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Tour Newcomer Jon Rawlins Goes Undefeated for DFW 9-Ball Tour Win

Jon Rawlins, Fahad Alrawi and Albert Duran

Regional Tours being centered in specific areas of the country, usually attract a regular group of players who are familiar with each other from playing in stops on that tour, as well as other local events. Each stop typically comes down to which of the regulars is playing their best on that particular weekend. Once in a while though, a tour newbie dusts off his cue case and surprises everyone in the field. That was the case at the DFW 9-Ball Tour Tour Stop at Stixx and Stones Billiards in Lewisville, Texas on July 23rd – 24th. 

Jon Rawlins, a regular in nearby Denton Texas, ponied up his $80 to enter his first DFW Tour Stop, and went undefeated through the field of 75 players. Rawlins kicked off the event with a 7-0 win over Jim Dixon and followed that up with wins over Joshua Paredes and Raven Rahman on Saturday. 

Rawlins came back on Sunday and proved that Saturday was no fluke, as he defeated Alberto Nieto Garcia, Rachelle Dytko and Fahad Alrawi to get to the hot-seat match. Rawlins opponent for the hot-seat, Albert Duran, was on a bit of a roll himself. Duran, a Fargo 519 was getting weight from most opponents all weekend. He only needed to use that weight once, defeating Daniel Herring 4-5 in a first round 10-4 race. Duran went on to defeat Blake West, Pedro Mungia, Aaron Fleming, Jamie Welch and Tony Loeper to take his place in the hot-seat match. That hot-seat match was a 6-5 race and Duran would have needed the weight and more as Rawlins scored a 6-2 win to take the hot-seat. 

Duran found Alrawi on the one loss side, and the two competitors went hill-hill before Duran scored the win to earn another shot at Rawlins in the finals. Unfortunately for Duran, the finals were a repeat of the hot-seat match, with Rawlins scoring another 6-2 win for first place. 

The DFW 9-Ball Tour will be back in action on August 20th – 21st at Snookered Billiards in Frisco, Texas. 

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Herring goes undefeated at Stop #2 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Aloysius Yapp, Daniel Herring and Tony Top

As a competitor on a regional tour, when the runner-up of the 2021 US Open 9-Ball Championships, who also finished third at last year’s World 10-Ball Championships and won an event on the CSI Predator US Pro Billiards Series back in September, shows up on the tour’s entrant roster, you have a tendency to pay attention. Pool is all about being in the moment at the tables and avoiding distractions related to who you might or might not have to face somewhere down the line, but when such a competitor pops up on your radar, you do scan the brackets every once in a while. And when you discover that this formidable opponent has only given up five racks through his first 54 games (winning almost nine out of every 10), your focus on the tables may be all well and good, but you do start wondering whether you might be one of the players designated to stop him. 

That said, if you enter a tournament as one of three players at the top of a regional tour’s rankings, you might actually look forward to the challenge. It was Tony Top, who entered last weekend’s event as the number #2 competitor in the tour’s rankings, who met the challenge and stopped one Aloysius Yapp, from what might well have been an undefeated run to the title. Twice, in fact. It was, however, Daniel Herring, the tour’s 2021 Tour Champion, who entered the tournament ranked #5 (5th/6th in the season opener) and finished it in the #1 spot, ahead of Top by just two points. He did that by going undefeated through the field. He didn’t have to face Yapp, but he did down Top twice, in the hot seat and finals. The $1,750-added, Stop# 2 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour drew 80 entrants to Stixx & Stones in Lewisville, TX.

Yapp’s ‘take no prisoners’ run through his first five opponents, as he was racing to 10, included two shutouts (Tina Soto and Miguel Hernandez), two matches in which he gave up two racks (his opening match vs. Jeffrey Cho and later, against Fahad Alrawi) and a single match that allowed Crispian Ng a single rack. All of which put him against Top for the first time, in a winners’ side semifinal. Top, with an opening round bye in his pocket, had gotten by his first four opponents – Jim Dixon, Robbie Cleland, Clint Palaci and Tony Loeper – by an aggregate score of 32-14 (70% game-winning average).

Herring, in the meantime, started his journey to the winners’ circle with wins over Chase Laferney (2), Darrell Smith (4), Matt Dixon (3), Sharik Sayed (5) and TJ Davis (4) and came to his winners’ side semifinal match against Juan Parra, sporting a game-winning average a single percentage point lower than Top’s at 69%. 

Top began his first match against Yapp with five ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 9 and came within a single game of chalking up as many (actual) racks against him in the single match than all five of his previous opponents combined. He sent Yapp to the loss side 4-7. Herring joined him in the hot seat match after downing Parra 7-2. In a straight-up race to 7, Herring claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Top.

On the loss side, Yapp and Parra picked up Matt Wilson and Sharik Sayed, respectively. Wilson was likely not thinking a lot about Aloysius Yapp when he began his eight-match, loss-side winning streak, initiated by Tony Loeper in the second winners’ side round. Like most people who lose an opening round in a large, double-elimination bracket, he was more likely to be focused on surviving the matches right in front of him. If he was bracket-watching at all, he might have noted that the guy who’d sent him to the loss side, Loeper, was progressing as well, and there was a chance, the way the bracket was working out, that he could get an opportunity for a rematch in the quarterfinal. That didn’t happen, because Loeper fell into the 7/8 slot. Wilson chalked up wins #7 & #8 against TJ Davis, double hill, and Denny Sneed 5-6 (Sneed racing to 9) before falling to Yapp 10-2.

Sayed was working on a modest, five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Crispian Ng 8-4 and Loeper 9-3. He joined Yapp in the quarterfinals after eliminating Parra 8-4.

Yapp ended Sayed’s brief loss-side streak 8-4 in the quarterfinals to set up a rematch against Top in the semifinals. Top started this match, as well, with five ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 9. He added four for a second time to end Yapp’s prior-to-him romp through the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball field.

Top now had to turn his attention to winning two matches in a row over Herring, waiting for him in the hot seat. He failed to chalk up two racks against him in what proved to be the only set necessary.  Herring completed his undefeated run 7-1 to claim the event title.

Tour director Monica Anderson thanked the ownership and staff at Stixx & Stones for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Cuetec and associate sponsor Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The next stop #3 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 19-20, will be hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX. 

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Stanley maintains top spot with undefeated win on the Omega Billiard Tour

Doug Pitts, Jesse Hernandez and Rick Stanley

 

Rick Stanley came into the 7th stop on the Omega Billiard Tour as its top player, ahead of Mike Voelkering by 70 points. At the end of that July 15-16, $1,700-added event that drew 64 entrants to Open Table in Azle, TX, Stanley had held on to that top spot, with Voelkering, finishing fourth, maintaining his position in second place. Stanley went undefeated through the field to capture the event title.
 
After four wins each, Stanley and Voelkering went head to head in one of the winners' side semifinals of this most recent event, as Jesse Hernandez (#17 on the tour's rankings list) and Robin Barbour (#16) squared off in the other one. Stanley (racing to 9) sent Voelkering (racing to 7) to the loss side 9-4. Hernandez sent Barbour over 7-3 to join Stanley in the hot seat match. Stanley put an exclamation point onto his victory in the hot seat match by shutting Hernandez out.
 
Over on the loss side, Voelkering opened his loss-side trek against Fahad Alrawi, who'd defeated Chris Rickman, double hill, and Justin Whitehead 5-2 to reach him. Barbour drew Douglas Pitts, who'd been defeated in the opening round of play and was on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak, that would include, most recently, victories over Jay Murillo 7-1 and Luis Lopez 7-4.
 
Voelkering and Pitts advanced to the quarterfinals; Voelkering 7-1 over Alrawi, and Pitts, chalking up loss-side win #8, 7-4 over Barbour. Voelkering's opportunity to gain ranking ground on Stanley was spoiled by Pitts, who won his last match of the weekend with a 7-5 win over Voelkering. Hernandez, though, spoiled any hopes Pitts may have been entertaining about an event victory by defeating him 7-2 in the semifinals.
 
After being shut out in the hot seat match, Hernandez put up a fight in those finals. He managed to chalk up four, but Stanley chalked up his requisite nine, claimed the event title and maintained his top-ranking on the Omega Billiard Tour.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at Open Table, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiards Tour, scheduled for Aug. 5-6, will be hosted by Wizards in Richardson, TX.