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Hennessee is Big Man at Big Boi Classic

Jonathan Pinegar

Bobby Jack Conner welcomed players and fans to his room, Peyton’s Place in Knoxville, TN, for the 4th Annual Big Boi Classic.

The $7,500 added event was nine ball played on seven foot Diamonds. Seventy three players put up their $125 entry fees to compete in this double elimination event. The format was alternate breaks with races to 9/7.

Presented by Peyton’s Place and PoolActionTV.com, additional sponsors were Outsville and Rosner Cue Repair as well as special sponsor Formby Painting and Wallcovering.

The event kicked off on Friday night with the players auction, players meeting and draw.

With most players drawing first round byes, Jon (“Hennessee”) Pinegar and Robbie Langford weren’t so lucky – Hennessee pounded Robbie 9-3. His next match was a little tougher but after a battle, David Givens went down 9-7. He blew through his next three opponents – Ricky Chitwood, Chris Gentile and Ryan Williams – all 9-2.

Young gun, Eric Roberts, had also marched through the bracket. After drawing a first round bye, he defeated Arron Kinnunen 9-3 and notched a forfeit over Kenneth Stewart. Next match proved to be tougher but he prevailed over Germany’s Can Salim 9-4. Eric followed this with a victory over Michael Rudd 9-3. Next match was Hennessee – it was a close match but Eric lost 9-7 and headed over to the one loss side while Pinegar moved on to the hot seat match.

The bottom portion of the bracket was filled with killers – Josh Roberts, Shane McMinn, Shannon Murphy, BJ Ussery, Shane Little and another young gun, Kashton Keaton.

BJ started his tear through the bracket with a win over Jason Floore 9-2 and then defeated Shane McMinn, Daniel Autrey, Kelly Green and Adam Pendley – all 9-5.

Josh Roberts was on a similar path – he also drew a first round bye and then spanked Carey Stringfield 9-1. His next victims were Mike Patton 9-5 and Marcus Pendley 9-3 – Kash Keaton went down 9-5.

Josh and BJ then vied for a berth in the hot seat match – BJ took the match 9-7 and Josh headed west.

Meanwhile, after losing his second match to Ussery, McMinn put his head down and barreled through David Head 7-5, Ricky Chitwood 7-6, Robert Wilkerson 7-5, Matt Shaw 7-4, Shannon Murphy 7-5, Michael Rudd 7-0, Ryan Williams 7-0, Josh Roberts 7-4 and Can Salim 7-4. Shane then cooled his heels and awaited the results of the hot seat match.

The hot seat match was a good one but it was Hennessee who took the win 9-5. Ussery then played McMinn to see who would face Jon in the finals. Shane was finally defeated 7-4 and finished with a well-earned third place.

Since this was true double elimination, BJ would have to defeat Hennessee twice to win the tournament but it was not to be. Hennessee won the match 9-5 to claim the title!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Bobby Jack Conner and his staff for laying out the red carpet for all the players and fans. Tournament Director Jason Hill had a team of volunteers helping him out – they included Steve McDonald, Ricky Chitwood and Aaron Kinnunen.

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, Ray Hansen and Mary Kenniston for their excellent commentary.

In addition, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank our fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Formby Painting and Wallcovering, Savage Billiard Apparel, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next event is the $8,000 added Space City Open X at Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX! Featuring 9 Ball Banks, One Pocket, Open 9 Ball, Ladies 9 Ball, Junior 9 Ball as well as an All Around Bonus, the place will be hopping! Hope to see you there!

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Skeens and Hollingsworth split top prizes at 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial in Bristol, TN

Mike Skeens

Prior to this past weekend, Saturday, June 4, the last time Mike Skeens had cashed in an official event of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, was eight days shy of a year ago (June 12, 2021), when he was defeated twice, in a winners’ side semifinal and eventually, the loss-side semifinal by Janet Atwell, owner of the host room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Back at the same room a year later, last Saturday, Skeens went undefeated to the hot seat, downing DJ Brads to claim it, and later, after the semifinals, he and junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth opted out of a final match, leaving Skeens as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial. It was Skeens’ first recorded tour victory, albeit with a no-final-match asterisk. The event drew 52 entrants to Borderline Billiards.

Skeens was no doubt relieved to hear that however his tournament run was to proceed, it would not entail running into Janet Atwell, who didn’t compete in the event, although a run-in versus Clevinger was possible. Skeens advanced through the field to draw Hollingsworth in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Brads squared off against Ricky Bingham in the other one.

With Hollingsworth racing to 9, Skeens defeated him 5-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Brads, who’d sent Bingham to the loss side 6-4. In a straight-up race to 6, Skeens and Brads battled to double hill in what would prove to be the defining match of the event. Skeens prevailed and Brads headed off to the semifinals.

On the loss side, Hollingsworth drew James Brown, who’d rendered a Clevinger/Skeens final matchup impossible when he downed Clevinger 5-2 and then, Doug Schulz 5-5 (Schulz racing to 8) to face Hollingsworth. Bingham picked up Thomas Sansone, who’d defeated Eric Roberts 7-6 (Roberts racing to 9) and Adam Pendley 6-5 (Pendley racing to 9) to reach him.

In the first money round, Bingham eliminated Sansone, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, faced Hollingsworth, who’d also survived a double hill match (9-5), versus Brown. Hollingsworth stopped Bingham’s loss-side run 9-3 in those quarterfinals.

Hollingsworth then spoiled Brads’ bid for a rematch against Skeens by defeating him 9-4 in the semifinals. The decision to split the top two prizes was made and Skeens went into the record books as the official winner of the 3rd Annual Brian James Memorial.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, 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, June 11-12, will be a Scotch Doubles event, hosted by Corner Pocket in Fayetteville, NC. 

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Atencio downs Davis, Jr. twice to claim 10th Annual NC State Open Championships

Jesus Atencio

Norris defeats junior competitor, Bethany Tate twice to win 2nd Annual Ladies Open

Whoever said that “showing up is half the battle” might have had pool in mind and could point to Venezuela’s Jesus Atencio as a case in point. This past Memorial Day weekend (May 28-29), Atencio signed on to the $1,000-added, 10th Annual North Carolina State Open Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and hosted by Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar in Winston-Salem, NC.

Atencio went undefeated through the field of 73 entrants to chalk up his 12th recorded cash payout of the year, but only his first event title. He is moving toward improving on his best recorded earnings year (2021), in which he cashed in 17 events, including victories on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour and the New City Heritage Super Tournament. So, 29 cash finishes in two years, only four of them event victories, and Atencio is halfway toward making 2022 his best recorded earnings year. Primarily by just showing up. 

It was a competitive field, according to Tour Director Herman Parker, and although it did not include the 2021 champion (BJ Ussery), it did include Mike Davis, Jr. who has won the event four times, as well as NC State Championships in other disciplines over the years (8-Ball, 10- Ball). A glance at Davis’ earnings record over the years has its share of event wins, but like Atencio, the lion’s share of it has been the result of “just showing up.” 

Atencio and Davis, who’d last run into each other on a Player Madness Tournament in March, when they were to appear in the event final but opted out and split the top two cash prizes, met twice in the 2022 NC State Open. They advanced from different ends of the bracket to a winners’ side semifinal; Atencio versus Eric Roberts and Davis facing Adam Pendley.

Atencio defeated Roberts 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Davis, who’d sent Pendley west 7-2. Atencio and Davis battled to double hill, before Atencio prevailed to claim the hot seat. 

On the loss side, Roberts and Pendley ran right into their second straight loss. Roberts had picked up Brian White, who’d assured himself a $200 reward for his version of “showing up” by downing Josh Newman 7-5 in the first money round and then, and at least $100 more when he defeated Clint Clark 7-3 to face Roberts. Pendley drew Billy Fowler, who’d run the same early-money-rounds gauntlet, eliminating Danny Farren 7-5 and Michael Robertson 7-3.  

White and Fowler defeated Roberts and Pendley, respectively, both 7-4. Fowler advanced one more step, eliminating White in the quarterfinals 7-5, before having his run ended by Davis in the semifinals, also 7-5.

Atencio completed his second appearance and second win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour with a 7-4 victory over Davis in the finals. 

Norris comes back from hot seat loss to double dip her junior opponent, Bethany Tate

The finalists in the short field of 10 that signed on to the $500-added, 2nd Annual NC State Ladies Open were appearing at opposite ends of their individual “showing up” spectrum. Christy Norris, who’s been showing up longer than her opponent, Bethany Tate has been alive, got to the hot seat match, but found herself facing a former Junior National Champion (at the age of 11 in 2018), a recent winner of the 18 & Under Girls division of the Junior International Championships series in February, and the third-place finisher in the Women’s VA State 10-Ball Championships in April. Norris lost to Tate, but came back to double-dip her in the event’s true double elimination final.

They’d both advanced to winners’ side semifinals against Allie Tilley (for Norris) and Shannon Johnson (for Tate). Norris gave up just a single rack to Tilley, while Tate gave up four to Johnson. Tate claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Norris, not knowing, and arguably not suspecting, that she’d won her last match of the event.

On the loss side, Tilley picked up Lisa Cossette, who’d defeated Bethany Tate’s younger sister, Noelle, double hill, to reach her. Johnson drew Katie Bischoff, who’d eliminated Dorothy Strater, also double hill. 

As had happened in the Open, the competitors who came to the loss side from the winners’ side semifinal, ran right into their second straight loss. Cossette shut out Tilley and in the quarterfinals, faced Bischoff who’d eliminated Johnson 5-3.

Bischoff won the quarterfinal match 5-1 over Cossette before having her very brief loss-side trip stopped by Norris 5-3 in the semifinals. Norris went on to win the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-3 and then allowed Tate only a single rack in the second set to claim the event title 5-1.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, 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, June 4-5, will be the Brian James Memorial, hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

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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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Kuwait’s Al Shaheen Guts Out Wins to Stay Alive at Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Omar Al Shaheen

Omar Al Shaheen’s Wednesday had more twists and turns than a bag of gummi worms.

Just when he looked out of it, he’d bounce back just in time to pull off a win. Just when he appeared a lock to close out a match, the Kuwaiti who finished second to Albin Ouschan at last year’s World Pool Championships stumbled, stammered and allowed his opponent back into the match.

Despite the extra drama, Al Shaheen pulled off a come-from-behind as well as a nearly-blew-it win to advance in the World 10-Ball

Championships at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, defeating Roberto Gomez and Ping-Chung Ko in hill-hill battles on the one-loss side. The Kuwaiti will now play Chris Reinhold Thursday at noon.

Facing Gomez in an 11 a.m. local time match, the two competitors split the first 10 games thanks to a handful of safety exchanges paired with an occasional missed shot. After Gomez tacked on two victories to build a 7-5 advantage and move to within a game of advancing, Al Shaheen broke and ran to cut the lead to a game then used a victorious safety battle to gut out another win and tie the score. As two competitors again traded safeties in the deciding 15th rack, Gomez committed a foul and gave his opponent a wide-open table, which the Kuwaiti took full advantage of by pocketing the remaining balls and sneaking out with an 8-7 win.

Playing against Ko later in the evening, the 2019 World 10-Ball champion turned a missed shot by his opponent into an early 3-1 lead until a missed shot of his own. Suddenly it was Al Shaheen who could do no wrong, mixing in shot making and safety play to win five straight racks and build a 6-3 advantage. Ko would use a missed 8 ball by his opponent to steal a win but Al Shaheen returned serve with a win of his own to climb onto the hill, 7-4. Much like Al Shaheen in his previous match, Ko refused to go away quietly, breaking and running to cut the deficit to 7-5, then taking advantage of a 7 ball which Al Shaheen left on the corner pocket’s shelf to cut the lead to 7-6.

After a lengthy safety exchange in the 14th game, Al Shaheen left another opening for his opponent when he committed a foul by failing to touch a rail with a ball while attempting a safety. Ko cleared the table again to tie the score at 7-7 and send the match to a deciding 15th game in which Al Shaheen had the break. The Kuwaiti pocketed a ball on the opening shot and left the cue ball and 1 ball aligned perfectly for a textbook run out, which Al Shaheen completed to escape near-collapse, 8-7.

While the pool population continues to learn about Al Shaheen and his game, spectators have been familiar with Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton for nearly two decades. Wednesday afternoon, Appleton defeated John Schmidt, 8-4, to advance to the final 32, part of a continued recent resurgence by the Englishman that’s seen him place in the top 10 of last month’s Wisconsin Open as well as earn a runner-up finish in last year’s World Cup of Pool as he

The two competitors battled missed shots and open opportunities throughout the match as they split the first eight games evenly. Appleton claimed the ninth rack to take a 5-4 lead and his opponent left a window of opportunity in the next game when he kicked at the 2 ball, allowing the Hall of Famer to pocket the ball then use a safety on the 3 ball to close out the rack and increase his lead to two games. He added another win when Schmidt failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 11th rack then used another safety exchange after the break to close out the match.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Eric Roberts of Tennessee and Yukio Akagariyama pulled two of the biggest upsets of the tournament Wednesday afternoon. Roberts defeated former World 9-Ball Champion Niels Feijen, 8-4, and Akagariyama took down reigning Ohio Open champion Mario He, 8-5. So, it only made sense that the two of them meet up in the next round.

It turned out to be a match where both struggled to find their top games throughout the match until the end, with Roberts gutting out an 8-7 victory. The two young competitors took turns trading missed balls and chances throughout the match as neither held a lead of more than one game throughout. With Roberts clinging to an 7-6 advantage, Akagariyama broke and ran to tie the match at seven games apiece. Roberts, who had been struggling with shot making throughout the match, saved his best for last, breaking and methodically running the balls off of the table to secure an 8-7 victory.

In other matches of note, Shane Van Boening remained undefeated by defeating Roland Garcia in a hill-hill match and Skyler Woodward was eliminated from the tournament by Max Eberle, 8-7.  Pijus Labutis eliminated reigning World Pool Champion Albin Ouschan, 8-2, and Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski took down Jesus Atencio, 8-4.

Competition resumes today at 10 a.m. local times with notable matches including Alex Kazakis meeting Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Pin-Yi Ko squaring off with Sharik Sayed and Jung-Lin Chang facing Alex Pagulayan.

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 events.

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Roberts and Morphew split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Scott Roberts

Scott Roberts and Cory Morphew haven’t exactly been dormant since the pandemic landed two years ago, though Roberts, in particular, saw his climb up the earnings ladder in the last decade drop a few steps right after he’d chalked up his best recorded earnings year in 2019. For his part, Morphew’s climb up the same ladder has been something of an up-and-down affair, in something of a reverse order. Prior to this past weekend, his best recorded earnings year was his first in 2011. His finish at this past weekend’s stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour (Feb. 19-20) put him $15 over his 2011 figure, and it’s only February.

They split the top two prizes. Roberts went undefeated, downing Morphew in the hot seat match and when Morphew returned from the semifinals, they opted out of a final match at the event that drew 33 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Roberts faced Scott Howard in one of the winners’ side semifinal matches, as Morphew squared off against Chris Cowan. Morphew got into the hot seat match without giving up a rack. Roberts joined him after an 8-4 win over Howard. The hot seat match went double hill before Roberts prevailed to essentially claim the title. 

On the loss side, Eric Roberts (no relation to Scott) and Adam Pendley were both on a seven-match winning streak that would bring them together in the quarterfinals. Cowan drew Roberts, who, at the time, was five matches into his loss-side run that had recently included the elimination of Reid Vance 9-3 and Gary South 9-4. It was Howard who picked up Pendley, six matches into his loss-side run, with recent wins over 14-year-old Niko Konkel 9-1 and in a rematch from the winners’ side, double hill over 12-year-old Jas Makhani. 

Roberts and Pendley advanced to the quarterfinals; Pendley, with his seventh loss-side win, 9-6 over Howard and Roberts with his sixth, 9-3 over Cowan. Roberts then chalked up his seventh loss-side win, downing Pendley 9-6 in those quarterfinals.

The semifinals were a rematch. Morphew had downed Roberts on the winners’ side of the bracket 9-4 and chalked up a second one against him 9-1 for the right to face Scott Roberts a second time. It didn’t happen. They opted out and split the top two prizes, with Roberts, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat laid claim to the event title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 26-27), will be a $500-added event, hosted by the Rock House Grill & Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

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Eric Roberts, sitting in the hot seat, splits with Ussery on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Eric Roberts

Though a junior state champion in both Florida and Tennessee (where he currently resides), a Billiards Education Foundation Junior National Artistic Pool Champion in 2013 (14-and-under division), runner-up in that event twice (2015/2018) and a frequent, cash-winning competitor on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, on which he won his first recorded payout ($50 for 9th place on the tour) five years ago, Eric Roberts, until this past weekend, had yet to chalk up an event title. Technically speaking, because he and BJ Ussery opted out of a final match on the February 13-14 stop on the Q City-9-Ball Tour, he still hasn’t won a title outright. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time he and Ussery came to an agreement on splitting the event’s top two cash prizes this past weekend, though, he does have one of those (*) asterisk event titles to his name. No small feat before you’ve graduated from high school. The tour stop drew 48 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

It was Roberts who sent Ussery to the loss side, downing him 9-1 in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Roberts advanced to face Robert Hamilton in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Mark Hurst squared off in the other one against Dustin Lackey, who’d been runner-up on the tour, two weeks ago. Roberts got into the hot seat match with a 9-5 victory over Hamilton. Hurst joined him after surviving a double hill battle against Lackey. In what proved to be his final match, Roberts claimed his first (recorded) hot seat match on the tour by shutting Hurst out.

On the loss side, Ussery followed his loss to Roberts with victories over Jaxson Hurst (Mark’s son) 12-1 and Hunter White 12-7 to draw Lackey. Hamilton came over and picked up Josh Miller, who’d recently shut out Daniel Shelton and eliminated Travis Guerra 5-4 (Guerra racing to 6).

Ussery ousted White 12-7 and in the quarterfinals, faced Hamilton, who’d gotten by Miller 6-4. Ussery took the quarterfinal match 12-3 over Hamilton and then, punctuating his five-match, loss-side winning streak, shut out Mark Hurst in the semifinals. He and Roberts negotiated the two-cash-prize split and everybody went home.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, AZBilliards, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour continues to battle the varied restrictions and closures of the states it visits in the southeast corner of the US and lost one of those battles in a search for a stop this coming weekend. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for February 27-28, will be hosted by Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC and will be held to benefit local pool player, Alissa Murph, to help offset the cost of her recently-diagnosed battle against cancer. 

Hollingsworth goes undefeated to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championship

Reid Vance, Herman Parker &
Landon Hollingsworth

In the 10 events on the 2020 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour in which he has come away with a cash payout, junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth (15) has never finished lower than 5th, where he’s finished five times. He has finished third, twice and been runner-up, once. This past weekend (Oct. 31-Nov. 1), he became the youngest competitor to ever win the tour’s Tour Championship and in so doing, raised the number of his cash wins on the tour to 11 and his wins to three. The $500-added, 8th Tour Championships (this one, playing out on 9 ft. tables; the tour will host a bar table Tour Championship later in the year) drew 67 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

The event was not without its drama(s). Four of the last 14 matches went double hill, including a winners’ side semifinal match between Hollingsworth and another junior player, Eric Roberts (16) from TN. Hollingsworth was challenged in the finals by Reid Vance, who’d chalked up his first tour win last week (Oct. 24), and faced the competitor he’d faced in the finals, Dustin Coe, in the semifinals this week. Vance won seven on the loss side for the right to face Hollingsworth in the finals of this one.

With Reid already at work on the loss side, sent there by Scott Howard, Howard advanced to a winners’s side semifinal against Coe, while Hollingsworth and Roberts set up for the ‘battle of young ‘uns’ in the other one. With Howard racing to 7, Coe sent him to the loss side 6-5. Roberts, racing to 8, took an early lead against Hollingsworth, but Hollingsworth fought back and forced a deciding game, which he won to claim the hot seat 7-7.

On the loss side, Roberts picked up Raed Shabib, who’d defeated Suede Smith 10-3 and Charles Hartung 10-4 to reach him. Howard ran into Vance, who was four matches into his seven-match, loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Zach Wilson 7-4 and Rudy Hess 7-1.

Vance downed Howard 7-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Raed Shabib got way out in front against the youngster Roberts and racing to 10, was on the hill, ahead by 8 at 9-1. In what was certainly one of the most entertaining matches of the event, Roberts came back to win seven in a row and snatch victory from those proverbial jaws of defeat.

The kid from Tennessee got wrapped up in a second straight double hill battle; this time, against Vance in the quarterfinals. Vance, racing to 7, eliminated Roberts (racing to 8) 7-7.

The winner (Vance) and runner-up (Coe) from the previous week’s event squared off in the subsequent semifinals. One would have thought that this would have been another ‘high drama’ moment, but it didn’t turn out that way. Vance shut Coe out 7-0 for a shot at another youngster, Hollingsworth, laying in wait for him in the hot seat.

The finals didn’t embrace any high drama, either, beyond that of Hollingsworth completing the undefeated run that awarded him his first Tour Championship title. He accomplished that with a 7-3 win over Vance in the only set necessary in the true double elimination final.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, JB Magic Templates, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 7-8), will be hosted by Randolph Billiards in Hickory, NC.