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‘Heavy hitters’ come out to play on DFW 9-Ball Tour Finale, Briseno goes undefeated

Greg Sandifer, Gus Briseno & Robert Clark

Restricted to competitors who had played in at least one event throughout the year, the $2,500-added 2020 DFW 9-Ball Tour Finale drew 60 of the tour’s ‘heavy hitters’ to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX this past weekend (Nov. 14-15). A heavy hitter rated at ‘9’ (one of only two ‘9’s that competed) took on a heavy hitter with an ‘8’ rating in the hot seat match and finals. The ‘9’ (Gus Briseno) prevailed in both, going undefeated to claim the title. Greg Sandifer (8) took runner-up honors into the winners’ circle. 

The event paid out to 12 spots and also awarded cash prizes to the top-finishing SL4 players – TD Monica Anderson & Jennifer Hooten – who also won and split the last female standing cash award. Matthew Kindley and Ryan Schmidt split the cash prize for the last SL5 standing and Miguel Hernandez won the prize as the last SL6 standing.

In addition to the cash prizes associated with the main event, the tour also awarded its top three 2020 players with CueTec Cues; Tony Top (8, 3rd place) received a CueTec Jumping Cue, Donnie Gregory (8, 2nd place), got a CueTec Break Cue, and the tour’s top player, Clint Palaci (7), was awarded a CueTec Playing Cue and will receive free entry to every 2021 tour stop. 

Briseno’s path to the win went through Joshua Perez, Chris Ferguson, Neil Nabil Saidawi and Daniel Herring (with an aggregate score of 36-7) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against John Carlo Tuazon. Greg Sandifer was awarded an opening round bye and then got stuck chalking up 8-3 wins over Brendan Fuller, Chris Gaither and Clint Palaci (24-9), before running into Robert Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 8, Clark knocked Sandifer out of his 8-3 rut with a double hill match, but Sandifer finished it, advancing to the hot seat match. Briseno joined him, after sending Tuazon to the loss side 9-5. Briseno then grabbed the hot seat, with emphasis, 9-1.

On the loss side, Clark drew Tony Top, who’d followed his 7-4 loss to Tuazon in a winners’ side quarterfinal with wins over Miguel Hernandez 8-4 and Juan Parra 8-6. Tuazon picked up Clint Palaci, who’d followed his 8-3 winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Sandifer with victories over Robbie Smith 7-3 and a shutout versus Roman Bayda.

Clark locked up in a second straight double hill match, only this time, against Top, he advanced to the quarterfinals. Palaci joined him after eliminating Tuazon 7-1. Any momentum Palaci had earned in his decisive win over Tuazon got lost in his subsequent 8-1 loss to Clark in the quarterfinals. 

The ‘momentum loss’ scenario spilled over into the semifinals, as Clark followed his decisive 8-1 victory over Tuazon with an 8-2 loss at the hands of Sandifer, who turned back for a second shot at Briseno in the hot seat.

Sandifer began the final match with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in his race to 9 against Briseno. They battled back and forth and came within a game of double hill, as Sandifer added 6 to his one ‘on the wire,’ which eventually forced a 15th and final game. Briseno closed it out to finish his undefeated run and claim the Season Finale title.

Tour representative Monica Anderson thanked Jeff Pitts and his Rusty’s Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsors Cuetec (which provided two cues for a raffle) and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. According to Anderson, the tour’s 2021 tour schedule will be out in the middle of December. They are securing host venues with plans (Covid permitting) for 11 stops, and five ladies-only stops, as well. 

Gregory takes two out of three over Palaci to win CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tournament

Clint Palaci, Donnie Gregory & Juan Parra

With his victory this past weekend (Oct. 17-18) on the CueTec Dallas-Fort Worth 9-Ball Tour, Donnie Gregory turned an otherwise (for most people) disastrous 2020 into his best recorded earnings year to date. It took him five events to record what was his previous best earnings a year ago in 2019. It’s taken him only three 2020 events to surpass his 2019 earnings. This, of course, does not include money he may have earned by collecting additional monies outside the realm of official tour payouts or in tournaments not recorded with us for posterity.

Gregory had to earn this latest win, too. He made it to the hot seat, but the competitor he sent to the semifinals – Clint Palaci – came back to haunt him in the opening set of a true double elimination final. Gregory hung on to win the second set and claim the event title. The $1,500-added event drew 73 entrants to The Billiards Den in Richardson, TX.

Gregory was battling for advancement right from the start of this one. Awarded an opening round bye, he won his first four matches (all but one were straight up races to 7) by an average score of 7-5, including two double hill wins over Steve Raynes and Brian Cady. In between, in his second round, he defeated Walter Huenerfuerst (racing to 8). He then defeated Curtis Cardwell 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Jerry Yang in one of the winners’ side semifinals. 

Palaci, in the meantime, had a slightly less harrowing run to the winners’ side final four, averaging 7-4 wins against his four opponents; Keith Atkins (4), Doug Winnett (double hill), Brendan Fuller (1), and Aaron Ramijio (6), to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Moe Harbaji.

Gregory got into the hot seat match with his ‘easiest’ victory to that point, a 7-2 win over Yang. Palaci joined him after sending Harbaji to the loss side 7-4. Gregory enjoyed his ‘easy’ 7-2 win over Yang so much that he repeated it to claim the hot seat over Palaci.

On the loss side, Yang and Harbaji walked right into their second straight loss. Yang had picked up Tony Top, who’d been defeated in the event’s opening round and was on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak, which had recently included victories over Robin Barbour 8-6 and Aaron Ramijio 8-4. Harbaji drew Juan Parra, who was working on a much more modest two-match, loss-side streak that started when he’d been defeated by Yang in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. He’d opened on the loss side with victories over Jamie Cummings and Curtis Caldwell, both 7-5.

Top and Parra advanced to the quarterfinals; Top, stretching his loss-side streak to nine matches with an 8-6 win over Yang and Parra, downing Harbaji 7-4. Parra then stopped Top’s streak with a 7-4 win in those quarterfinals.

Clint Palaci, in turn, ended Parra’s short, loss-side journey 7-5 in the semifinals. 

Momentum may have been the reason that someone came up with the idea of a true double elimination final. As the hot seat occupant is relaxing somewhere, or even just practicing, he/she is not engaged in actual competition and it can arguably take an edge off the ‘knife’ that is his/her competitiveness. Thus, a single win by the designated semifinalist seemed . . . unfair somehow, so someone came up with the idea of an extra match with both competitors having chalked up one loss.

Palaci took the opening set of this true double elimination final 7-4. In their straight-up race to 7, they battled to within a game of double hill in the second set, before Gregory pulled out to win it 7-5, claim the event title and go $600 over his previous best recorded-earnings year.

In addition to the 16 straight payout winners, cash was disseminated to the ‘last standing’ competitor in three different skill levels (SL). Tour director Monica Anderson and Joey Salazar tied for the privilege among SL4s. Dennis Hall took home the SL5 cash and Moe Harbaji grabbed the SL6 money. Anderson picked up extra cash as the ‘last standing’ female. 

Anderson thanked Marcy Rothberg and her Billiards Den staff for hosting the event, as well as title sponsor CueTec Cues and Associate Title Sponsor Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour will be the tour finale, scheduled for November 14-15 at Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.

Freeman double dips Palaci to win DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener

(l to r): Clint Palaci, Clint Freeman & Tony Top

Though he played more games and eventually, after winning five on the loss side of the double elimination bracket, met and defeated hot seat occupant, Clint Palaci, to claim the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) 9-Ball Tour’s season opener on the weekend of January 18-19, Clint Freeman did not end up with the highest game-winning percentage of the 106 entrants, who signed on to the $1,500-added tournament, hosted by Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX. That interior-event ‘title’ went to Walter Huenerfuerst, who, though he finished in the tie for 13th place, won 57 of the 80 games he played over the weekend (71%).
 
Event winner Freeman, at 65% (85-46), wasn’t even in second place for the game-winning percentage ‘title,’ though he did end up in third place. Second place went to a competitor who was the odds-on favorite to win the tournament; seven-time participant and 2019 Vice Captain of the USA Mosconi Cup team, and winner of the 1998 US Open One Pocket and 2003 US Open 9-Ball titles, Jeremy Jones. Jones, though he finished in the tie for 9th place, won 64 of the 96 games he played (67%).
 
That strange little ‘factoid’ emanates from a disparity of games-played and racks-given-up that doesn’t always figure into the bottom line of winning or losing a given tournament. If you play 10 games of pool in a tournament, all races to 8, and win them all, you win the tournament. But if each of your eight games goes double hill (8-7), you’re going to finish the tournament with a 53% game-winning percentage. Huenerfuerst lost his opening match, faced seven opponents on the loss side, and gave up an average of just under three racks per match to his opponents to win the game-winning percentage battle. Jones, who moved to the loss side after the fourth round, faced a total of only six opponents and gave up just over five racks per match. Event winner Freeman played 11 matches, to include the double elimination final and gave up just over four games per match.
 
Freeman’s path to the winners’ circle went through Jeff Williams (8-5), Paul Villa (8-2), and Shane Hvamsted 8-3, before running into Donnie Gregory for the first time. Gregory sent him to the loss side 7-5. Gregory then advanced to a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Clint Palaci. Meanwhile, Tony Top, who’d recently battled to double hill versus Jeremy Jones and sent him to the loss side, advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal against Harold “Woody” Paine.
 
Top got into the hot seat match with an 8-6 victory over Paine. He was joined by Palaci, who’d defeated Gregory 7-2. Palaci gave up only a single rack to Top and grabbed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Freeman began his loss-side campaign with his hands full, so to speak, by drawing Jeremy Jones, who’d just won his first loss-side match 10-6 over Daniel Herring. Freeman put an end to an extraordinarily brief loss-side run by Jones with an 8-5 win. Freeman moved on to a double hill battle that he eventually won over JP Kinman, that set him (Freeman) up to face “Woody” Paine. Gregory picked up Jud Hunter, who’d recently eliminated Billy Guy and John Doughty, both 7-5.
 
Freeman advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-4 win over Paine, earning himself a rematch against Gregory, who’d defeated Hunter 7-5. Freeman went at the quarterfinal rematch with a vengeance, and allowed Gregory only a single rack in his 8-1 victory. Freeman completed his loss-side run with an 8-2 victory over Top in the semifinals.
 
Hot seat occupant, Clint Palaci began the double elimination finals against Clint Freeeman with one ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 8. The two Clints battled to double hill in the opening set, before Clint finished it, forcing a second set. Freeman took the second set 8-4 to claim the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener and for about a month, sit at the top of the DFW’s standings.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Anchor Predator Cues, Business Sponsor Ft. Worth Billiards Superstore and Associate Business Sponsors Aramith Balls, Outsville Racks, Rasson Billiards and JB Cases. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Feb. 22-23, will be hosted by Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.

Wiley wins DFW 9-Ball Tour finale and Tour Champion title

(l to r): Jeremy Jones, CJ Wiley and & TJ Davis

Going into the DFW 9-Ball Tour finale, held on the weekend of Nov. 10-11, the 2018 Tour Championship title was still very much in play. CJ Wiley stood atop the 10-stop point standings, poised to win it all, though Paul Guernsey and TJ Davis were a hair-width 40 and 80 points away (680-640-600). Had Guernsey won the final tour stop, with Wiley as runner-up, they’d have tied for first place. If Davis had won with Guernsey as runner-up, they’d have tied for first place. Had Wiley faltered in his quest for the event win and Tour Champion title, there were numerous ways it might have turned out.
 
But he didn’t falter. He faced seven opponents, including Jeremy Jones twice (early and late), played 84 games, winning (on average) three out of every four of them and finished undefeated to claim both the season finale and 2018 Tour Championship titles. The $5,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
As it turned out, Wiley and Davis faced each other in the hot seat match. Wiley had gotten by Neil Nabil Saidawi and Douglas Pitts before running into Jeremy Jones for the first time. In races to 9, handicapped with Fargo Ratings, Jones chalked up more racks against Wiley (6) in their third-round meeting than any other opponent Wiley faced all weekend, including Jones in their later meeting in the finals. Wiley then advanced to meet and defeat Phil Auteri, which set him up to face Jordan Gartenberg in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Davis, meanwhile, had defeated Michael Montgomery, Cody Wright, Brian Horvath and Greg Sandifer to draw Jersey Jack Lynch in the other winner’s side semifinal. Davis sent Lynch to the loss side 8-2, as Wiley shut Gartenberg out to join him. Wiley assured himself a minimum second place finish by defeating Davis 9-2. Davis moved to the semifinals, having secured a minimum third place finish.
 
On the loss side, Jones was at work on the seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would earn him a re-match against Wiley in the finals. A victory over Denny Sneed put Jones into the first money round (13th-16th) where he defeated Oscar Araujo 9-4. He advanced to eliminate Greg Sandifer and Tim Larson, both 9-5, to draw Gartenberg, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Jersey Jack Lynch drew Corey Flud, who’d been sent to the loss side by Jones in the second round and was on his own seven-match, loss-side quest for a re-match, against Jones. Flud eliminated Billy Guy, Douglas Pitts, Suliman Abu Salem and Steve Raynes, before defeating Clint Palaci, double hill, and Phil Auteri 7-3 to draw Jersey Jack.
 
Flud earned his quarterfinal re-match against Jones with a 7-5 victory over Lynch. Jones did his part with a 9-2 victory over Gartenberg. Flud started the quarterfinal with two on the wire in a race to 9. Jones defeated him a second time 9-4, and then moved on to give up only a single rack in a semifinal win over Davis.
 
Their Fargo Rates are 37 points apart with Jones given the edge over Wiley, 749-712. Wiley defied the FargoRate Match odds, giving him a roughly 30% chance of winning (29.6% to be precise). Jones chalked up the second-highest number of racks against him in the tournament, but Wiley took the match 9-5 to claim both the event and Tour Champion title.
 
Wiley finished the event as he’d started it, at the top of the tour rankings. TJ Davis and Paul Guernsey (who finished the event in the tie for 25th) switched places; Davis, finishing second and Guernsey finishing third. In addition to awarding the Tour Championship to Wiley, the tour gave a Best Sportsman Award to Billy Guy.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty's Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Fort Worth Super Billiards Store JB Cases, Outsville (Accu-Rack), Granite Guyz, BCAPL/CSI and Dallas Eight-Ball League. 

Bourgeois and Bayaua Blitz Poison Lone Star 10th Anniversary Event

Manny Chau, Joey Torres, Aaron Springs and Ernsto Bayaua

Joey Bourgeois, Jr., of Baytown, Texas, tore through a field of 75 amateur division players, while Houston’s Ernesto Bayaua blazed through the 64-player, open division, in the epic Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour 10th Anniversary Event, held on July 7th-8th, at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas. In the amateur division final, Bourgeois, Jr. beat out number two ranked, Steve Lenz, to claim his first-ever win on the Poison Lone Star Tour, while Bayaua bested number two ranked, Joey Torres, to maintain his number one spot in the open division rankings. Both players went undefeated!
 
The sixth stop on the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour was the “10th Anniversary 10-Ball Event” which marked ten years of Tour tournaments in the Lone Star State. The Tour gave away cash and products totaling $1,500 to its loyal constituents, while new players at this event were entered into a cash drawing. The Tour provided lunch for all the players, including twenty-nine, Gulf Coast Tour ladies. Thanks to host room, Bogies Billiards, title sponsor, Poison by Predator Cues PoisonBilliards.com, and sponsors Cyclop Pool Balls Facebook@CyclopPoolBalls, APA of North Harris County Facebook@APANorthHarrisCounty, OutsvilleBilliards.com, www.VaporKnightsUSA.com, and Southern Streaming, this event amassed 85 Poison Lone Star players, and a $12,330 payout.     
 
In the amateur division, Joey Bourgeois, Jr. made his way to the final four on the winners’ side with victories over Jose De LaCruz, Joel Acevedo, 5-4, Jance “L.J.” Johnson, 5-1, and Dallas’ Clint Palaci, 5-3, while Steve Lenz made his bid, securing wins over Jamie Cantrel, John Braud, David Williams, 5-3, Chris Young, 5-3, and Aaron Springs, 5-2. Resident player, Chuck Adams, denied Sonny Bosshamer, C.J. Escalera, Adam Cooper, 5-4, Bob Guzik, 5-4, and Chad Reece, 5-4, while Randy Nickerson ousted Todd Hinson, Bob DeTuncq, 5-4, Jack Cavalier, 5-0, Dale Briones, 5-3, and recent event winner, Michael Pickering, 5-1. On the west side, following a first round loss to Dallas’ Shane Hvamstad, Cesar Arechiga racked up seven wins to reach the final sixteen on the one loss side. Bosshamer benched Beaumont’s Carl Honey, 4-0, but fell short to Chris Young, 4-3. Hinson also took a first round hit, but came back to win six matches, positioning himself in the final sixteen, while Bret Harlan reached the final twenty-four, and in the money, but was denied by Marshal Ward, 4-2. Tony Scott squeezed into the first money round, but fell to Hvamstad, 4-3, while Laredo’s David Leal won five, including a win over Guzik, 4-3. Newcomer, Brandon Stewart, booked four wins on the one loss side, including a victory over Briones, 4-3, while Josh Pruiett paved his way to the final twenty-four, but lost to Kevin Frauenberger, 4-1. While the final eight took shape on the west side, on the east side, Nickerson made quick work of Adams, 5-1, while Bourgeois, Jr. powered through Lenz, 5-1. Back on the one loss side, Arechiga bested Young, 4-2, and Reece, 4-3, while Hinson took care of Ward, 4-3, and Pickering, 4-0. Leal slid by Hvamstad and Springs by the same score, 4-3, while Stewart defeated Frauenberger, 4-1, but was ousted by Palaci, 4-1. Hinson overwhelmed Arechiga, 4-0, and Palaci moved past Leal, 4-3. In the hot seat match, Bourgeois, Jr. took down Nickerson, 5-2, securing his first-ever, hot seat win. Seeking redemption, Adams eliminated Palaci, 4-3, and Lenz ended Hinson’s run, 4-2. Lenz overcame Adams, 4-1, and Nickerson, 4-2, to reach a final reckoning with Bourgeois, Jr. Once again, Lenz proved no match for Bourgeois, Jr., who cruised to his first Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour victory, 5-1.
 
In the open 9-ball division, Ernesto Bayaua was on role, dominating Kelly Kilgore, 6-2, Justin Pena, 6-0, Adam Cooper, 6-0, and Steve Lenz, 6-3, while Manny Chau cut through Mike Wilson, Chase Rudder, 6-0, Chuck Adams, 6-2, and Cesar Arechiga, 6-0. Aaron Springs stopped David Ramos, Sonny Bosshamer, 6-2, Seth Gonzales, 6-2, and upset Alex Calderone, 6-5. Joey Torres , Joey Bourgeois, Jr., 6-2, Carl Honey, 6-3, and Joel Acevedo, 6-3. As the winners’ side final four took shape, the one loss side was winding down. Kevin Frauenberger took out Hvamstad, 5-2, but fell to Calderone, 5-1, while Bob Guzik ended Sonny Bosshamer, 5-3, and Acevedo, 5-2. Chase Rudder ousted Tommy Tokoph, 5-4, but was upset by Steve Lenz, 5-0. Pena edged out Bobby Perez, but fell to Arechiga, 5-3. It was down to the final eight. On the east side, Bayaua bested Chau, 6-4, and Torres tore down Springs, 6-2. The hot seat pitted two, successful Houston players, witnessing Bayaua handily win the hot seat, 6-2. On the west side, Calderone ejected Guzik, 5-0, but lost to Chau, 5-1, while Arechiga slid by Lenz, 5-4, only to be ousted by Springs. While Springs upset Chau, 5-4, Torres took him out, earning himself another shot at Bayaua. In the final match, Torres came on strong, but Bayaua was on point, pulling ahead to win his fourth open division title this year, 6-4. 
 
The Tour would like to thank Monique Ferguson and John Newsome who assisted with running the boards, and recognize Jimmy Weeks of Lufkin, Texas, and Mike Pawloski of Willis, Texas, for being top contributors to the player auctions. Finally, the Tour would like to congratulate all of the free giveaway recipients. Mike Wilson of Corpus Christie won the Poison AR3-2 playing cue, Laredo’s Gerardo Alvarez took home a Poison VX jump cue, and Houston’s Rudy Sanchez won the Poison break/jump cue. Tommy Tokoph and Todd Hinson won Cyclop Pool Ball Sets (Zeus), and Doug Gray, C.J. Escalera, Roy Alonzo, and Richard Stuart snagged Outsville Accu-Racks. Carl Honey collected $50 in Brutal Game Gear, and Thomas Madison took home the Superbowl gear.
 
The next event will be 9-ball on 9’ tables, to be held August 4th-5th, 2018, at Skinny Bob’s Billiards, located at 300 Hester’s Crossing, in Round Rock, Texas. This same weekend, there will be a Women’s Gulf Coast Tour 9-Ball Event, two days, on open bar tables, beginning Saturday, August 4th, at 11:00am. The women’s event is non-smoking. For more information, visit www.GulfCoastWomensTour.com. 
 
For more information, or sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.LoneStarBilliardsTour.com.