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Zippler wins first Action Pool Tour event at season opener; Malm takes Ladies title

Tom Zippler

The Action Pool Tour opened its 2017 season at the Magic 8 Cue Club in Cockeysville, MD on the weekend of Jan. 14-15. It featured the first of a season-long series of ladies tournaments, a new rule governing the calculations for rankings (lowest event score, previously eliminated from calculations, now counted in rankings), and, in the persons of Tom Zippler and Tina Malm, new visitors to the tour's winners' circle. The 40-entrant Open event saw Zippler return from a loss in the hot seat match to defeat its occupant, Brett Stottlemyer, in the finals. In the 7-entrant ladies tournament, Tina Malm did the same thing, downing Lai Li in the finals.
Zippler's trip to the finals went through Steve Fleming, Phillip LaPorta, Justin Powers and the eventual winner of the Ladies tournament, Tina Malm, before coming up against Andy Lincoln in a winners' side semifinal. Stottlemyer defeated Mike Slagle, and Bill Woods before almost having his winners' side run derailed by Dave Hunt in a double hill fight. Stottlemyer moved on, though, to defeat Doug Hornsby, before meeting up with Clint Clayton in the other winners' side semifinal.
A 7-4 victory by Zippler over Lincoln and a 7-3 win by Stottlemyer over Clayton set the two up for their first of two in the hot seat match. It came within a game of double hill, with Stottlemyer winning 7-5 to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Clayton picked up Malm, who, following her defeat at the hands of Zippler, had defeated Garrett Waechter 6-3 and Will Moon 6-4. Lincoln drew Trevor Dentz, who'd squeaked by Doug Hornsby 6-5, and defeated Tom Helmstetter 6-2. Lincoln and Malm advanced to the quarterfinals; Lincoln 6-4 over Dentz and Malm, with a shutout over Clayton. 
There were a couple of "ifs" on the line in the quarterfinal match that followed. If Malm had defeated Lincoln, she'd have guaranteed herself more prize money in the Open match than she eventually earned winning the Ladies tournament. In addition, if Malm had gone on to face Zippler in a re-match, she might have fared better than Lincoln did in his re-match against Zippler. Lincoln and Malm went double hill in that quarterfinal match before Lincoln advanced. Lincoln was then shut out by Zippler in the semifinal.
One can only surmise that the APT veteran Stottlemyer lost a degree of momentum in waiting for the potential newcomer to the winners' circle (Zippler's) return. In any case, Zippler took the final match 9-5 over Stottlemyer to claim the APT season opener title.
Tina Malm claimed the Ladies title with a 4-1 record. She downed Judie Wilson 6-2, and just did get by Kia Sidbury, double hill, in a winners' side semifinal, before being defeated by Lai Li, double hill, in the hot seat match. Li had won her two opening matches 6-2, against Jenny Acot and Terri Stovall (in the other winners' side semifinal), before winning the double hill hot seat match against Malm. 
On the loss side, Nicole Fleming, after losing her opening match to Sidbury, got by Judie Wilson, and Terri Stovall, to earn herself a re-match against Sidbury in the quarterfinals. Fleming successfully wreaked her vengeance on Sidbury 6-1 to face Malm in the semifinals. Malm downed her 6-3 to get her second shot at Li in the hot seat. Again, one can only surmise that the downtime between hot seat match and finals had its effect on Li. The result was an 8-2 victory by Malm, which earned her the first ladies title of the APT season.

Morooka and Hall split top prizes on the Q City 9-Ball Tour

Yuta Morooka, a top-ranked (#26) player in Japan, signed on to compete in the Q City 9-Ball Tour on Saturday, July 9. Morooka advanced to the hot seat, after defeating James Blackburn and was to have faced Blackburn again in the finals. The two opted out of a final match, leaving Morooka as the official, undefeated winner. The event drew 39 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
After defeating Scott Roberts 8-4 in a winners' side semifinal, Morooka faced James Blackburn in the hot seat match. Blackburn had sent Colin Hall to the loss side 9-3 in the other winners' side semifinal. Morooka won his last match, claiming the hot seat 8-7 over Blackburn (Blackburn racing to 9).
On the loss side, Hall picked up Terry Ringgold, who'd defeated Paul Swinson 4-3 (Swinson racing to 7) and Delton Hairfield, double hill (4-6). Roberts drew Doug Hornsby, who'd eliminated David Hairfield (brother to Delton) and Terry Ringgold's son, J.T. Ringgold, both 7-6.
Hall shut the elder Ringgold out, as Hornsby downed Roberts 7-4. Hall took the quarterfinal match 6-3 over Hornsby, and was then defeated in the final match of the night, falling to Blackburn, double hill (9-5).  Morooka and Blackburn chose not to play the final match, and Morooka claimed the event title.
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Diamond Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, and Delta-13 racks. The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of July 16-17, will be the North Carolina State 10-Ball Championship. The $1,000-added Open event will be hosted by The Brass Tap in Raleigh, NC.

Moore comes from the loss side to take down Wilkie in the Action Pool Tour hot seat

In the absence of Brandon Shuff, who sits atop the Action Pool Tour's leaderboard, the next three players on that board finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on the tour's sixth stop, held on the weekend of June 18-19 (third-place finisher, Kenny Miller, advanced to that third spot as a result of his finish). Eric Moore, winner of the Virginia State 10-Ball Championships in February, chalked up his second victory on the 2016 tour, coming from the loss-side to defeat Shaun Wilkie, who'd sent him there. The event drew 46 entrants to Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
Moore and Wilkie clashed first in a winners' side semifinal. Moore had advanced through four opponents, allowing each of them an average of two racks against him; 1,1, 2 & 4, against Bill Duggan, Kia Sidbury, Bill Woods and Tuan Chau. Wilkie, after an opening round bye, had faced three opponents and allowed just a slightly higher, percentage point average; 1, 4, & 5, against Rob Gager, Nathan Childress, and Joey Mastermaker. As Moore and Wilkie battled, Kenny Miller and David Stanley squared off in the other winners' side semifinal.
Wilkie took the first of his two against Moore 9-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Miller, who'd sent Stanley to the loss side 9-2. Miller proved to be Wilkie's toughest challenge (to that point), chalking up six racks against him, but when the dust settled, Wilkie was in the hot seat, and Miller was on his way to the semifinals.
On the loss side, David Stanley ran into a formidable opponent in Taylor Burleson, who'd been defeated in the opening round of play, and then won six on the loss side, including a double hill win over Joey Mastermaker, and a 7-1 victory over Tuan Chau. Moore drew Chris Bruner, who'd been defeated by Miller in a winners' side quarterfinal, and then, on the loss side, eliminated Paul Oh 7-3 and Doug Hornsby 7-2.
Moore and Burleson gave up one rack between them versus Bruner and Stanley (Bruner chalked up the one against Moore). Moore then ended Burleson's strong, loss-side campaign at seven wins, with a 7-1 victory in the quarterfinals. 
In the semifinals, Moore chalked up a second straight 7-1 victory that denied Miller a second shot at Wilkie in the hot seat. Moore, though, got his second chance against Wilkie, and took full advantage. He became Wilkie's toughest opponent in the tournament, defeating him 11-9 in the finals to claim the event title. 

Wilkie downs Shuff twice to win Stop #5 on the Action Pool Tour

Shaun Wilkie

Shaun Wilkie and Brandon Shuff were back at it on the weekend of May 14-15, battling for ranking supremacy on the Action Pool Tour. They, along with Eric Moore (the tour's top three-ranked players), had missed the tour's fourth stop in April, but all were on hand for this latest stop and all finishing among the top four. Wilkie went undefeated, downing Shuff twice – in the hot seat and finals – to claim the title. Reymart Lim kept Eric Moore from a third place finish. The event drew 43 entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA.
In the early rounds (first through third), Wilkie was sending opponents to the loss side by an average score of  7-1 (7-0, 7-1, 7-2). In a winners' side quarterfinal, Reymart Lim chalked up four against him, but Wilkie advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Eric Moore. Shuff, in the meantime, had two relatively easy opening rounds (7-0, 7-1), but ran into a Battling Benji (no last name indicated), who forced a case game, won by Shuff, who advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Greg Sabins.
Shuff sent Sabins to the loss side 7-3, as Wilkie was downing Moore 7-2. In the hot seat match that followed, Shuff, like Lim before him, managed four racks against Wilkie, but moved to the semifinals. 
On the loss side, Sabins picked up Lim, who'd gotten by Chris Futrell 6-3 and survived a double hill battle versus RJ Carmona. Moore drew Dave Hunt, who'd eliminated Doug Hornsby, double hill and defeated Kenny Miller 6-3.
Moore and Lim advanced to the quarterfinals, both 6-2, over Hunt and Sabins, respectively. Lim edged Moore out of advancement with a double hill win in those quarterfinals, before himself being eliminated 6-4 by Shuff.
In something of a Virginia-centric Clash of Titans, Wilkie and Shuff went at it again, competing not only for the event title, but for the top spot in the tour rankings, which, at the end of the tour season, could earn the top player roundtrip plane fare, hotel and free entry into all three divisions of the US Bar Table Championships in Las Vegas (the #2-ranked player earns the same, less the roundtrip airfare). Wilkie completed his undefeated run with a 9-6 victory over Shuff. At this midway point in the APT season (five down, five to go), Shuff remains at the top of the rankings list, with Eric Moore (who defeated Shuff in the finals of stop #2) behind him. Wilkie, who's currently among the top 10 competitors in the rankings race for inclusion on the Mosconi Cup's USA team, is in third place in the APT rankings.