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Winters takes GSBT Bar Table 8-Ball title

It was a busy Great Southern Billiard Tour weekend that didn’t finish up until nearly 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning, February 20. By that time, three winners had emerged from three separate tournaments – Timmy Heath winning a 32-entrant bank pool mini-tournament on Friday night, Shannon Murphy coming out on top in a 55-entrant 9-ball tournament (separate report) and Shane Winters (4th in the bank tournament), going undefeated in a $500-added, bar box 8-ball tournament that drew 52 entrants to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH.

There was a lot of crossover between the 8-ball and 9-ball tournaments, which lengthened the process, because in numerous instances, players found themselves waiting for opponents playing in one or the other of the tournaments. Among those who featured in both were Frank Ruby and Ryan Stone, who battled it out in the quarterfinals of the 9-ball tournament. Stone would advance to challenge, but fall to Shannon Murphey in the finals. At the 8-ball tables, Ruby and Stone both advanced to the matches deciding the tie for fifth place, with the potential of meeting again in the quarterfinals. Didn’t happen.

D.J. Holloway and Robert Frost, who finished among those tied for 9th place in the 9-ball tournament, both advanced to the winners’ side final four in the 8-ball tournament and faced each other. Winters, in the meantime, faced Jeremy Seaman. Holloway, a B player, moved into the hot seat match with a 5-2 victory over the A-rated Frost, as Winters sent Seaman west 7-2. Winters got into the hot seat with a 7-3 victory over Holloway, and awaited what turned out to be the return of Seaman.

Seaman moved over and ran into Stone, who’d gotten by Shawn Estes 7-2 and Alex Olinger 7-4. Frost picked up Ruby, who’d defeated Tim Grigsby 6-1 and Clay Carmen 6-4. The quarterfinal replay of the 9-ball event between Stone and Ruby was avoided when Seaman defeated Stone 7-4 and Frost downed Ruby 6-2. Seaman then dodged a double hill bullet with a 7-5 victory over Frost in the quarterfinals (Frost going to 6).

Seaman gave up only a single rack in the semifinal victory that set up a re-match for him against Winters. In a straight-up race to 7 in a true double elimination final, Winters took the opening set to secure the 9-ball event title.

Murphy holds off Stone challenge to go undefeated in GSBT 9-Ball event

They’re like footsteps creeping up behind you, those matches won by loss-side opponents looking to dethrone the occupant of a given tournament’s hot seat. Shannon Murphy heard them on the weekend of February 17-19, as he sat in the hot seat, waiting for Ryan Stone to complete a five-match, loss-side winning streak that propelled him into the finals. Murphy, though, took the opening set of what would have been a true double elimination final and finished the 9-ball segment of the weekend’s activities undefeated. The $1,500-added amateur event drew 55 entrants to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH.

Murphey was the only ‘AA’ player among the winners’ side final four, that included three ‘A’ players – Frank Ruby, Mike Brown and Billy Thorpe. Murphy got into the hot seat match with a commanding 11-1 victory over Thorpe, and was joined by Brown, who’d sent Stone west among the winners’ side final eight and then downed Ruby 9-7. Murphy moved into the hot seat with an 11-5 victory over Brown and sat listening for the footsteps.

Those Ryan Stone footsteps began  on the loss-side with an 11-3 victory over D.J. Holloway and an 11-8 win over Lee Holt, which set him up to face Thorpe. Ruby drew Clay Carmen, who’d downed Joe Pierce 7-2 and James Davis, Jr. 7-7. It was Stone and Ruby advancing to the quarterfinals; Stone with an 11-8 victory over Thorpe, and Ruby advancing 9-7 over Carmen.

With three down and two to go, Stone ended Ruby’s day with an 11-4 victory in the quarterfinals to earn a re-match against Brown in the semifinals. He completed his loss-side journey with a successful rematch victory over Brown 11-7. Murphy, though, put a stop to the winning streak. He took the first of what might have been two, with an 11-7 victory that secured the 9-ball title with an undefeated effort.

Beginning on Friday night, February 17, this GSBT event opened with a 32-player, bank pool mini-tournament, with races to 2 on the winners’ side and 1 on the loss side. Timmy Heath pocketed the first place prize of $300 with a finals victory over T.J. Bach, who went home with $200 for his effort. Greg Putnam finished third ($100) and Shane Winters finished fourth ($40). The weekend also entailed an 8-ball event that drew 52 entrants (see accompanying report).

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked Mike Medley and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Mike Davis Exterminating, Tiger Products and Delta-13 racks.