before White finished it 10-9, advancing to the hot seat match. Hammer joined him, following a 6-5 victory over Delacueva, who was racing to 7.  With White racing to 10, Hammer chalked up what proved to be his last match win of the weekend, 6-6, to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Ringgold opened what he hoped was going to be a three-match trip back to the finals against Josh Shultz, who’d defeated Trey Frank 6-2 and Stevie McClinton 6-1 to reach him. Delacueva drew Marty Opyd, who’d eliminated BJ Hucks 6-6 (Hucks racing to 8) and Clay Davis, double hill (also 6-6, Davis racing to 7).
 
Ringgold downed Shultz 10-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Delacueva, who’d ended Opyd’s weekend 7-1. Ringgold took what proved to be his final step, defeating Delacueva in those quarterfinals 10-3. The semifinal, second matchup between Ringgold and White shaped up early as a repeat of their double hill, winners’ side semifinal, but White pulled away at the end to win it 10-8 and earn his re-match against Hammer in the finals.
 
White came out gunning in the opening set of the true double elimination final and allowed Hammer only a single rack. Hammer came back in the second set and chalked up five of the six racks he needed to win, but White got the 10 he needed to claim the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball 2018 Bar Table Championships.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Dayne Miller and his staff at Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Oct. 6-7), will be hosted by Shotmakers in Garner, NC.

Fowler goes undefeated to claim Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title in Spartanburg, SC

Moving into the winners' side semifinals of a Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour stop, held on the weekend of March 4-5, it took two double hill wins against separate opponents for Billy Fowler to go undefeated and claim the title. The $500-added event drew 59 entrants to Cue Time in Spartanburg, SC.
 
The first of those two double hill wins came in one of the two winners' side semifinals, as Fowler sent Matt Bulfin to the loss side 7-8 (Bulfin racing to 9). Kirk Hixon, in the meantime, sent Fowler's eventual finals opponent, Bobby McGrath, to the loss side, in another double hill match (6-9; Hixon, racing to 10). By comparison, Fowler got into the hot seat easily, defeating Hixon 7-2.
 
On the loss side, Bulfin picked up Clay Davis, recent winner over Cameron Lawhorne 6-3, and Matt Mancini 6-5. McGrath drew Rocky Hawkes (both racing to 10), who'd just eliminated Michael Vinesett 7-1, and Steven Driggers 7-4.
 
Bulfin downed Davis, double hill (9-5), and in the quarterfinals, met up with McGrath, who, in a straight-up race to 10, had eliminated Hawkes 10-5. In a 10-9 race, McGrath then defeated Bulfin 10-3. With Hixon racing to 6 in the semifinals, McGrath ended his run 10-4 for a shot at Fowler in the hot seat. With McGrath racing to his 10, Fowler completed his undefeated run with a 7-7 victory in the finals.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Time, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 11-12), will be hosted by Corner Pockets in Fayetteville, NC.

By default, Best, with dawn approaching, wins warm-up to NC State 8-Ball Championships

It was probably one of those things that looked good in the window, but terrible when you got it home. The Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour made a stop at the Brass Tap in Raleigh on the weekend of October 29-30 and 39 entrants showed up to participate in a rare 8-ball event that proceeded the NC State 8-Ball Championships the following week in Cary, NC. They made a decision to finish it in one day, instead of asking people (some of whom traveled a good distance) to return on Sunday. Somewhere in the vicinity of around 3 a.m., the players left were probably wondering whether the one-day idea was such a good one. As it turned out, when it got down to three players, the semifinalists (J.T. Ringgold and Travis Guerra) opted out of their match, and left the hot seat occupant, Blade Best, to claim the event title, unopposed in a final match.
 
 
Ringgold may have been the most affected by the shortened event. He lost his first match on Saturday to Peter Abatangelo and then won eight on the loss side to advance to the semifinals, at which point he and Travis Guerra opted out of the match. Assuming a 50-50 split, Ringgold went home with $300 (half the 2nd – $400 – and 3rd – $200 – payouts), instead of a potential $600, which might have come his way had he a) defeated Guerra, and b) went on to face and defeat Best in the hot seat. We and they will never know if they made a "good deal."
 
 
It was Guerra and Best who battled for the hot seat in this one. Guerra had sent Justin Clark to the loss side, double hill, in one winners' side semifinal, while Best sent Mike Mullins west 5-3. Best claimed the hot seat 5-1 over Guerra and for all intents and purposes, his night was over.
 
 
On the loss side, Ringgold was halfway through his eight-match, loss-side run, when he downed Glenn Smith 9-4 and Al Boone, double hill (9-3) to pick up Clark. Mullins drew Rich Anderson, who'd recently shut out Matt Lucas, and downed Clay Davis 7-3. Ringgold advanced to the quarterfinals 9-3 over Clark, and was joined by Mullins, who, in a straight-up race to 7, had defeated Anderson, double hill.
 
 
Ringgold ended the tournament with a 9-3 win over Mullins. He and Guerra opted out of their semifinal match, and Best went into the books as the event winner.
 
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at the Brass Tap, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta-13 racks and Ruthless Billiards. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 5-6 will be the North Carolina State 8-Ball Championships, to be hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC. In attendance will be defending champion, Mike Davis

Martin takes two of three versus Fitch to win record-breaking stop on Q City 9-Ball Tour

Justin Martin

In what Tour Director Herman Parker said was the best-attended event in the history of the Q City 9-Ball Tour, 17-year-old Justin Martin survived a double elimination challenge by Shannon Fitch to claim the title. The event, held over the July 4th weekend, broke a previous entrant record of 67 by drawing 69 entrants to Chandley's Chalk & Cue in Statesville, NC.
 
While his father (Jason) was at work on the loss side, Justin Martin was busy advancing to a winners' side semifinal versus Rocky Hawkes. Fitch and Chris Walsh squared off in the other winners' side semifinal. Martin downed Hawkes 9-5, as Fitch sent Walsh over 11-5. Martin claimed the hot seat 9-2 over Fitch and while likely keeping an eye on his Dad's progress, waited on Fitch's return.
 
Jason Martin got out of the 9/12 battles with a 5-0 shutout over Travis Duncan, but was defeated 6-1 in the 7/8 contests by Christy Norris, who'd defeated Mike McDonald 6-4 to reach him. Norris advanced to pick up Walsh. Hawkes drew Tim Gill, who'd benefited from a forfeit by Jeff Abernathy and then survived a double hill battle against Clay Davis.
 
Gill and Walsh moved on to the quarterfinals; Gill, 6-4 over Hawkes and Walsh, 7-5 over Norris. Walsh downed Gill 7-3 in those quarterfinals, but then had his loss-side streak ended 11-4 by Fitch in the semifinals.
 
Fitch dominated the opening set of the true double elimination final 11-2 to force a second set. Martin, though, caught a gear in the second set, and though not quite as dominant a performance as Fitch's in the opening set, he did win it 9-6 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked Mike Chandley and his staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta-13 racks and GoPlayPool.com. The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for July 9-10, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.