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Earl the Pearl tops Friday night battles in the Diamond Open 9-Ball Players Championship

Earl Strickland

Fishers still alive in the WPBA 9-Ball Pro Players Championship. 

He’d played twice already. On Friday night at 9:30, Earl Strickland stepped to the tables of the Super Billiards Expo’s arena in search of his second win in the Diamond Open 9-Ball Professional Players Championship. On Thursday, after a bye, he’d lost his opening match, double hill, to Alan Rolon Rosada and at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, downed Tyler Henninger 9-6. Both matches were very lightly attended. Modest crowds, dotting the three-level risers to either side of the 16 tables, laid end to end, side by side.

Friday night, though, was different. This was weekend-is-here Earl the Pearl time. And he got himself an audience. While there were certainly people in the crowd of some 200 or so spectators who were itching to see a show; not a pool show necessarily, but an Earl show, as only he can bring it. Instead, they got the professional ‘Earl’s here to win’ show, full of rock-solid shooting that saw him take control of a 2-2 match and win six in a row before some of the audience had even settled in. People (though not many) started leaving, like baseball fans leaving a stadium when the score is 12-0 in the seventh inning, wanting to get ahead of the traffic jam. Those who remained were switching their attention between what was left of Earl’s match and what was going on at the tables on either side of him (Shannelle Lorraine and Ada Lio were playing south of him, while Jesus Atencio and Mason Koch were battling it out north of him). 

Gomez managed to chalk up three racks and the remaining crowd went wild. Very quietly and not for long.

Earl finished off Gomez, quickly, only giving up one more rack and moved to the lobby outside the arena where folks gathered around the hand-written brackets to see who was coming up against who in today’s (Saturday) matches. Earl was scheduled to play Bart Czapla at noon, in a match that will determine whether he advances to the 16-player, single elimination phase of the event. The first round of that phase will play out at 6 p.m.

Earl was among those looking to see what was coming up next, and he took the opportunity to play to the audience that had been relatively quiet during his win over Gomez. They were lined up two or three deep around him, cameras at the ready, as he gave them a genteel comedian to play with. Standing for one shot with a broad grin on his face, he said that the woman to his left was prettier than he was, riffing on this to talk about his sagging limbs and a “face that looked like a truck hit me and then backed up.” Manifestly not true, but it got a laugh. He embellished on that central joke for a while before moving on to chat with spectators who’d obviously been paying strict attention to his match as it played out; questions and comments about shot situations and potential solutions, back and forth.

Jayson Shaw, still on the winners’ side of the bracket, looking to advance to the final 16 today, as well (2:30 p.m. against Billy Thorpe), joined the throng gathered around him and it took about two seconds for them to launch into a discussion about the tables and how they ‘played’ in a given match.

“I hit this shot,” said Shaw at one point, “that went into the hole and bounced out. The cue ball jumped up onto the rail, travelled all the way down table, jumping over the side pocket and then went back on the table, giving me a straight shot at the 4-ball.”

Lives of the legends playing out in one of their homes away from home.

There’ll be 32 competitors in the Players Championship facing advancement to pool’s version of the Sweet 16 today. Among those 32, on the winners’ side of the bracket, will be Thorsten Hohmann, Warren Kiamco, Ralf Souquet, Fedor Gorst, Darren Appleton and Shane Wolford.  In addition to Strickland, other loss-side competitors looking to make the cut and who’ll have to play two rounds to do it (or not), will be Danny Olson, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Joe Dupuis, Landon Hollingsworth, BJ Ussery, Jr. and Bucky Souvanthong. As of noon today, the potential for Strickland to face Rosado a second time remained alive, as Rosado stepped to the tables, looking for advancement beyond Eric Roberts.

The two Fishers continue to play for advancement to the final 16 of the WPBA Pro Players event 

Competition at the WPBA 9-Ball Pro Players Championship will dominate the afternoon schedule at the pro player arena. All 16 women who step to the tables at 2:30 p.m. today, haven’t played a match since Thursday; half of them on Thursday afternoon and the other half on Thursday night.

On Friday afternoon, the Fishers, Allison and Kelly, squared off in a game of 8-ball that was not part of the official proceedings and did not involve cue sticks, felt cloth or actual pockets. Instead, they settled into another kind of table to play an 8-Ball Pool Board Game that’s on display and being pre-sold (prior to publication) to attendees at the SBE from a vendor booth surrounded by cue manufacturers. Kelly is acting as the game’s Brand Ambassador and has been at the booth where it’s being demonstrated a number of times, playing against, among others, Darren Appleton, who reportedly broke and ran the first game of it he played. 

While the game doesn’t employ any of pool’s tactile qualities with cues or aiming skills (there are basically no missed shots if you’ve lined up the cue and target properly), it does manage to offer a degree of strategy and tactics, very similar to the kinds of decision-making involved in the actual game of 8-ball. There are opportunities for bank shots (played out on strict horizontal/vertical target paths) safety play and you can scratch, for example, all of which plays out in ways unique to the board game.   

Though new to the game, Allison won the single game against Kelly. They could play a real game of 9-ball against each other before the end of the women’s tournament, but only, for starters, if both of them advance to the event’s final 16. Kelly, who’s only played a single match so far, defeating Jessica Barnes on Thursday night, was to play Liz Taylor at 2:30 today and if successful, would play the winner of an Ashley Burrows/Emily Duddy match in the opening round of the single-elimination phase at 8:30 p.m. Allison, who played two women from the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) on Thursday (Judie Wilson and Kathy Friend) will be facing Angela Janic at 2:30 and if successful, will also play at 8:30, against the winner of a Monica Webb/Kim Newsome match (check the SBE Web site for streaming options).

Other competitors, still on the winners’ side of the bracket, looking for a slot among the final 16 women, include Emilyn Callado, Brittany Bryant, Caroline Pao and LoreeJon Brown. On the loss-side of the bracket, at noon today, also looking for advancement to the final 16, will be,  among others, Janet Atwell, Jennifer Baretta, and both Kia Burwell and Judie Wilson, representing the JPNEWT. Matches at 6 p.m. on the loss-side of the bracket will determine the eight loss-side competitors among the Sweet 16.

Super Seniors get underway, as Amateur Ladies, Seniors continue, with Juniors in the wings 

The original Super Seniors tournament, with long lines hoping for a waiting-list entry, gathered early this morning, while the 996-entrant Open Amateur event looked to enter its Final 16 phase at 1 p.m. today. The four-brackets of the Amateur Ladies event is still ongoing, as is the (plain, so to speak) Seniors tournament. Two junior competitions (17U & 12U) are set to begin today, as well. 

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Corr dominates North American Pool Tour’s Coupe du Quebec

Karen Corr not only went undefeated at the North American Pool Tour’s (NAPT) Coupe du Quebec, she damn near went unscored upon. Through seven round robin flights and five rounds in a double elimination final bracket, she gave up only 11 games of the 88 she played to claim the event title. She shut out four of her round robin opponents and three of the five she faced in the final double elimination phase. She was the only player to go undefeated in both phases of the event. The Division 1 Pro event drew 32 entrants to Dooly’s in Quebec, Canada on the long weekend of October 24-27.

The Round Robin phase of the event split the field of 32 into four flights of eight players each. At the end of seven rounds in each of the four flights, the top four in each flight (based on win/loss records and point differentials for ties) advanced to the double elimination bracket of 16.

Corr’s flight in the round robin phase pitted her against (among others) fellow J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour player, Nicole King, as well as Nathalie Chabot, and Chantal Bergeron, all of whom finished with 4-3 records to advance to the final 16.

California’s Callado sisters played in separate round robin flights. Eleanor finished with a 5-2 record, as did Nathalie Jacob, Amanda Soucy and Marie-France Blanchette; all advancing to the double elimination bracket. Sister Emilyn finished with a 6-1 record and was joined in the double elimination bracket by Toni Sakamoto, Farla Salmonovitch and Judie Wilson. The woman who’d defeated Emily Callado, Dorah Cornell, did not advance; Emilyn being the only opponent she defeated.

Veronique Menard was at the top of her round robin group and finished with a 6-1 record. Joining her in advancing were Roxanne Ryan Aucoin, Fanny Giroux (Menard’s only loss), and Sandra-Line Michel.

Corr wasn’t scored upon until she reached the hot seat match, downing Sandra-Line Michel, Nathalie Jacob and in the winners’ side semifinal, Emilyn Callado by shutout; thus spoiling any hope for a Callado sister hot seat match. Eleanor Callado’s path to the hot seat match went through Farla Salmonovitch 7-4, Marie-France Blanchette 7-3 and in the other winners’ side semifinal, Veronique Menard 7-4. Corr gave up her first rack of the double elimination phase defeating Callado 7-1 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Emilyn Callado picked up Blanchette, who, after her winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Eleanor Callado, had defeated Judie Wilson 7-5 and Fanny Giroux 7-2. Menard drew Nathalie Jacob, who, after her quarterfinal loss to Corr, had defeated Toni Sakamoto 7-5 and shut out Roxanne Aucoin.

Emilyn Callado and Blanchette locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Callado to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Menard, who’d defeated Jacob 7-1.

With the hope of a Callado sister semifinal looming, Menard spoiled that with a 7-3 win over Emilyn in the quarterfinals and turned for a second shot against her sister, Eleanor in the semifinals. Menard downed her 7-4 and got a shot at Corr in the hot seat.

To her credit, Menard chalked up more racks against Corr in the finals than all four of Corr’s previous opponents, or any one opponent in both the round robin and double elimination phases. But it wasn’t nearly enough, as Corr finished the proceedings with a 7-4 win.

NAPT President Adrianne Beach thanked Elvis Joubert and his staff for their hospitality, as well as event sponsor, Turtle Rack.

Hansen goes undefeated to take 4th Annual NAPT Summer Classic

Taylor Hansen and NAPT President Adrianne Beach

The two stories moved in opposite directions. For a while. Until they didn’t, and two female pool professionals met in the finals of the North American Pool Tour’s 4th Annual Summer Classic.
 
One story was about a young woman who’s already made her mark, winning VNEA junior Championships, chalking up wins on the North Star Ladies Pool Tour and at the age of 16, winning the US Bar Box Women’s 10-Ball Championships. Taylor Hansen, 20, is currently a member of Lindenwood University’s billiards team, under the tutelage of Mark Wilson, and competing with fellow-Minnesotan April Larson, who joined the program this past year. Hansen and Larson battled twice at the recent (June) American College Union International Tournament,  with Larson capturing her first of (presumably) many college titles ahead. Hansen has competed in the North American Pool Tour’s (NAPT) annual Division I Pro 10-Ball Summer Classic three of its four years already, and at this most recent event – August 15-18 at Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL – she won it, going undefeated through a field of 27 entrants.
 
The second story was about an older woman who’s been competing professionally longer than Taylor Hansen has been alive. Eleanor Callado has been a regular winner on the West Coast Women’s Tour for a number of years, a regular competitor at WPBA events, and a competitor in all four of the NAPT’s Summer Classics, including 2017, when she finished as runner-up to Karen Corr. According to our records, she had a breakout year, financially, in 2009, but she recorded her best earnings year, to date, last year (2018). At this most recent NAPT Summer Classic, she lost her opening round match to Caela Huddleston and embarked on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that led to her challenging Hansen in the finals. Her loss-side run had included a 7-4 victory over her sister, Emilyn Callado, who’s in possession of an equally impressive pool resume.
 
As Eleanor Callado was beginning her loss-side run, Hansen and Christy Dickerson advanced toward a meeting in the hot seat match. Hansen almost got sent over in her opening match as she survived a double hill battle versus Ellen Robinson. She reversed her fortunes in the second round with a shutout over Vanessa Hood and then, downed Veronique Menard 7-3 to draw Kaylin Wikoff in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Dickerson defeated her first opponent, Kelly Jones 7-5, before meeting up with the woman who’d sent Callado to the loss side, Caela Huddleston. Dickerson sent her over 7-5 and then defeated Laura Semko 7-3 to pick up Sarah Rousey in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Hansen shut out Kaylin Wikoff and in the hot seat match, faced Dickerson, who’d survived a double hill battle against Rousey. Hansen gave up only a single rack to Dickerson and claimed the hot seat. She had given up only 10 racks over 45 games.
 
On the loss side, Eleanor and Emilyn Callado were working on their respective winning streaks. Emilyn had lasted one more round on the winners’ side than sister, Eleanor. Eleanor got by Kelly Jones, Theresa Ballinger, Ronnette Chop and Tara Williams to draw sister, Emilyn, who’d defeated Chris Honeman, Vanessa Hood, and Laura Semko to get to that point. Eleanor defeated Emilyn 7-4 to draw Wikoff. Rousey picked up Marian Poole, who was working on her own four-match, loss-side winning streak that had included recent wins over Veronique Menard 7-5 and Tina Larsen 7-4.
 
Callado advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Wikoff. Rousey joined her after surviving a double hill battle against Poole. Callado then chalked up two straight 7-5 wins, downing Rousey in the quarterfinals and Dickerson in the semifinals to earn a shot against Hansen in the finals.
 
Callado became only the second competitor to chalk up more than three racks against Hansen and in the finals, came within a game of forcing a single deciding game. Hansen, though, prevailed 7-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Adrienne Beach thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards, and noted that the next stop on the NAPT, scheduled for Sept. 19-22, will be the Division I Pro 3rd Annual Desert Challenge, to be hosted by Griff’s in Las Vegas.

Corr goes undefeated to win NAPT Coupe de Quebec in Canada

Karen Corr (Photo courtesy of NAPT)

In the two years between January, 2017 and the soon-to-be January of 2019, Irishwoman Karen Corr has chalked up nine major titles (so far). She’s split her competition between wins in WPBA events and with the North American Pool Tour (NAPT), while also cashing in two successive Turning Stone events (XXVII & XXVIII). Last year, she won the WPBA’s Rivers US Open, three events on the NAPT and a stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT). This year, she’s added three wins on the JPNEWT and a victory at the Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Championship to her growing and continuing to be impressive resume.
 
On the long weekend of Nov. 1-4, she added another NAPT win to the list. Corr went undefeated through a field of 42 entrants, on-hand for the $5,000-added NAPT Women’s Division 1 Pro event, held at Dooly’s in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 25 miles southeast of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.
 
The event was preceded by a pro-am charity event in which Division 1 players were matched up with a local amateur player for a modified single elimination, blind draw Scotch Doubles tournament. A $20 donation by the amateur players will be used by the venue, Dooly’s, to fund a charity of their choosing.
 
Following an opening round bye and victories over Krista Walsh, Maria Juana and Laura Semko, Corr moved into the first of what would be two against Canada’s Brittany Bryant in a winners’ side semifinal. Eleanor Callado, in the meantime, having defeated Anick Cadorette, Nathalie Chabot, Denise Belanger, and Veronique Menard, squared off against her own sister, Emily Callado, in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Eleanor downed sister Emily 7-5, as Corr was busy defeating Bryant 7-4; the first opponent to chalk up that many against Corr. Corr gave up only a single rack to Callado and sat in the hot seat awaiting what turned out to be the return of Bryant.
 
On the loss side, Bryant picked up Naomi Williams, who’d been defeated by Maria Juana in the opening round of play and was in the midst of a six-match, loss side winning streak that was about to come to an end. Williams had most recently eliminated Teruko Cucculelli 7-4 and Menard 7-1. Emily Callado ran into Jia Li, who’d lost a double hill fight to Bryant in a winners’ side quarterfinal and on the loss side, shut out Marilou Therrien and eliminated Denise Belanger 7-4.
 
Bryant ended Williams’ loss-side run, but not before Williams forced a deciding 13th game in the race to 7. Li joined Bryant in the quarterfinals following a 7-3 win over Emilyn Callado.
 
Bryant downed her next two opponents 7-4; Jia Li in the quarterfinal and Eleanor Callado in the semifinal for second shot at Corr in the hot seat. Among many things Bryant may not have expected in the event’s final match, a shutout would have been high on the list. But that’s how Corr punctuated her undefeated run, shutting Bryant out to claim the event title.

Bryant goes undefeated to win NAPT Desert Classic at Griff’s in Las Vegas

Brittany Bryant (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

With her victory in the Sept. 22-23 NAPT Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Brittany Bryant officially made 2018 her best recorded earnings year in the dozen that she’s been appearing on our payout lists. She went undefeated through a field of 34 and faced Melissa Little twice to claim the event title, her first since winning the Music City Classic in January. In addition to these two 2018 victories, Bryant finished as runner-up twice; at the Super Billiards Expo in April and the 3rd Annual Ashton Twins Classic in June (to Karen Corr and Vivian Villareal, respectively). The $5,000-added, 10-Ball event was hosted by Griff’s in Las Vegas.
 
Following victories over Christina Gonzalez, Gigi Callejas and Veronique Menard, Bryant moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Eleanor Callado, who’d just sent her sister, Emilyn Callado to the loss side. Melissa Little, in the meantime, got by Mary Coffman, Tina Malm (double hill), and Sara Miller to draw Kaylin Wikoff in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Little got into the hot seat match rather handily, allowing Wikoff only a single rack in their race to 7. Byrant and Eleanor Callado locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Callado to the loss side and Bryant to the hot seat match. In their first of two, Bryant defeated Little 7-5 and sat in the hot seat awaiting the outcome of the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Wikoff picked up Veronique Menard, who’d been sent west by Bryant in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then, after defeating Jia Li 7-5, survived a double hill challenge by Tina Malm. Eleanor Callado drew Teruko Cucculelli, who’d been defeated by Eleanor’s sister, Emilyn, double hill, in the second round and was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the semifinals.
 
Wikoff stopped Menard’s short loss-side streak 7-5, and in the quarterfinals, faced Cucculelli, who’d eliminated Eleanor Callado by the same 7-5 score. Cucculelli advanced one more step, downing Wikoff in the quarterfinals 7-4.
 
Cucculelli and Little battled back and forth in what proved to be a relatively lengthy semifinal. Each had opportunities they took advantage of and others they failed to capitalize on. It was tied at 5-5, at which point, Little took command to win the next two and earn herself a rematch against Bryant in a true double elimination final.
 
Their individual Fargo Ratings were 21 points apart, with Bryant holding the advantage (662-641) and in the matchup projections, held a 60.5-39.5 edge. Bryant jumped out to an early lead in what could have been a two-set final, but, at 6-2, advantage Bryant, didn’t appear likely. Little rallied, however, and won three to make a second set possible. In the 12th game, Bryant missed a shot, leaving Little a slam-dunk shot at the 3-ball, giving her an opportunity to clear the table and knot the opening set at 6-6. Little failed to capitalize, and Bryant ended it to claim her second 2018 title since winning the Music City Classic in January.
 

Defending Champion Allison Fisher Heading to the WPBA US Open Finals

Allison Fisher

TULSA, OK – Results are in for today’s first semi-final matchup between the #1 and #2 seeds in the WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships taking place this week at the River Spirit Event Center. ESPN cameras rolled as Monica Webb and Allison Fisher, two veteran champions, took the stage.  

Monica took the first point in the race to seven, but Allison quickly answered with two games of her own. Monica won the next three to lead 4-2. In the seventh game, Allison missed a surprising five ball in the corner that put Webb back at the table to extend her lead 5-2.  
 
Allison picked up the next game to trail 5-3, and then another to trail 5-4 when Monica ended up short on a nine ball and missed a cross-side bank. She then broke and ran out to tie the match 5-5, and again to get to the hill, 6-5! 
        
With no shot after the break, Fisher was forced to push out. A safety battle ensued but Fisher got first look at a long, sharp cut on the one. She nailed that, and proceeded to execute a tricky rack to take the win 7-5! Webb finishes tied for third place. 
 
Next up: Gerda Hofstatter plays Jeanette Lee at 3 p.m. to determine who will face Fisher in the finals.     
  
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be broadcast by ESPN in seven one-hour national shows, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).   
 
Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf Refresh the link for the most up-to-date results — scoring updates will take place throughout the day’s play!   
 
Schedule of Events:
Sunday, June 10 at 3 pm and 5 pm
ESPN Semifinal #2 and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)     

It’s all taking place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information!  
 
Final Results – 64 Players 
Champion:
__________________
2nd 
__________________
3/4th
__________________
Monica Webb 
5/8th
Helena Thornfeldt, Brittany Bryant, Line Kjorsvik, Mary Rakin
9/12th
Melissa Herndon, Kim Shaw, Jennifer Barretta, Jennifer Chen
13/16th 
Jana Montour, Teruko Cucculelli, Angelina Paglia, Vivian Villarreal
17/24th 
Stacy Novack, Ewa Laurance, Jessica Barnes, Janet Atwell, Sara Miller, Emily Duddy, Brianna Miller, Liz Ford
25/32nd 
Vicki Paski, Belinda Calhoun, Susan Williams, Kim Pierce, Megan Smith, Kim White-Newsome, Cathy Metzinger, Rhonda Pierce
33/48th
Cheryl Pritchard, Carrie Williams, Emilyn Callado, Morgan Steinman, Brittany Colbert, Kelly Cavanaugh, Lisa Just, Joanne Ashton, Eleanor Callado, Melissa Little, Susan Mello, Kathy McMinn, Lori Jones, Erin McManus, Liz Cole, Laura Smith  
49/64th
Suzanne Smith, Michelle McDermott, Kayla Batson, Eugenia Gyftopoulis, Tonya Wiser, Delia Mocanu, Tamre Rogers, Teresa Gifford, Jessica Karacia-Human, Nicole Keeney, Melinda Huang, Stephanie Goens, Shari Ross, Pauline Mattes, Barbara Lee, Tina Hess  

First eliminations from WPBA US Open

TULSA, OK – The WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships at the River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa have whittled the field down to 48 players from the original 64. The first sixteen players were eliminated after two consecutive losses. Here are the results of the first round in the one loss bracket. Winning players are matching up in day session play today and another sixteen players will soon say farewell to their US Open title hopes… 
    
Elimination Round One (Defeated Players Eliminated) 
Jana Montour d. Suzanne Smith 9-2
Carrie Williams d. Michelle McDermott 9-6
Emilyn Callado d. Kayla Batson 9-3
Morgan Steinman d. Eugenia Gyftopoulous 9-5
Brittany Colbert d. Tonya Wiser 9-0
Kelly Cavanaugh d. Delia Mocanu 9-8
Kim Pierce d. Tamre Rogers 9-3
Janet Atwell d. Teresa Gifford 9-0
Megan Smith d. Jessica Karacia-Human 9-2
Melissa Little d. Nicole Keeney 9-2
Susan Mello d. Melinda Huang 9-7
Kathy McMinn d. Stephanie Goens 9-3
Shari Ross d. Lori Jones 9-8
Brianna Miller d. Pauline Mattes 9-4
Rhonda Pierce d. Barbara Lee 9-4
Liz Ford d. Tina Hess 9-4

Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf (refresh the link for the most up-to-date results!)  
 
Schedule of Events:
Friday, June 8 at 10 am
Double elimination play in day and evening sessions
Saturday, June 9 at 1 pm
ESPN Quarterfinals (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
Sunday, June 10 at 1 pm
ESPN Semifinals and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be taped by ESPN for seven one-hour national broadcasts, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).    

It all takes place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $10 on June 8th and $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information! 

WPBA US Open Final Thirty Two

TULSA, OK – The WPBA US Open 9-Ball Championships at the River Spirit Event Center in Tulsa continued this morning with sixteen more matches on the one-loss side of the double elimination chart. Winning players are matching up in day session play later today; the losing players finish 33/48th. 
    
Elimination Round Two (Defeated Players Eliminated) 
Jana Montourd. Cheryl Pritchard 9-4
Vicki Paski d. Carrie Williams 9-3
Belinda Calhoun d. Emilyn Callado 9-5
Monica Webb d. Morgan Steinman 9-8
Teruko Cucculelli d. Brittany Colbert 9-7
Susan Williams d. Kelly Cavanaugh 9-3
Kim Pierce d. Lisa Just 9-8
Janet Atwell d. Joanne Ashton 9-6
Megan Smith d. Eleanor Callado 9-6
Mary Rakin d. Melissa Little 9-5
Emily Duddy d. Susan Mello 9-5
Kim White-Newsome d. Kathy McMinn 9-6
Cathy Metzinger d. Lori Jones 9-4
Brianna Miller d. Erin McManus 9-8
Rhonda Pierce d. Liz Cole 9-7
Liz Ford d. Laura Smith 9-5

Fans and media can keep up with ongoing results at http://www.wpba.com/images/stories/brackets/2012_us_open.pdf (refresh the link for the most up-to-date results!)  
 
Schedule of Events:
Friday, June 8 at 10 am
Double elimination play in day and evening sessions
Saturday, June 9 at 1 pm
ESPN Quarterfinals (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
Sunday, June 10 at 1 pm
ESPN Semifinals and Final (Tix are $20 general admission, $25 VIP)
The quarter final, semi final and final matches will be taped by ESPN for seven one-hour national broadcasts, airing Saturday, July 14, (Quarterfinals 12-4pm on ESPN2) and Sunday, July 15, (Semifinals/Final 1-4pm on ESPN2).    

It all takes place at the River Spirit Event Center, adjacent to the River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside in Tulsa.  
Tickets are just $10 on June 8th and $20 on June 9th and 10th!  VIP tickets are available for $25. Visit www.riverspirittulsa.com/entertainment/eventcenter for tickets and more information! 

Jenny Lee Wins at On Cue

Jenny Lee

Jenny “The Asian Assassin” Lee marks her first major win this year by defeating Stacy Novack in the finals of the ‘Tiger So Cal Ladies Tour’. After two days of grueling play by some of California’s most talented female pool players, it was these two veterans to the Tiger SCLT who remained to battle it out in the race-to-9 final match.   

Due to WPBA player (and Tournament Director) Melissa Herndon‘s early promotional efforts plus several mini-qualifiers run by Raquel McCluskey prior to the event; and despite a rather stormy weekend looming in the skies of Southern California, On Cue Billiards in La Mesa remained in the crosshairs of 29 female gunslingers and a host of railbirds for this double elimination, race-to-7 event.   

Many expected to see more from some of our usual suspects, but the early upsets in this year’s first Tiger stop included Vicki Wade, Melinda Huang, Hiroko Makiyama, Brook Thomason, Shauna Madrigal, Barbara Lee, Shar Vanderstyne, Nellie Del Rosario and Fran Smith.   

Probably the longest journey made to play the event was that of Emilyn Callado‘s, hailing from San Francisco. Emilyn remained in the top 8 finishers, even after losing early to Stacy Novack.  She powered through three more matches against Shannon Powell, Brandy Pamintuan and Nellie Del Rosario on Saturday before falling to Melissa Morris in her one and only match on Day 2 of the event.  Emilyn’s close 7-5 loss against Melissa landed her tied for 7th/8th in the tournament.   

Despite the handful of talented veterans competing, two tough greenhorns, Dara Nakagawa and Lila Woodland found themselves in the top eight players on Day 2.  

Lila, from San Diego, defeated Dara in her first match, and then sent former WPBA player Melissa Morris to the loser’s side…showing her determination to do well in the event.  But she hit a wall with her first loss against Trinh Lu from Rosemead, CA.  

On Sunday, Lila finally met her fate, finishing in 5th place after a rematch against Melissa, where she just couldn’t gain the momentum she had against the “Cue-Maker’s Daughter” in their previous match on Day 1. Meanwhile, Fountain Valley’s Dara Nakagawa fought an uphill battle after losing her first match to Lila, trudging her way to 8th place by defeating Raquel McCluskey, Hiroko Makiyama and Wendy Chou.  Dara’s run to the finish was cut short by the very talented Tina Pawloski, who’s fast-paced play and pool knowledge was on display throughout their match.   

The reigning 2011 State Champion and eventual 2nd place finisher of this event, Stacy Novack earned her spot in the hot seat by defeating Verni Flauta, Emilyn Callado, Tina Pawloski, Jenny Lee and Trinh Lu. Jenny Lee won her first three matches of Day 1, beating Melinda Huang, Brook Thomason, Wendy Chou before suffering her first loss to Stacy. Jenny then came back on Day 2 to defeat Tina Pawloski, Melissa Morris and Trinh Lu, which earned her a rematch with Stacy and guaranteeing her a 2nd place award for this event.   But Jenny Lee had other plans… 

The final match between Jenny and Stacy was quite a contrast of styles. Jenny Lee had already played several matches on Sunday and was well  in-stroke for the final match.  She seemed to be playing faster and more aggressively than normal. Jenny has been known to play at a slower pace in the past, but today it seemed like she was moving in ‘fast forward’, giving few chances to Stacy and leaving her tough on most safeties; even playing some very good kick-shots and getting good rolls. 

Stacy’s demeanor remained consistent as she took her time to execute, but she seemed to play a bit tighter than normal and sometimes even a little hesitant. Capitalizing on this, Jenny jumped ahead early in the first half of the match to an impressive 6-1 game lead. A couple of sloppy breaks by Jenny, who sent the cue-ball flying off the table, could have been a good turning point for Stacy.  She had ball in hand and wide open racks, but unfortunately she failed to close them out. Those two missed chances, coupled with the already distant lead, proved to be an impossible climb back for Stacy, and the match finally ended in a 9-2 defeat by Jenny Lee.   

In a conversation with the 20-year pool veteran after the event, Stacy stated, “I haven’t sought out extra help or knowledge with my game for quite sometime, but now feel that I am in a place that is receptive to elevating my game to the next level.”   By day’s end, Jenny Lee was visibly exhausted and even stated at a break between games that she was enduring some physical pain and discomfort brought on by leg cramps, which started just before the match. Nonetheless she kept her mind on the game and showed no signs of weakness. Jenny’s laser-like focus cut through her opponents in her typical ‘Assassin’ style.   

Yet again, Melissa Herndon is to be congratulated for another seamless Tiger SCLT event, sponsored by Tiger Billiard Products, PoolDawg and Delta-13 and streamed live from On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, CA by Daniel Busch of POV Pool who stepped in for veteran streamer, Andy Chen. Congratulations also go Nellie Del Rosario, who won the second chance event undefeated in a field of 14 players…and to Shar Vanderstyne, the winner of the Tiger Classic Series, TC-1 Cue raffle. 

This marks the first Tiger SCLT event of the year, which served as an excellent warm-up for the following Tiger sponsored tour stops, also to be streamed live:   

April 14th & 15th  $1,000 Added ($1,500 added with 32 players) – Tiger So Cal Ladies Tour event at Hard Times Billiards, Bellflower CA   
April 21st & 22nd  Tiger West Coast Women’s Tour $1,000 Added / The 2012 Women’s 9-Ball California State Championship at California Billiard Club, Mountain View, CA

Louis Ulrich Claims Chet Itow Memorial


February 24th & 25th, 2012; there was certainly something for everyone in Mountain View, CA., thanks to the infamous California Billiard Club, its owner Chris Swart who hosted the 3rd Annual Chet Itow Memorial 9-Ball Tournament.  Nuclear engineer “Chet” who created and built this great venue was honored in the grand style, which was indicative of the great efforts that he put into the creation of the hall. The true “double elimination” event kicked off at noon on Saturday, February 25th with a race to 8 on both sides, and a winner break format.
 
Any one of the over 4,000 pool enthusiasts who tuned in this last weekend to Point Of View (POV) Pool’s free live internet coverage of this event, were treated to a multitude of not only legendary player match-ups, but also to a host of the unusual and dramatic antics that are ever present amongst these individuals.
 
Thanks to hall owner Chris Swart, a “$3000 Added” incentive packed the house and drew in 101 participants including many of the billiard worlds’ most elite players.  Locals as well as those who tuned into the live internet stream got their pool fixes watching the likes of Rodney “The Rocket” Morris, Jose Parica, Louis Ulrich, Santos Sambajon, Rafael Martinez, House Pro Dave Hemmah of Hard Times – Bellflower, “Team Mexico” – Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez, Amar Kang, and last but not least, world renowned champion and two time consecutive winner of the infamous “Swanee” – Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan.
 
Walk in patrons and attendees alike were packed in all weekend long, taking advantage of the 3000 sq ft plus “viewing” area, ordering from a fantastic full menu, and topping it all off with a trip to the fully stocked bar complete with an efficient and friendly staff.  In short, it was a setting for a pool player’s “Paradise”!
 
Early upsets in the event included last year’s winner, Santos Sambajon and runner up Oscar Dominguez. Also knocked were Alex Pagulayan, and long time veteran Jose Parica was pushed early to the one loss side by “Combination” Jason Williams, who eventually shot his way up to 4th place in the event! Jason Williams put on quite a show during the weekend and was motivated by an eagerness to play and win over Rodney “The Rocket” Morris. Those who remained to stroke their way up the chain included Rodney Morris, Ernesto Dominguez, Kevin May, Amar Kang, Rafael Martinez, Ed Ramos, and eventual winner, Louis Ulrich.
 
Antics were abound during the course of the tourney with Amar Kang giving Alex Pagulayan a mini Golf swing lesson before their match, and quite a commentary stint on POV Pool’s live stream with local Emilyn Callado.  And of course all were treated to the usual short riff of Alex’s legendary karaoke.  Guest commentators joining Daniel Busch, owner of POV Pool and co-commentator Barbara Lee, included Jeff Gregory, local “Women Power” stars Mary Rakin, Emilyn Callado and OMGWTF’s – Melinda Huang.  Additional commentators included, pool veteran – John Henderson of The Cue Sports Journal (Soon to re-launch), Scott White, Bucktooth (Who’s claim to fame is “beating everybody”), and Oscar Dominguez who stated “Well now everyone pretty much knows my life story”!
 
Unfortunate news during the event was for Jun Almoite, who had to forfeit on Saturday to attend to “The Princess of Pool” – Mary Avina, who fell ill enough for hospitalization due to a high fever associated with a bout of the flu.  The good news is, all is well and Mary is home and recovering.  Whew!
 
Wrapping up the event late Sunday night were semi final match-ups between Rodney Morris and Jason Williams, Kevin May and Amar Kang, and culminated with Louis Ulrich versus Ernesto Dominguez.  A shocking display of “doesn’t ANYONE want this 7 ball?” commenced between Amar and Alex, which lasted several innings before Amar finally got the pesky maroon into a pocket.
 
In another match between Louis Ulrich and Hillary Morse, Louis slammed in the 9 a stunning 4 times during the break-shot, which unfortunately was re-spotted due to the rule associated with the rack your own format for this event.  This proved to be a running theme on the “stream” table for many players during the break-shot, with the 9 ball usually en-route to the bottom left-hand corner and the 1-ball almost always hitting the rail below the left middle pocket and landing either into or very close to the top right-hand corner pocket. As a result, the best break show, which highlighted this phenomenon, was between Jason Williams and Rodney Morris, with a barrage of early 9 ball combinations and caroms that seriously shortened the length of the match. And in contrast was John Henderson vs. Arturo Rivera in a nip and tuck session, which literally lasted 16 games, and without either player having more than a 1-game lead.
 
Rounding up the finale was Louis Ulrich versus Ernesto Dominguez who would have had to win two races to 8 for the win due to the true double elimination format.  Ernesto took an early 3-0 lead over an obviously tired Louis and it looked like a double set was shaping up. Louis however managed to come back to tie it up, and then rally back and forth to create a hill-hill thriller. The nail biting final game found Ernesto running down to the perfectly lined up 9 with precision play, that is until he fails to close; missing an almost straight 9-ball and leaving a medium difficulty cut for Louis. After the stunned railbirds exhaled, Louis got up and with nary a thought, and sliced the 9-ball effortlessly for the win over a disappointed but ever gracious Ernesto.
 
The top final 8 payouts were Louis Ulrich, $3,000, Ernesto $1700, Rodney Morris $900, Jason Williams $550, Kevin May and Amar Kang at $250, and Rafael Martinez and Ed Ramos at $150.
 
POV Pools live Internet coverage and archived matches can be viewed by going to www.povpool.com.
 
 
Payouts for the 3rd Annual Chet Itow Memorial 9-Ball Tournament
 
1st – Louis Ulrich / $3,000
2nd – Ernesto Dominguez / $1,700
3rd – Rodney Morris / $900
4th – Jason Williams / $550
 
5th/6th – Kevin May / $250
5th/6th – Amar Kang / $250
 
7th/8th – Rafael Martinez / $150
7th/8th – Ed Ramos / $150
 
9th/12th – George Michaels / $100
9th/12th – Craig Oden / $100
9th/12th – Bryce Avila / $100
9th/12th – Dale Alpajora / $100
 
13th/16th – John Henderson / $75
13th/16th – Santos Sambajon / $75
13th/16th – Jose Parica / $75
13th/16th – Jeremy King / $75
 
17th/24th – Mark Tiu / $50
17th/24th – Mary Rakin / $50
17th/24th – Mike Tucci / $50
17th/24th – Alex Pagulayan / $50
17th/24th – George Pagulayan / $50
17th/24th – Jeff Padjan / $50
17th/24th – Ernesto Reyes / $50