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Yapp wins 9-ball and 10-ball events at $10K-added, 3rd Annual Meucci Classic

Silviana Lu and Aloysius Yapp

Silviana Lu wins Ladies 9-ball

Yep, Yapp won ‘em both. And his girlfriend, Silviana Lu won the other one. 

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic at Racks Billiards Sports Bar & Grill in Sanford, FL this past weekend (Nov. 10-13) gave Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp his third and fourth 2022 event victory, which added to his already-best (recorded with us) earnings year since we recorded his first two cash winnings in September of 2012, a week apart; a 17th place finish at the Party Poker World Cup of Pool in Quezon City in the Philippines (won by Mika Immonen) and a week+ later, a 33rd place finish at the China Open in Shanghai (won by Dennis Orcollo). 

So, the Meucci Classic was nowhere near his first rodeo. By the same token, Yapp’s presence outside of a fairly consistent group of world-travelling pool professionals had him flying under a lot of the US pool-playing radar until he showed up in the finals of the 2021 US Open 9-Ball Championships in Atlantic City and battled in the finals (unsuccessfully) against Carlo Biado. He became a much more consistently-present figure for the rest of the year, with appearances in (among others) the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships (9th), the International 9-Ball Open (17th), the International Open’s Big Foot 10-Ball (3rd behind Joshua Filler and Mika Immonen) and a win on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series in Battle Creek, Michigan.

He’s cashed in 19 events this year, winning four of them, runner-up in two and 3rd in three. He won this year’s Michigan Open and the Sandcastle Open before heading to the eastern shores of Virginia where he finished 9th at this year’s International Open 9-Ball tournament and was 3rd for the second time at the Big Foot 10-Ball event; this time, behind the juggernaut known as Fedor Gorst and Joshua Filler. He shuffled off to Sanford, FL last weekend, where he went undefeated through seven opponents, downing Austria’s Max Lechner twice; double hill in the hot seat match and 9-5 in the finals of the $4,000-added, 121-entrant 9-Ball tournament.

Left in the good-company dust (among others) were Austria’s Wiktor Zielinski, Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski, Germany’s Moritz Neuhausen, Finland’s Mika Immonen, Austria’s Mario He, Greece’s Alex Kazakis and Estonia’s Denis Grabe. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis finished the tournament with the distinction of having won the most consecutive matches, 10 of them on the loss side, before he was stopped by Lechner in the semifinals. Leading the American charge for the title was BJ Ussery, Jr., who finished 4th; an outstanding finish for the South/mid-Atlantic competitor. Also in the US lineup were local stalwarts Anthony Meglino, Donny Mills, Mike Delawder, Raymond Linares, Bobby Garza and 1992’s US Open 9-Ball Champion, Tommy Kennedy.

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic’s $5,000-added, 63-entrant 10-Ball Tournament was a different story. Same ending, just a different story. The 10-Ball battles preceded and overlapped the 9-Ball battles, so Yapp availed himself of the six-opponent practice opportunity, with an extra ball in the game, and went undefeated. He got by Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn and two Americans, George Saunders and Alan Rolon Rosado, to advance to the 16-player, single-elimination phase of the event. Yapp was joined in the winners’ side advancement by Wiktor Zielinski, Bosnia/Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovich, Dmitri Loukatos, Taipei’s Jung Lin Chan and Jeffrey DeLuna. BJ Ussery, Jr., who’d go on to finish fourth in the 9-Ball competition, advanced, as did Donny Mills. Joining them from the loss side were Adam Wheeler, Max Lechner, Pijus Labutis (who would not get the most consecutive win prize in this event), Jani Uski, Mika Immonen, Mario He, David Singleton and Denis Grabe.

Ussery would engage in the only double hill battle of the single-elimination’s first round, against Jani Uski, and it would knock him out of the 10-Ball competition. Three of the four quarterfinal matches went double hill; Immonen over Uski, Yapp over Labutis, and Grabe over Lechner. Zielinski downed Pehlivanovic 11-5.

Zielinski ‘iced’ the Iceman, allowing him only a single rack in one of the semifinal matches, while Yapp was a little busier, eliminating Grabe 11-7. Yapp claimed the 10-Ball title with a stingy 11-3 victory over Zielinski.

Indonesia’s Silviana Lu goes undefeated, winning 81% of her 37 games to claim Ladies title

In this, her first year as a cash-winning player in our AZBilliards database, Indonesia’s Silviana Lu has cashed in only two events. She finished in a tie for 5th place at the Asian Pool Federation’s 9-Ball Open, Women’s Division in August. A month later, she finished in the tie for 9th place at the WPBA’s Michigan Open. Her boyfriend, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp finished in the tie for 17th in the former event and won the latter.

She has recorded her first event victory with us as a result of going undefeated through a field of 27 entrants in the $1,000-added Ladies 9-Ball event. And she did so by defeating her six opponents with an 81% game-winning average (30-7), shutting out half of them and not allowing any of them to chalk up more than three against her; Nicolle Cuellar, who has Florida-area tour victories and cash finishes going back 10 years to the former Flamingo Tour.

Note to competitors looking to take advantage of the increased amount of money being offered at Scotch Doubles events across the country: In addition to the Fillers (Joshua and Pia) and the Fedor Gorst/Kristina Tkach pairing, you might want to watch out for the Yapp/Lu partnership.

Lu’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Marge Soash (0), Cuellar (3), Palmoa Santana (1) and Jessica Human (1) to arrive at the hot seat match versus Jennifer Berzinski to whom she gave up two racks to claim the seat. Adriana Villar, who lost her opening match to Cuellar and won eight on the loss side (shutting out three and surviving a double hill match against Helene Caukin), challenged Lu in the finals. Lu shut her out to claim the event title.

In addition to the 218 participants in the three events (with some duplication), tour representatives thanked title sponsor Meucci Cues, the ownership and staff at Rack’s for their hospitality, Outsville, JB Cases, Carlos Sanchez productions, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and Clutch Shot Billiards Apparel.

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Kennedy/Hunter go undefeated to win Open/Amateur divisions of 5th Annual Labor Day Classic

Rhyan Hunter and Ameet Kukadia

Capone’s 5th Labor Day Classic, held this past Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-4), is in the books and the undefeated winners are Tommy Kennedy in the $500-added Open event and Rhyan Hunter in the $1,000-added Amateur event, which was open to competitors with a Fargo Rate of 640 and under. Both events yielded full fields; 64 in the Amateur event and 16 in the Open event at Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

Hunter was the only player in the Amateur event having to give the entire field a single game on the wire, which wasn’t enough for anyone to come close to him. His precision shooting and heart gave him the victory in every match. He opened with a shutout over JT Russell and advanced through victories over Justin Logan 7-3, Justin Ward 7-3 and another shutout, versus Dan Mello, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Andy Crews. In the meantime, eventual runner-up Ameet Kukadia, slowly becoming a regular at Capone’s events, advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal versus (unrelated to Dan) Mike Mello, who was playing in his first event at Capone’s. 

Hunter defeated Crews 7-3, as Mike Mello sent Kukadia to the loss side 7-4. Hunter claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mello and waited on Kukadia’s return.

On the loss side, Kukadia drew Dan Mello, who’d survived a double hill match against Jamison Daniels and shut out Justin Logan to reach him. Crews picked up Justin McNulty, who’d also survived a double hill match, against Benji Estor, and came within a second straight double hill match, downing Litos Davila 6-4. 

Kukadia and McNulty advanced to the quarterfinals; Kukadia, 6-2 over Dan Mello and McNulty, 6-4 over Crews. Kukadia defeated McNulty in those quarterfinals 6-3 and then won his redemption match versus Mike Mello 6-2 in the semifinals.

To claim the title, Kukadia needed to win two matches against Hunter in the finals that followed. Hunter completed his undefeated run with a 7-2 win in the only set necessary.

Tommy Kennedy (File photo)

Kennedy weathers ‘challenge’ storms to go undefeated in Open event

The Open event had its share of past champions, including Jason Richko (2019) and Tony Crosby (2021). Not present was the Labor Day Classic’s 2020 Champion, Donny Mills, who was ‘laboring away’ at Turning Stone in New York state over the weekend. 

“He was doing damage up there,” said TD Carrie Vetrono, “and finished as runner-up. Congratulations to Donny.”

Tommy Kennedy was a former champion, as well (2019), and his undefeated run through the Classic made him the first competitor to have his ‘name up in lights’ as winner of the event, twice. It was not an easy journey for TK.

Of the five matches Kennedy played to claim the Labor Day Classic’s 2022 Open title, two went to double hill and two more came within a game of it. He opened with an 8-6 win over Marcus Murillo and a double hill win over Richard Broumpton, which set him up in a winners’ side semifinal against one of the former champions, Jason Richko. In the meantime, Lee Heuwagen and Tony Crosby were working their way to their meetup in the other winners’ side semifinal; Crosby arriving with a 16-3 aggregate score against Zee Zee Green (0) and Ross Webster (3), Heuwagen arriving with a 16-4 aggregate score against Bobby Jones (3) and Guy Jones (1). 

Kennedy got into the hot seat match 8-6 over Richko. Heuwagen joined him after a commanding 8-2 win over Crosby. TK grabbed the hot seat 8-4.

Crosby wanted the trophy and came back from the loss-side, knocking out Sandeep Swain 7-5, Ross Webster 7-1 in the quarterfinals and this time, victorious over Heuwagen in their semifinal rematch 7-5.

Kennedy and Crosby locked up in what was Kennedy’s second double hill match. After a long day of shooting, Crosby fell short, giving way in the 15th rack and handing Kennedy the title.

TD Carrie Vetrono thanked everyone that participated and helped make Capone’s 5th Annual Labor Day Classic the tournament that it was. 

“Without everyone’s help we could not do this,” she said. “Special thanks to Rocco-Rocky McElroy and his Capone’s staff for all they do, as well as Joel Vetrono and Anthony Fisher for helping send matches out on the amateur event.”

The next event at Capone’s, scheduled for the weekend of October 8-9, will be an Open Handicap event that will play out on the venue’s 9-foot tables. 

See y’all on the rail!

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Jayson Shaw Wins his Eighth Career Turning Stone Title

Jayson Shaw

The record for career Turning Stone Classic titles is now eight, and Jayson Shaw made number eight look easy.

Shaw cruised through the first three days of play with notable wins over Earl Strickland and Danny Hewitt on his way to Sunday play, still on the winners side. Shaw kicked off Sunday with a 9-3 win over regional player Jimmy Rivera, followed up with a 9-1 shellacking of Mika Immonen for the hot-seat.

On the one loss side, Donny Mills avenged his earlier loss to Immonen and eliminated the Finnish World Champion in 3rd place with a 9-6 scoreline in the semi-finals. 

The extended race to 13 final match between Shaw and Mills saw Mills take an early 1-0 lead, but it would not last long as Shaw won six straight racks to take a lead that he would not give up for the rest of the match. Mills fought back to a 6-4 scoreline, but Shaw then took control and won seven of the next eight racks for a 13-5 win and his eighth career Turning Stone Classic title. 

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Turning Stone Classic Final Four

Mika Immonen

The Turning Stone Classic XXXV is now down to just four players. Mika Immonen and Jayson Shaw will face off for the hot-seat, while Donny Mills takes on Bucky Souvanthong on the one loss side. 

The hot-seat match is an interesting contest, when you consider that Immonen won the first ever Turning Stone Classic 22 years ago, while Shaw won the last Turning Stone Classic back in January. Shaw will be trying to extend his record to eight Turning Stone Classic career titles, while Immonen is looking for his third. 

Mills dropped a match to Shaw on the winner’s side Sunday morning, but outlasted Jesse Engel on the one loss side to keep his tournament hopes alive. Souvanthong lost a one sided 9-1 match to Immonen on Saturday, but has won three matches so far on the left side of the board. 

Fans who can’t make it to Turning Stone can watch selected matches online as part of Upstate Al’s Free streaming coverage, and can watch online brackets and live scoring courtesy of AzBilliards and Digital Pool. 

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Turning Stone Classic Day Three Underway

Earl Strickland

Saturday play at the Turning Stone Classic XXXV is underway and the field has been cut in half from 128 players down to just 64 remaining players. Saturday play will cut that field down to just eight players. 

Most of the usual suspects who were expected to excel at this event have lived up to their expectations so far. Players still on the winners side include Shane Van Boening, Jayson Shaw, Mika Immonen, Earl Strickland, Jeremy Sossei, Donny Mills, Bucky Souvanthong, Kevin West and Danny Hewitt. Those players are going to start running into each other today, with Van Boening facing Sossei and Shaw playing Strickland at 2pm ET.

Fans who can’t make it to Turning Stone can watch selected matches online as part of Upstate Al’s Free streaming coverage, and can watch online brackets and live scoring courtesy of AzBilliards and Digital Pool. 

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Turning Stone Classic XXXV Underway

The Turning Stone Classic XXXV is underway at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, NY.

Jayson Shaw is back and looking to win a record 8th Turning Stone Classic title. He will have to get by Shane Van Boening, who is looking to match Shaw’s current record of seven Turning Stone titles. Other top players competing in this event include Earl Strickland, Mika Immonen, Jeremy Sossei, Donny Mills, Bucky Souvanthong, Danny Hewitt, Frankie Hernandez and Matt Krah.

Fan’s who can’t make it to Turning Stone can watch selected matches online as part of Upstate Al’s Free streaming coverage, and can watch online brackets and live scoring courtesy of AzBilliards and Digital Pool.

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Linares and Seaver Sisters Win in Bradenton

David Singleton, Raymond Linares and Lee Heuwagen

Livingston’s Billiards in Bradenton Florida was the place to be on July 23rd if you wanted to watch top level pool as the Sunshine State Predator Pro/Am Pool Tour held a 44 player open event as well as a 23 player open ladies event. 

When all of the balls had been pocketed early Sunday morning, it was Raymond Linares standing undefeated in the open event. Linares had wins over Juan Trevino, Dawson Kleist, Alec Saputo, Randal McLuckie and Desi Derado to get to the hot-seat match, where he had to face David Singleton. 

Singleton took advantage of a first round bye, and then defeated Joseph Holler, Justin McNulty, Will Smith and Donny Mills. 

Linares took the hot-seat with a 7-3 win over Singleton. 

On the one loss side, Lee Heuwagen was on a tear. Heuwagen had lost his first match of the day to Mike Mathieu 7-3, but wasn’t going to let that stop him. Heuwagen won six straight on the one loss side, without allowing an opponent to even get to the hill against him. That winning streak was only slowed down when Donny Mills got to hill-hill before Heuwagen sent him home in 4th place. Heuwagen then made quick work of Singleton in the semi-final match 5-1. 

The final match was an extended race to 9 that didn’t get started until early Sunday morning. Heuwagen looked to have things well under control as he raced to an early lead, but Linares fought back to win the match 9-7. 

Vanessa and Jeannie Seaver with Kimberly Housman

While the open event was crowning its champion, the Open Ladies Event came down to a sisterly split between Jeannie and Vanessa Seaver. Both players went undefeated until they faced each other for the hot-seat. Jeannie won that match 7-1, but Vanessa was right back in the finals after a 5-2 win over Kimberly Housman in the semi-finals. Instead of duking it out one more time in the finals, the Seaver sisters agreed to split first and second place. 

Tour operators sent out their thanks to Livingston Billiards owners Jesse and Teresa Marlow, as well as tour sponsors Predator Group, Kamui Brand, Diamond Billiard Products, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, Central Florida USA Pool League and Jamison Daniels. 

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Meglino/Mills at it again in Florida; Meglino, undefeated, wins Capone’s Firecracker Open

Anthony Meglino (Photo courtesy 1801 Photography)

Hale takes two out of three over Black (4th in Open event) to win concurrent Amateur event

The last time Anthony Meglino and Donny Mills met in the finals of an event, they did it twice. At the Stroker’s Spring Classic in March, Mills went undefeated, downing Meglino in the hot seat and final of a 9-Ball event on a Saturday, while Meglino came back from a hot seat loss to defeat Mills in the final of a 10-Ball event on Sunday. They almost met in the finals of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour’s dual tournaments during the tour’s 5th anniversary just ahead of the 4th of July in 2021. They met in the hot seat match, which Meglino won, but Kyle Bova (who’d already won the concurrent 9-ball event) defeated Mills in the semifinals to spoil the rematch. This past July 4th weekend, under the auspices of the Florida Pool Tour, they did it again, meeting in the hot seat and finals of Capone’s Firecracker Open. Going undefeated, Meglino won the $1,000-added 10-Ball event that drew 40 entrants to Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

In a concurrently-run, 650-and-under Fargo Amateur event, Gary Hale took two out of three over Ken Black (4th in the Open event) to claim that event title. The $500-added 9-ball event drew 64 entrants to the same location.

After an opening round bye in the Open event, Meglino faced what, score-wise, was his toughest opponent, Ross Webster, who put up a double hill fight to start the event balls rolling, so to speak. Meglino survived to down Nathan Rose and Raymond Linares, drawing Pedro Botta in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Mills, on the other hand, started his weekend off with a shutout over Matt Wooten and followed up by sending Will Smith and Lee Heuwagen to the loss side, drawing Trapper Croft in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Mills downed Croft 7-2 as Meglino was sending Botta west 7-5. Meglino claimed the hot seat 7-5, as well.

On the loss side, Croft drew a rematch against Ken Black, whom he’d defeated in the opening round of play and was on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would end in the quarterfinals. He’d recently eliminated Dale Stanley, double hill and Linares 5-1. Botta picked up Heuwagen, who’d followed his winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Mills with victories over Justin Hall, double hill, and Frankie Bourgeois.

Heuwagen defeated Botta 5-2 and in the quarterfinals, faced Black, who’d sent Croft home 5-2. Heuwagen ended Black’s loss-side journey with a shutout in those quarterfinals, but in spite of putting up a double hill fight, had his loss-side journey terminated at three by Mills in the semifinals. Meglino put an end to Mills’ even-shorter loss-side run with a 9-2 victory in the finals.

Finalists in Amateur event battle for second (recorded) cash finish anywhere

For the winner, Gary Hale, it was his first (recorded with us at AZ) win anywhere and only his second recorded cash finish since placing 13th at a stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour in March of last year. Runner-up Ken Black was looking for his best (again, recorded with us) finish anywhere, since he’d finished 5th at a stop on the Planet Pool Tour in Virginia, 16 years ago. 

Beyond the standard courtesy of a ‘Welcome Back’ from fellow members of the Florida pool community, the 62 other entrants in the field were likely not too thrilled with their results on this particular weekend. They played against each other three times; hot seat and double elimination final. Hale won the first and third to claim the Amateur title.

Hale downed four opponents to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match versus Aay Kay, while Black chalked up four on his end of the bracket, including two, double hill wins (versus Louie Black in the opening round and Anthony Fisher in a winners’ side quarterfinal) to meet up with Adam Fear in the other one. Kay put up a double hill fight, but it was Hale who advanced to the hot seat match to meet Black, who’d defeated Fear 7-4. Hale sent Kay to the loss side 7-5 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Fear picked up Charles Marable, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Hale and then, defeated Ryan Kuhlman 6-3 and Joel Vetrono, double hill. Kay drew Casey Grove, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Joe Gnapp 6-1 and Anthony Fisher by shutout.

Kay and Grove locked up in a double hill battle that did eventually send Kay to the quarterfinals, where he was joined by Marable, who’d defeated Fear 6-1. Kay downed Mirable 6-3 in those quarterfinals. Kay and Black were both fighting for a second chance versus Hale, waiting for one of them in the hot seat. Black took the semifinal 6-4.

Black went on to take the opening set of the finals 7-3. In an entertaining last match for all the proverbial marbles, they battled to double hill in the second set before Hale claimed his first (recorded) event title.

Florida Pool Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Capone’s for hosting the Firecracker Open and Amateur events on the 4th of July weekend, as well as all of the competitors who participated. The Florida Pool Tour will hold the Stroker’s Master’s Open Championship, to be hosted by Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL on the weekend of August 20-21.

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Corteza and Woodward Post Early Wins on Predator World 10-Ball Championship Opening Day

Skyler Woodward

Lee Vann Corteza has quietly gotten off to a rather solid start to the 2022 professional pool season – a trait that isn’t new recently for the 42-year-old.

The Filipino, who was a runner-up at the 2009 World 10-Ball Championship, has earned $31,000 in prize money this year thanks to top five finishes at the Wisconsin Open and Alfa Las Vegas Open and placed fourth in the Texas Open 10-Ball Championship. Prior to the pandemic shutdown in 2020, Corteza had already earned $26,000 in two months thanks to winning the 9-ball division and finishing second in the BigFoot division at the Derby City Classic.

Monday, on the opening day of the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, Corteza once again got off to a hot start by winning his first two matches, including an 8-4 victory against reigning World Pool champion Albin Ouschan. The Filipino overcame some early breaking struggles by capitalizing on a handful of opportunities left by his opponent to seal the victory at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Corteza will now face 2015 World 10-Ball Champion Pin-Yi Ko on Wednesday afternoon.

Using an early break-and-run along with some safety play mixed in, Corteza grabbed an early 3-1 but the Austrian took advantage of a pair of dry breaks by his opponent to tie the score at three games each. After splitting the next two games, Ouschan had the opportunity to take the lead but over-cut the 6 ball. The Filipino cleared the table to regain the lead, then tacked on another rack when his opponent fouled while attempting a jump shot. Now trailing by two games, Ouschan had an opportunity to pull within a single game but missed a 4 ball in the corner pocket.

Trailing 7-4, the Austrian had one last chance to mount a comeback in the 12th game, but instead executed a sequence which basically summed up his match. After Corteza missed the 2 ball and left it on the long rail, Ouschan cut the ball into the corner pocket, then jumped in the 3 ball only to watch the cue ball scratch into the side pocket, handing the table and the match to Corteza.

The final match of the night put a capper on a day where one competitor would jump out to an early lead only to have their opponent catch up in the second half of the match – including Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Thorsten Hohmann, who came back from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Ping-Han Ko.

Hohmann used a pair of victorious safety exchanges to whittle away at Ko’s advantage until the two players were tied after 12 racks. The young man from Chinese Taipei had a chance to increase his lead but left the cue ball straight in line with the 6 ball along the rail with the 7 ball on the opposite side of the table. He was unable to move the cue ball to the other side of the table after pocketing the 6, then missed a sharp cut on the next shot. Hohmann cleared the table to regain the lead, then took advantage of a victorious safety exchange to snatch the set, 8-6.

Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz would experience a similar fate in the next match, building an early 5-2 advantage against Jeremy Seaman until a couple of unforced errors allowed the American to tie the match 5-5. Working his way through the rack in the 11th game, Seaman appeared positioned to take the lead but instead drew the cue ball into the side pocket while trying to secure position on the 5 ball. Sanchez Ruiz took full advantage, clearing the table then using a missed shot by Seaman and a victorious safety on the 4 ball in the 13th game to pull out an 8-5 victory.

Earlier in the day, Skyler Woodward built a 5-1 lead against Niels Feijen only to watch the former World 9-Ball Champion also claw back and tie the match 5-5. Feijen struggled to get the rolls down the stretch, failing to pocket a ball on the break in the 11th game and scratching during the 13th rack, as Woodward held off the late charge to win, 8-6.

The opening day wasn’t particularly charitable to competitors who gained automatic entry to the championship by winning U.S. Pro Billiard Series events, with Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp falling to Donny Mills in the opening round, 8-3, and Ohio Open winner Mario He falling to Jeremy Sossei by the same score. Both now move to the one-loss side of the bracket, with Yapp meeting Evan Lunda Tuesday evening and He taking on Melish Dagas Tuesday afternoon.

The second day of play resumes at 10 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Mika Immonen meeting Corey Deuel, Alex Kazakis facing off against Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan and Derby City Classic 9-ball champion Francisco Sanchez Ruiz matching up with 2020 Diamond Las Vegas Open champion Jung-Lin Chang.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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In celebration of its 5th anniversary, Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour hosts double events

Randall McLuckie, Che Mvros and Kyle Bova

Bova goes undefeated in Amateur 9-Ball and is runner-up in Open 10-Ball, won by Meglino 

By any measure, the last five years have been tumultuous, no matter what your politics or job or your Fargo rate as a pool player. Five years ago, apparently not engaged enough with a full-time job as an office manager for a dentist and having run the USA Pool League franchise in Central Florida for about four years, Janene Phillips established the Sunshine State Pro/Am Pool Tour.

Initially designed for Amateur 8-Ball events and restricted to Central Florida, the tour organized six stops in its 2016 debut year. There were 10 stops in 2017 and they’d picked up some sponsors. There were 12 stops in 2018, by which time the tour was playing host to 300 different pro and amateur players. By 2019, they’d found themselves a title sponsor, became the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Pool Tour and were able to offer incentives for Player, Junior and Lady of the Year awards.

And then . . . well, we all know how 2020 went, pretty much for everybody. . . the year that wasn’t, so to speak.

“We survived COVID,” wrote Phillips on the tour’s Web site, “and our tour managed to have seven stops, including a One Pocket event and a Ladies Only Open event.”

This year, its fifth, they’ve got 14 events scheduled, and along the way, have begun dual events in places that can accommodate them, as well as special, ‘no tour-point’ events like their “575 and under Fargo rate” events, which, according to Phillips, “sell out within 48 hours.”

So, overall, while it’s been as tumultuous for the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Pool Tour as it has been for the general populace, Phillips and her tour partner, Bobby Garza are not complaining. Garza joined the tour in its first season, is responsible for providing the streaming services that the tour utilizes and was instrumental in attaining the title sponsorship of Predator Cues (and, one would be remiss in failing to add, is a good pool player, too).

“Honestly,” said Phillips, “I’m happy with the position we’re in.”

“We’ve had goals since the beginning,” she added, “and the only one we haven’t hit was to have a large, added-money Pro event. I still have it on the list, though.”

This past weekend, at Brewlands Carrollwood in Tampa, FL, the tour celebrated its 5th anniversary by holding one of its ‘dual events.’ They held a $1,000-added ($500 from Brewlands and $500 from a Predator raffle) Amateur 9-Ball event that drew 64 entrants and an $800-added ($400 from Brewlands and $400 from the Central Florida USA Pool League) Open 10-Ball event that drew 32 entrants. The two winners – Kyle Bova in the 9-Ball event and Anthony Meglino in the 10-Ball event – went undefeated to claim the tour’s 5th anniversary title.

Kyle Bova, who came into the Amateur 9-Ball event, having already finished as the runner-up in the concurrently-run 10-Ball Open event, went undefeated through the 64-entrant field. His opponents chalked up an average, few-percentage-points-above three racks against him throughout the tournament. With four notches on his match-belt, of the six he needed to win, he faced Joselito Martinez in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Randall McLuckie and Che Mvros, who’d end up being Bova’s last two opponents, squared off in the other one.

Bova downed Martinez 7-4, as McLuckie was busy surviving a double fight against Mvros. Bova claimed the hot seat 7-2 over McLuckie and awaited the return of McLuckie.

On the loss side, Mvros picked up Jomax Garcia, who eliminated Dale Stanley and Jerry Arvelaez to reach him. Martinez drew Desi Derado, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side streak which had recently knocked out Edward Porter and Serafin Serrano. By the same 7-3 score, Mvros defeated Garcia and Martinez downed Derado.

Mvros took the quarterfinal over Martinez 6-3 and, in his rematch versus McLuckie in the semifinals, wreaked his vengeance 7-4 for a place in the finals. Bova, though, completed his undefeated run with a 9-4 victory over Mvros. 

Donny Mills, Anthony Meglino and Kyle Bova

Meglino chalks up second Open win on the tour, Bova is runner-up

Back in April, Anthony Meglino came from winning a single, semifinal match on the loss side to defeat Bobby Emmons in the final of one of the tour’s Open event, held in conjunction with one of its “Fargo-rate-defined” events; in that case, it was 600 and under. This time, the Open 10-Ball event which drew Meglino was in conjunction with the Amateur event detailed above and this time, Meglino went undefeated to claim the title. Kyle Bova, finished as runner-up, and went on to win the 9-ball event. 

Meglino faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one; Donny Mills in the hot seat match and in their second match, Bova in the finals. Meglino, whose opponents averaged between two and three racks against him throughout the tournament, advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Bova, as Mills was battling Tommy Kennedy.

Mills downed Kennedy 7-4. Meglino sent Bova to the loss side 7-2. Meglino gave up only a single rack to claim the hot seat and wait in it for Bova’s return.

On the loss side, Bova picked up Mike Delawder, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Tommy Kennedy and subsequently defeated Carlos Gomez 5-2 and Alec Saputo 7-2. Kennedy drew Joselito Martinez, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Derrick Santos, double hill, and Anthony Fisher 7-2. 

Bova downed Delawder 7-5, as Martinez dropped Kennedy 7-3. Bova ended Martinez’ streak in the subsequent quarterfinals 7-4. Bova defeated Mills in the semifinals 7-4 for a shot at Meglino, waiting for him in the hot seat. Meglino completed his undefeated run with a 9-5 victory over Bova in the 10-Ball Open finals.

The thanks of Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza extended this past weekend to include all who had come within their sphere of influence over the past five years. As usual, they thanked the ownership (Larry Wathal) and staff at this weekend’s venue, Brewlands Carrollwood, for their hospitality and noted the title sponsorship of Predator Cues. They also thanked sponsors Kamui, AZBilliards, Diamond Products, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, and the Central Florida USA Pool League. Phillips thanked Bobby Garza for his since-the-beginning support and for this past weekend’s stream with fellow commentator Jimmy Antonietta. They gave further thanks to Nicolle Cuellar for her assistance and to Dain Cirilo, and Nick and Gia Fiore for their assistance with the raffles.

“Most of all,” they said (together, in two-part harmony, with feeling), “we want to send our love and appreciation out to all of the players and spectators for coming out and supporting our tour and celebrating 5 years with us!!”

The next stop on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of July 31-August 1, will be hosted by Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL.