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Olinger goes undefeated, downs roommate Thorpe in finals of White Diamond’s 9-Ball Open

Alex Olinger (Photo courtesy of Alex Olinger)

Roommates Alex Olinger and Billy Thorpe weren't favored to face each other in the finals of the White Diamond Billiards 9-Ball Open on the weekend of November 15-16. Among those who were favored to be the last two standing were (in order) Skyler Woodward, Chip Compton, Joey Gray, and Robb Saez. Also in the 'favored' mix were former champions of the event Jamie Baracks and Shane McMinn, along with Manny Chau, Cliff Joyner, and former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy. But Olinger and Thorpe it was; Olinger completing an undefeated run with a victory over Thorpe in those finals. The $1,000-added bar box event drew 128 entrants to White Diamond Billiards in Lafayette, Louisiana.
"We'd played in the finals of a few smaller tournaments," said Olinger of his regular touring partnership with Thorpe, "but this was the biggest one we'd ever been in that we made it to the finals."
"It was a tough field," he said of his victory, "but I played well all weekend."
He started early, defeating Dalton Riley 7-3, before running into the top-favored player on the list, Skyler Woodward. He downed Woodward 7-4, which sent the youngster on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that ended in the tie for 7th/8th. Olinger went on to defeat Cheddy Brown, Eric Brown and Chip Compton, before running into Thorpe for the first time in a winners' side semifinal. Baracks and Matt Armstrong squared off in the other. Olinger downed Thorpe in a double hill battle, and in the hot seat match, faced Baracks, who'd sent Armstrong west 7-3. Olinger got into the hot seat 7-5 and waited on Thorpe's return.
On the loss side, Thorpe picked up Josh Roberts, who'd defeated Robb Saez 7-4 and ended Woodward's run 7-5. Armstrong drew Robert Dennies, who'd eliminated a couple of favorites; Jonathan Pinegar 7-4 and Chip Compton, double hill. Thorpe and Armstrong advanced to the quarterfinals; Thorpe 7-2 over Roberts and Armstrong 7-3 over Dennies.
Thorpe defeated Armstrong 7-4, and then earned his second shot at Olinger with a 7-5 victory over Baracks in the semifinals. Olinger stopped Thorpe's three-match, loss-side run with a 7-4 win in the opening set of the true double elimination final.
The event was the work of Ashley and Chris Miller, owners of White Diamond Billiards. Selected matches were broadcast throughout the weekend by PoolAction TV, with commentary by Ray Hansen.

King Reigns on Lone Star Tour

Sean King, Cindy Cole (TD), Daniel Johnson and Walter Hawley (Owner)

Oklahoma City’s Sean King took Dallas, Texas by storm venturing into uncharted territory, becoming the first player on the Lone Star Tour to win both the Amateur and Open 9-Ball divisions in a single event. It was a long and winding road to victory, fending off Dallas’ T.J. Davis in the Open final and Daniel Johnson in the Amateur final. King bested 35 Open and 53 Amateur players at the $1,000 added Lone Star Billiards Tour 9-Ball Event, held July 6th-7th, 2013, at Hawley’s Billiards in Dallas, Texas. The Open division included Texas notables Joey Barnes from Arlington, David Gutierrez from Austin, Tony Barrington from Lewisville, Eric Brown from Killeen, Greg Sandifer from Fort Worth, Lance Sullivan from Dallas, and local favorite T.J. Davis who returned to defend his 2012 LSBT Open 9-Ball title. 
From the plethora of Open division talent, it was hard to discern a winner. Hometown player and defending champion T.J. Davis came on strong, besting Eric Brown, 9-7, and Sean King, 9-7, on his road to the hot seat. As King was fighting through the one-loss side, Tony Barrington was making his way through the winners’ side with wins over Greg Sandifer, 9-5, and Nick Conner, 9-8. Upsets included Joey Barnes who suffered an early hit at the hands of Conner, 9-8. Barnes went on to capture 4 consecutive wins until King ended his role, 7-6. Texas Open Champion David Gutierrez was dealt a second round blow by Doug Pitts, 9-8, but rose again with 6 consecutive match wins until Brown sealed his fate, 7-5. Brown went on to eliminate Raynes and Conner, 7-6 respectively, but was also stopped short by King, 7-4. On the east side, hot seat action saw Barrington fall to Davis, 9-2, staging a Barrington v. King semi-final. Paving his road to payback, the Oklahoma kid made quick work of Barrington, 7-3, the final obstacle between him and Davis. 
The intensity of the players made for a suspenseful final. In the first set, Davis and King exchanged blow for blow until King pulled ahead 4-2. Davis was not deterred, but failed to keep pace, losing the set, 9-6. After regrouping, Davis came out firing the second set.  The same story unfolded as players exchanged games until it was 6-6 with King breaking. With ease and control, King broke the balls superbly, pocketing a ball. Staying true to form, he ran the final rack to capture his first Lone Star Tour 9-Ball title, 7-6.
King was far from finished.  On his trek to clenching the Amateur division title, he bested Ken Jennings, 7-2, Steve Raynes, 7-6, and Lance Sullivan, 7-2. Jonathan Davis was creating havoc of his own with wins over Walt Anderson, 7-4, Greg Sandifer, 7-4, and Zack Shapiro, 7-2, to face King for the hot seat. After a final 8 winners’ side hit from Sullivan, Daniel Johnson began to plow his way through the one-loss side. In the same fashion, after a second round loss to Johnson, Crispian Ng won an incredible 9 consecutive matches to meet his nemesis, Johnson. Ng lost his fight for third, terminated by Johnson, 5-1. King secured the hot seat over Davis, 7-4, who then suffered an elimination blow from Johnson, 5-4. In the final, King wasted little time defeating Johnson, 7-4, becoming the first player to win both divisions in a single Lone Star Tour event.
The Lone Star Tour would like to thank Cindy Cole and Lance Sullivan for directing the Dallas event, Hawley’s Billiards for hosting another successful Lone Star Tour stop, and Jerry Moore for providing an entire weekend of cue repair for the Lone Star players. Last but certainly not least, congratulations to Jennifer Pavlovick for her efforts in the Amateur division, earning “Top Lady” finisher.
The Lone Star Billiards Tour is sponsored by Poison by Predator Cues,, Delta-13 Rack,, and APA of North Harris County,
The next event will be the annual Lone Star Billiards Tour Texas Open Warm-Up 9-Ball Event, August 10th-11th, 2013, at Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX.  Visit us on

The Hillbilly re-emerges to take Fast Eddie’s stop in Austin

Charlie Bryant (File photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

According to our records, Charlie "Hillbilly" Bryant hadn't been seen in the money on a pool table since last December, when he defeated Corey Deuel in the finals of the Space City Open 9-Ball event in Houston; one of three events he'd won, dating back to June. He re-emerged on Saturday, June 22 to go undefeated at a stop on the Fast Eddie's tour in Austin, TX. The $500-added event drew 22 entrants, and was completed without benefit of a final match between Bryant and Raphael Martinez.
Bryant and Martinez had met among the winners' side final four, with Bryant prevailing 9-7. Mark Galacia, in the meantime, defeated Rudy Sanchez, double hill, to meet Bryant in the battle for the hot seat. Bryant won that match, his last, 9-5.
On the loss side, Martinez met up with Kevin Guimond, who'd gotten by Jerry Prado and Kyle Perry, both 7-4. Sanchez drew James Davis, Sr., who'd been sent to the loss side by Martinez in a winners' side final eight battle, and defeated Ernest Sanchez 7-2 and Eric Brown 7-5. Martinez and Davis, Sr. met for a quarterfinal re-match after identical 7-5 victories over Guimond and Sanchez.
Martinez defeated Davis, Sr. a second time, 7-4, and then, defeated Galacia in the semifinals 7-5. At that point, Bryant and Martinez opted out of a final match, splitting the top two prizes, and leaving the undefeated Bryant as the official winner of the event.

Engel wins seven on the loss side, double dips Abood to take Arena Billiards 9-Ball Open

Jesse Engel (Photo courtesy of WPBL)

Jesse Engel fell to Larry Nevel in the early going of the Arena Billiards 9-Ball Open, but won seven on the loss side to eventually meet and defeat Gary Abood in the event finals. The $1,800-added event drew 79 entrants (only 77 actually played) to Arena Billiards in West Monroe, LA.

Once Engel had been sent west, Nevel was eventually sent to follow him by Abood, who advanced among the winners' side final four for a matchup against James Council. Carl McLendon squared off against Eric Brown in the other winners' side semifinal. Abood gave up only a single rack against Council and in the battle for the hot seat, met McClendon, who'd defeated Brown 7-3. Abood got into the hot seat with a double hill win over McClendon.
Engel, in the meantime, was racking them up on the loss side. With two down and five to go, he defeated Tom Orange, and was denied a re-match against Nevel, when Josh Roberts took him out in the same round. Engel went on to defeat Roberts 7-5, which set him up to face Council. Brown drew Clint Freeman, who'd gotten by Mike Brown and Kenny Loftis
Engel defeated Council 7-3 and was met in the quarterfinals by Brown, who'd eliminated Freeman 7-4. Engel moved on and chalked up four straight 7-4 wins, beginning with his defeat of Brown in those quarterfinals.
He defeated McClendon in the semifinals, and got out in front of Abood in the opening set of the finals to take it 7-4, as well. Abood jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Engel caught up to him and eventually sealed the deal with a final 7-4 win.