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Atencio goes undefeated to claim storm-affected, 3rd Annual Carolina Cup

Jesus Atencio

It was, according to Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour director, Herman Parker, “just a mess.”

Though Hurricane Ian had passed Gastonia, NC the day before the 3rd Annual Carolina Cup was scheduled to begin on Saturday, Oct. 1, long-distance travelling issues, initiated on Friday, while Ian was still active and wreaking havoc in its path, affected attendance, normally (over its previous two years) fielding numbers in the 70s, but this year drawing only 46 entrants to the $1,000-added, Open event, hosted by The Rock House in Gastonia, the Cup’s first appearance in North Carolina.

As one potential participant was preparing to leave, with six other entrants in a mini-van that was pulling out of the owner’s driveway, a tree fell on top of the driver’s house. It had a way of changing plans for all seven of the van’s occupants at the time.

“It wasn’t a huge turnout,” said Parker, “but it was a strong one.”

Headed up by Jesus Atencio, winner of the first Ron Park Memorial at the same location, who went undefeated through this field to claim the 3rd Annual Carolina Cup title, previously won by Josh Roberts and Brian White, neither of whom were able to attend the 2022 event.

In addition to a normal core of Q City 9-Ball veterans like Billy Fowler, Brian Francis, Stevie McClinton and Thomas Sansone, the event also played host to a pair of brothers, who’ve returned to the tables after a rather long absence and are slowly but surely getting themselves back into high-competitive shape with each of their appearances on the tour. Adam Pendley ended as runner-up to Atencio. His brother, Marcus, making his first appearance in a long time, lost his second match to Mike Bumgarner and won five on the loss side to get into the first money round before Bumgarner defeated him a second time.

Adam Pendley and Atencio advanced through the field to arrive at winners’ side semifinals against Sansone and Eddie Wahdan, respectively. Atencio and Pendley battled through to the hot seat match, defeating Wahdan 7-4 and Sansone 7-5. Atencio claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Pendley and waited on his return, which, after polling the 12 players remaining as to whether they wished to tough it out or return on Sunday, occurred at approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. 

On the loss side, Sansone picked up Bumgarner, who’d defeated Manik Suri, double hill and for the second time, Marcus Pendley to reach him. Wahdan drew Clint Clark, who’d recently eliminated Billy Fowler, double hill and Brian Francis, almost double hill 6-4.

Wahdan downed Clark 6-4 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Bumgarner, who’d sent Sansone home (relatively) early 6-1. Bumgarner and Wahdan locked up in a double hill fight that did eventually send Bumgarner to the semifinals against Adam Pendley.

Pendley got his second shot at Atencio in the hot seat with a 6-2 win over Bumgarner in those semifinals. Needing to win twice to claim the title, Pendley fell to Atencio in the only set necessary, allowing Atencio to become the third different competitor to claim the Carolina Cup title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at The Rock House, along with title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC),, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, 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 (Oct. 8-9), will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Action Billiards in Inman, SC.

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McGee goes undefeated to claim single-day tourney on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Larry McGee and Chris Cricket, according to information available to us, went looking for their first regional tour victory at last weekend’s one-day tournament on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour (Saturday, Jan. 22). McGee found it and Chris Cricket, who won seven matches on the loss side for the ‘finals’ chance to find it, finished as runner-up. The $500-added event drew 41 entrants to Overtime Billiards in Columbia, SC.

They met twice in this event. The first time was in the third round of play, when they battled to double hill before McGee prevailed, eventually advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Larry David. Robbie Shelley and Eddie Wahdan faced off in the other one.

McGee downed David 6-1 and was joined in the hot seat match by Shelley, who’d sent Wahdan to the loss side 8-4. David, Wahdan and eventually, McGee would all face Cricket before it was over. McGee claimed the hot seat, double hill, over Shelley and waited for Cricket to complete his loss-side run.

Cricket was four matches into that run when he drew David in the first money round. Cricket had most recently eliminated Chris McCutcheon, double hill, and Anthony Rock 7-3. Wahdan picked up Marty Free, who’d defeated Joe Kelly 8-1 and Benny Walters 8-4 to reach him.

Wahdan and Free battled to double hill before Whadan prevailed. Cricket defeated David 7-3 to join Wahdan in the quarterfinals.

Cricket and Wahdan, in a straight-up race to 7 in those quarterfinals, battled to double hill, as well, with Cricket advancing to the semifinals, his seventh loss-side match. He won it over Shelley 7-5 to earn his shot against McGee in the finals. Early on Sunday morning, around 3 a.m., according to tour director Herman Parker, McGee completed the undefeated run to his first regional tour victory with a 6-3 win over Cricket in those finals.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Overtime Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat,, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Jan. 29-30), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

Roberts chalks up first 2021 event title on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Josh Roberts

Josh Roberts was among a fairly sizeable contingent of pool players who managed to stay active during the forced 2020 break, initiated by the pandemic. He cashed in 13 events last year, including an undefeated victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, in the 1st Annual Carolina Cup in October. He finished as runner-up at another stop on the Q City tour and the 2020 Scotty Townsend Memorial, and made appearances, as well, at the Music City Classic, Derby City, the 10th Texas Open 10-Ball Championship and the 47th Texas Open 9-Ball Championship.

He’s cashed in four events so far in 2021 (two of them, One Pocket tournaments) and has been in good company. He finished fourth behind Fedor Gorst, Jesus Atencio and Jeffrey De Luna at the Rack ‘N Grill 9-Ball Shootout in Augusta, GA in February, and fourth behind Dennis Orcollo, Warren Kiamco and Scott Frost at the Iron City Open’s One Pocket Division in Birmingham, AL a month later. The latest entry on his AZBilliards’ resume, which dates back to 2007, came this past weekend (May 15-16) when he joined 31 competitors who signed on for the Q City 9-Ball’s $3,000-added Stroker’s Classic at Stroker’s Billiards in Sumter, SC. Roberts went undefeated through the Open field to claim his first 2021 title.

Roberts would face separate challenges in the hot seat and finals of this Stroker’s Classic; Robbie Shelley in the former and Wendell Thompkins in the latter. Thompkins, sent to the loss side by Shelley in the second round, would win six on the loss side to earn a rematch against Shelley in the semifinals and then, challenge Roberts in the finals. 

After sending Thompkins to the loss side, Shelley advanced to face Allen Mixon in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Josh Roberts met up with Josh Heeter in the other one. Shelley downed Mixon 11-8, as Roberts advanced to join him in the hot seat match, with an 11-6 win over Heeter. Roberts claimed the hot seat 11-9.

On the loss side, Thompkins was four matches into his loss-side winning streak, when he picked up Mixon. Thompkins had most recently chalked up wins #3 & #4 against Russell Scott 9-5 and junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth 9-4. Heeter drew Eddie Wahdan, who’d eliminated Shane Wilson 9-6 and PJ Stabler 9-4 to reach him.

Thompkins and Wahdan handed Mixon and Heeter their second straight loss; Thompkins, 9-6 over Mixon and Wahdan, 9-3 over Heeter. Loss-side opponents were starting to gain a little on Thompkins, though not quite enough. Wahdan continued the trend into the quarterfinals, chalking up seven against him, before Thompkins won his 6th loss-side match.

Shelley, in the semifinals rematch that followed, fought him to double hill before Thompkins prevailed. Roberts, in the true double elimination finals, kept it going, by winning the first and only set 11-6 to claim the event title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Strokers, as well as title sponsor  Viking Cues,, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., AZBilliards, Federal Savings Bank mortgage division and Diamond Brat. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this coming weekend (May 22-23), will be a $500-added event ($1,000, with 64+ entrants), hosted by Payton’s Place in Knoxville, TN.