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Former Champions First To Enter 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship

Joshua Filler (JP Parmentier)

A host of former US Open 9-Ball Champions are among the first players to have entered the 2020 event, which will take place at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Convention Center from April 13-18.
 
Germany’s Joshua Filler will bid to become only the fifth player to successfully defend the prestigious title. The World No.1 was imperious as he won the Barry Behrman Trophy for the first time in Vegas in April and if he takes his 2019 form into 2020 will undoubtedly be one of the favourites again.
 
The $375,000 event offers free entry to all previous champions and American greats like Earl Strickland and Shane Van Boening have already signed up. The pair share the record for having won five US Open 9-Ball titles and will be joined in Vegas by fellow American former champions Jeremy Jones, Corey Deuel, Gabe Owen and John Schmidt, who recently ran 626 balls to break Willie Mosconi’s 526 record.
 
Jayson Shaw lifted the trophy in 2017 and will look to win it back next year, while his fellow Brit Darren Appleton will be on the hunt for his third US Open 9-Ball success. Finland’s Mika Immonen completes the list of European former champions who will compete at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino next April.
 
Alex Pagulayan reached the quarter-finals of this year’s US Open 9-Ball and will have his eyes set on another deep run in 2020, while Kevin Cheng has also confirmed his place as he hunts for a second title.
Player entries for the 2020 Open 9-Ball Championship are open now at www.matchroompool.com. Player entry fees remain at $1,000 and former champions receive free entry to the event. After sold-out crowds, record TV ratings and a full field of 256 players for the 2019 US Open 9-Ball Championship, players are encouraged to enter the 2020 Championship early to avoid disappointment.
 
Prize money payouts will start from 97th place, with players reaching this stage receiving $1,000. Those who successfully progress from the double elimination stage will earn at least $5,000 with quarter-finalists taking home $7,750, semi-finalists earning $15,000 and the runner-up to be paid $30,000.
 
Spectator tickets for the 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship will go on sale on Friday, September 13th with full details including pricing to be announced shortly.
 
The 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship will be partnered by Diamond, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip.

Draw Made For US Open 9-Ball Championship

The draw for the 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship has been made, with Jayson Shaw to begin his defense against Marcus Weston at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas on Sunday, April 21.
 
The draw was seeded with a golf-style category system adopted, which took in rankings from across the pool world including WPA World Ranking, BCA Standings and Fargo Rating. As defending champion Shaw was seeded No.1, while five-time US Open champion Shane Van Boening is seeded second as the highest ranked American player.
 
Broadcast details for the 2019 US Open 9-Ball Championship will be announced shortly. Live rack-by-rack scoring will be available throughout the event at www.matchroompool.com thanks to Matchroom Multi Sport’s partnership with CueScore.
 
The draw, brackets and match schedule can be viewed now at https://cuescore.com/tournament/US+Open+9-ball+Championship/5185877
 
Note: Should any players featured in the draw not participate in the event, they will be replaced directly by the first player on the event waiting list to accept a spot in the tournament, irrespective of where the new player would have featured in any seeding category.
 
All matches at the US Open 9-Ball Championship takes place April 21-26 at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas. Matches are race to 11, winner breaks, except the final which is race to 13. The draw and match schedule for the first stage of the tournament is available now at www.matchroompool.com.
 
Tickets for the 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship are still available at www.matchroompool.com from as little as $10 with VIP packages also available for the final three days of the tournament.
 
The tournament will be split into two stages with the full field playing double elimination down to the final 16 from Sunday April 21st until Tuesday April 23rd across multiple tables. From Wednesday April 24th until Friday April 26th the final 16 players will play straight knockout in the TV Arena in front of a global television audience.
 
US OPEN | ROUND ONE DRAW
 
Jayson Shaw vs. Marcus Westen
Tom Staveley vs.Jason Williams
Hunter Lombardo vs. Kosuke Tojo
Radwan Jameel R Sorouji vs. Tommy Tokoph
Naoyuki Oi vs. Marco Vignola
Alex Montpellier vs. Jason Klatt
Martin Daigle vs. Patrick Flemming
Angelo Salzano vs. Corey Deuel
Petri Makkonen vs. Marcel Price
Peter Busarac vs. Amar Kang
Franklin Hernandez vs. Ellis Brown
Paul Jaurez vs. Justin Bergman
James Aranas vs. Roderick Malone
Masato Yoshioka vs. Erik Hjorleifson
Stephen Folan vs. Jochen Kluge
Jon Demet vs. Toru Kurabayashi
Fedor Gorst vs. Gary Onomura
Stanley Walton vs. Paul Duell
Omar Al-Shaheen vs. David Dimmitt
Amer Al-Darbani vs. Mateusz Sniegoki
Dali Lin vs. Fabio Rizzi
Jason Hitzfeld vs. Jeremy Jones
Philipp Stojanovic vs. Steve Van Ness
Dalibor Nikolin vs. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz
(Kevin) Cheng Yu Hsuan vs. Christopher Lawson
Mohammed Ali N Al Eid vs. Ivo Aarts
Rodney Morris vs. Ken Kuwana
Deomark Alpajora vs. Radoslaw Babica
Marc Bijsterbosch vs. Ritchie Ogawa
Gary Urinoski vs. Danny Olson
Toan Nguyen vs. Bahram Lofty
Giuseppe Iacobucci vs. Ko Pin-Yi
Carlo Biado vs. Fahad Salem N Alharbi
Kenichi Uchigaki vs. Tyler Fleshman
Matt Edwards vs. Marco Penta
Hideaki Arita vs. Maksim Dudanets
Jeff De Luna vs. Torsten Schmitt
Chris Robinson vs. Rob Hart
Marco Teutscher vs. Raymund Faraon
Yip Kin Ling Leo vs. Dennis Orcollo
David Alcaide vs. Jorg Kellner
Blake Baker vs. Mitch Ellerman
Siming Chen vs. Mohamed Baabad
Jamal Oussi vs. Hoang Duong Quoc
Liu Haitao vs. Patrick Griess
Mike Stalk vs. John Schmidt
Justin Espinosa vs. Nguyen Phuc Long
Koh Yong Lee Randolph vs. Eklent Kaci
Ko Ping-Chung vs. Sami Koylu
Cole Gibbons vs. Brian Sanders
Brandon Shuff vs. Michael Yednak
Robert Hewings vs. Michael Dechaine
Konrad Juszczyszyn vs. John Chapman
Luis Guerrero vs. Hayato Hijikata
Kenny Loftis vs. Corey Harper
Michael Hutcheson vs. Thorsten Hohmann
Johnny Archer vs. Kurt Kobayashi
Konrad Piekarski vs. Roberto Gomez
Jani Siekkinen vs. Damian Pongpanik
Bora Anar vs. Alex Pagulayan
Sangin Pehlivanovic vs. Bryan Farah
Ching-Shun Yang vs. Milos Verkic
Kings Santy vs. Michael Delawder
Jason McClain vs. Alexander Kazakis
Joshua Filler vs. Matt Krah
Thomas Welle vs. David Anderson
Jalal Yousef vs. Henrik Larsson
Tom Griffith vs. Roman Hybler
Jeffery Ignacio vs. Lefteris Georgiou
James Davee vs. Kostas Koukiadakis
Hsu Kai-Lun vs. Adam King
Ralph Eckert vs. Mika Immonen
Wu Kun Lin vs. Kuo Szu-Ting
Kang Lee vs. Ernesto Dominguez
Darren Appleton vs. Terry Spalding
Patrick Holtz vs. Richard Halliday
Tyler Styer vs. Kelii Chuberko
Che-Wei Fu vs. Josh Roberts
John Barton vs. Zachary Bos
Johann Dominik Hiber vs. Wu Jiaqing
Dennis Grabe vs. Lee Heuwagen
Jeffrey Jimenez vs. Ronald Regli
Liu Ri Teng vs. Gwyn Spooner
Arnar Peterson vs. Chang Yu-Lung
Wang Can vs. Dejan Sipkovski
Jonathan Mcdowell Pakieto vs. Francisco Bustamante
Max Eberle vs. Robert Goddard
Florida Pro Tour vs. Aloysius Yapp
Skyler Woodward vs. Luu Minh Phuc
Stephen Holem vs. Imran Majid
Jason Theron vs. Katsuyuki Yamamoto
Stan Tourangeau vs. Ruslan Chinakov
Wojciech Szewczyk vs. Renato Camantigue
James Adams vs. Marek Kudlik
Brendan Ng vs. Paddy McLoughlin
Brian Parks vs. Niels Feijen
Chang Jung-Lin vs. Roland Stock
John Moody Sr vs. Adam Lilley
Nick Malaj vs. Dimitri Jungo
Francesco Candela vs. Tomasz Kaplan
Mario He vs. Michael Pruitt
Cheng-Chieh Liu vs. Tommy Kennedy
Vilmos Foldes vs. Marc Vidal Claramunt
Max K Reyes vs. Billy Thorpe
Dang Jin Hu vs. Ben Crawley
Jamie White vs. Tony Chohan
Gabe Owen vs. Gary Lutman
Elliot Sanderson vs. Robbie Capito
Warren Kiamco vs. Mark Showalter
Brendon Bektashi vs. Hsu Jui-An
Patrick Mannillo vs. Melinda Huang
Ryo Yokawa vs. Chris Melling
Ralf Souquet vs. Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan
Seiji Kuwajima vs. Simon Pickering
Earl Strickland vs. Pedro Botta
Steve Lingelbach vs. Dennis Hatch
Donny Mills vs. Eugene Villena
Mark Foster vs. Shaun Wilkie
Kim Laaksonen vs. Chris Alexander
Steven Lingafelter vs. Albin Ouschan
John Morra vs. Marco Spitzky
Adam Mscisz vs. Marlon Manalo
Alejandro Carvajal vs. Dustin Dixon
Philipps Yee vs. Johann Chua
Mieszko Fortunksi vs. Chris McDaniel
Robby Foldvari vs. Yukio Akagariyama
Manny Perez vs. Nicolas Charette
Abdullah Saeed O Alshammari vs. Shane van Boening

Aranas goes undefeated to win Diamond 10-Ball Pro Players Championship at 27th SBE

James Aranas (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

With just a touch of exaggeration, in about as much time as it takes to state the official tournament name – The 27th Annual Allen Hopkins’ Super Billiards Expo’s Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championships (or, AHSBEDO10-BPPC), held on the last weekend in March at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA – Zoren “James” Aranas from the Philippines went undefeated through a full field of 64 entrants to capture the event title, its $10,000 first-place prize and the Waterford Crystal trophy that went along with it. Aranas had won last year’s SBE ProAm Bar Box Championships. The trek to the winners’ circle entailed seven matches for Aranas; the first three, in a double elimination bracket that advanced him to a single-elimination, final round of 16 that featured four matches. He faced Oscar Dominguez in the finals, who played one extra loss-side match, which advanced him to the final 16, and eventually, after winning three, earned his slot in the finals against Aranas.
 
With some overlap (players in multiple events), the 2019 SBE drew over 3,000 entrants to its 11 events, which included a warm-up event, a Second Chance event and two junior events. A separate report will be posted regarding the results of the Ladies Open Event (47 entrants), the ProAm Bar Box Championships (32), the Open Amateur (1,024 entrants), Open Seniors (384), Super Seniors (192) and Women Amateurs (188). According to Allen Hopkins, it was the highest attendance figure in the event’s 27-year history.
 
There were, this year, a number of pro players, who were conspicuous by their absence, including (in the 10-Ball Open) the defending champion, Mike Dechaine, who, after registering, had to bow out for personal reasons. As a random example of those among the missing, of the 10 players who competed in the 2018 Mosconi Cup for the European and American teams, only three (all Americans) competed in this year’s SBE. All five of the European 2018 Mosconi Cup team members (as well as recent German ‘phenom,’ Joshua Filler) and two of the Americans (Shane Van Boening & Skyler Woodward) spent the same weekend in close proximity to the Rock of Gibraltar, competing in the 27th annual Dafabet World Pool Masters Championship, which featured a total prize fund ($100,000) that was over twice the total prize fund ($48,000) for the SBE’s marquee event – the Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championship – and featured less than half the players (24) of the SBE event (64). Last year’s World Pool Masters event was held in the first week of March and there is little or no information as to why that date was changed in a way that conflicted with the (scheduled way ahead of time) SBE.
 
The end result more or less allowed Aranas to navigate his way through a field that, for him, did not feature anyone with a higher FargoRate and no one closer than 20 points on that scale. With a FargoRate of 805 (going in), Aranas’ average opponent (of the seven he faced) had a FargoRate of 740. His closest competitor in that regard was Mika Immonen (785) and Aranas opened his seven-match run against a competitor (Matt Krah) with a 677 rating. It should be noted that pool has something of an “Any Given Sunday” rule, which dictates that at the upper levels of competition, with players sporting wide disparities in FargoRates, anything can and often does happen. This is not to say that Aranas wasn’t challenged in his seven-match march to the finish line, because he was, primarily in the single elimination phase of the event.
 
Though he would enter the finals with a 66.3% game-winning average (69-35), Aranas’ average over the three matches in the single elimination phase of the event was 59% (39-27). Once Aranas had sent Matt Krah to the loss side 10-1 in the double-elimination opening round, he went on to defeat Hunter Lombardo 10-5 and Jeremy Sossei 10-2, which moved him among the winners’ side final eight for advancement to single elimination. Joining him on the winners’ side final eight were ‘young gun’ Chris Robinson, Mika Immonen, Martin Daigle, Roberto Gomez, Jason Klatt, Ralf Souquet and Raymund Faraon, who’d just sent Oscar Dominguez to the loss side 10-7.
 
Dominguez opened his runner-up campaign by defeating Tommy Tokoph 10-8, and then, downing Jeremy Seaman 10-7. Raymund Faraon then sent him to the loss side 10-7, where he defeated Mahmut Sami Koylu 10-2 to qualify for the losers’ bracket final eight. Joining him from the loss side of the bracket among the Final 16 were John Morra, Thorsten Hohmann, Mosconi Cup USA team member Tyler Styer, Zion Zvi, another Mosconi Cup team member Billy Thorpe, Shaun Wilkie and Omar Alshaheen.
 
The final 16 featured two former US Open 9-Ball Champions – two-time champion Mika Immonen (‘08/’09) and Ralf Souquet (2002). Among those who competed, and conspicuous by their absence from the event’s final 16, were four other US Open champions; Johnny Archer (1999), Tommy Kennedy (1992), Corey Deuel (2001) and Gabe Owen (2004). Also MIA from the final 16 were Tony Robles, and Billy Thorpe. Former two-time US Open champion Darren Appleton (‘10/’11) was among the original 64 competitors, but after winning his opening round 10-8 over Robert Casanzio, he learned that his mother had passed away and went home to be with his family.
 
The first four to drop from the winners’ side final eight were Chris Robinson (to Aranas 13-11), Martin Daigle (to Immonen 13-9), Jason Klatt (to Gomez 13-7) and Ralf Souquet (to Faraon 13-5). This set up a winners’ side bracket set of semifinals that saw Aranas down Immonen 13-5, as Faraon eliminated Gomez 13-7. In the winners’ side final, Aranas defeated Faraon 13-11.
 
To the best of our knowledge, linked to the accuracy of SBE’s published brackets, there were only 12 matches in this entire event that went to double hill. As it turned out, Thorsten Hohmann was involved in three of them. Two of those three occurred during his three-match run among the final 16. He was one of the four who advanced to the losers’ bracket semifinal, defeating John Morra, double hill (the SBE Web site has this match result wrong). It was Hohmann’s second, double hill match; his first was in the event’s opening round against Chris Robinson. Hohmann’s losers’ bracket, semifinal opponent was Tyler Styer, who’d defeated Zion Zvi 13-16. Oscar Dominguez, in the meantime, bound for the event finals, had gotten by Billy Thorpe 13-9 and in his losers’ side semifinal, faced Omar Alshaheen, who’d eliminated Shaun Wilkie 13-6.
 
Dominguez downed Alshaheen 13-6 and in the twelfth and final double hill match of this Pro Players Championship, Oscar Dominguez eliminated Hohmann in a true, nail-biting, double hill match that never for a moment seemed in complete control by either of them.
 
For those seeking further information about the match specifics of any individual players or a more thorough understanding of the overall progress of the event toward its eventual outcome, you can visit the Super Billiards Expo Web site (superbilliardsexpo.com). You should be made aware, however, that while it features a preliminary, double elimination bracket that shows the final 16 that advanced to single-elimination play, and the winners’ and losers’ side brackets of that single-elimination play, it does not indicate that a final match between Aranas and Dominguez ever happened.
 
It did. Aranas completed his undefeated run with 13-10 victory over Dominguez (another very entertaining match) to claim the 2019 AHSBEDO10-BPPC.
 
Allen Hopkins thanked the management staff of the Greater Philadelphia Convention center, as well as his two tournament directors; Doug Ennis for the two Pro events and C.C. Strain for the Pro Am Bar Box and all Amateur events. Sponsors for this 27th Annual SBE were Tiger Products, Diamond Billiards Products, Simonis Cloth, TAP League and Run Out Sportswear.

Smith Lights Up Space City Open VI

Danny Smith

Danny “The Shredder” Smith captured his first-ever Space City Open 9-Ball title, plowing through an 83-player field, undefeated, besting Roberto “Superman” Gomez in the first set of the true double elimination final, 9-3. Josh Roberts went undefeated in the 40-player, one pocket division, ousting John Morra in the first set, 3-2, taking home his first Space City Open One Pocket title. Jeremy “Double J” Jones went undefeated in the 9-ball banks division, taking down Tommy Tokoph in the first set, 3-2, earning himself a whopping fourth, banks division title. Wrapping up four long days of match play, the ladies 9-ball concluded on Sunday, with Gail “Virginia Slim” Eaton defeating Ming “The Empress” Ng, to capture her second, Space City Open title. 
 
In its sixth year, the four-day, four-division, $6,000 added Space City Open VI (SCO) was held at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas, November 30th – December 3rd, 2017, featuring top players from across America. This year’s line-up featured a cast of new talent, including Danny Smith, Roberto Gomez, John Morra, Jason Brown, and Kelly Isaac, along with numerous others. Admission was free, and fans enjoyed four days of top-notch pool, provided by world-class players.
 
In the 9-ball division, Danny Smith obliterated the field with wins over Marlin Griffith, 9-4, J.C. Torres, 9-3, Jeremy Jones, 9-7, and Alex Calderone, 9-4, while Jason “Jaybird” Brown took down Taylor Hobbs, 9-8, Curt Sheldon, Josh Roberts, 9-8, and James Davis, Jr., 9-2. Two-time Space City Open 9-Ball Champion, Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant, made his way to the final four with victories over Mike Wilson, 9-2, David Twitty, 9-6, Kevin Guimond, 9-0, and Cesar Arechiga, 9-2, while Roberto “Superman” Gomez overcame Kenneth Price, 9-6, Randy Nickerson, 9-3, Chase Rudder, 9-5, and John Morra, 9-2. On the one loss side, Tommy Tokoph took out Roberts, 7-3, and Jones eliminated former pro C.J. Wiley, 7-1, while Yovani Salvia ousted Rudder, 7-4, and Jeff Chauncey destroyed Guimond, 7-1. Back on the east side, Gomez bested Bryant, 9-6, while Smith overwhelmed Brown, 9-4. Smith ran away with the hot seat match, defeating Gomez, 9-2. The one loss side witnessed Morra overpower Tokoph, 7-1, and Jones handily defeat Arechiga, 7-0. Davis, Jr. ended Rudder, 7-6, while Guimond dusted off Calderone, 7-4. Morra went on to eliminate Jones, 7-4, and Brown, 7-1, while Guimond overcame Davis, Jr., 7-3. Bryant squeezed by Guimond, 7-6, rounding out the final four players in the division. Morra was on a role, taking out Bryant, 7-2, to win his fourth match on the one loss side. He was stopped short by Gomez, 7-1, finishing in a respectable, third place. Gomez earned himself a rematch with Smith, and “The Shredder” was ready. With his spot-on break, it was a short-lived set for Gomez, much like the first. Smith shot out of the gate and never looked back, capturing the first set, 9-3, and his first, Space City Open 9-Ball title.
 
[photo id=48363|align=right]Last year, Josh Roberts finished runner-up in the one pocket division, but this year he came out on top.  Roberts ran through a 40-player field, undefeated, booking wins over Jim McCary, Adam Cooper, and Ted Reeves, 3-1, while John Morra overcame Gabe Owen, Marvin Diaz, 3-0, and Sylver Ochoa, 3-1. Houston’s Ernesto Bayaua made his way to the final four with wins over Cliff Joyner, Dallas’ Gerardo Perez, 3-0, and Roberto Gomez, 3-1, while Justin Whitehead overwhelmed Curt Sheldon, 3-0, Corey Flud, 3-0, and Kent Berthelot, 3-1. On the one loss side, Davis, Jr. eliminated Ochoa, 3-1, Brown defeated Reeves, 3-0, and Diaz ended Berthelot, 3-1. Following an early hit at the hands of Roberts, Jeremy Jones won four matches, including victories over Jeff Bramblet, 3-0, Jeff Chauncey, 3-1, and Gomez, 3-1. As the final eight took shape, winners’ side matches witnessed Roberts edge out Morra, 3-2, and Whitehead dust off Bayaua, 3-1. Roberts wasted little time with Whitehead, capturing the hot seat, 3-0. Back on the west side, Brown denied Ochoa, 3-0, and Bayaua, 3-2, while Jones squeezed by Diaz, 3-2, falling in turn to Morra, by the same score.  Morra made quick work of Whitehead, 3-0, moving on to Roberts, and the finals. In the first set, players were neck and neck. Tied at two a piece, an unforced error by Morra sealed his fate, and Roberts ended the set to secure his first, Space City Open One Pocket title.
 
Kicking off the four-day, billiard extravaganza, was the 26-player, 9-ball banks division, witnessing former Mosconi Cup MVP and former U.S. Open Champion, Jeremy Jones, capture his fourth Space City Open Banks title. Jones blazed a path through Kent Berthelot, 3-0, Gail Eaton, 3-0, and Roberto Gomez, 3-1, while Tommy Tokoph handled Ricki Casper, 3-0, former U.S. Open runner-up, Tan Hoa, 3-2,  and Scotty Evans, 3-1. Former U.S. Open Champion, Gabe Owen, checked off Alfred Flores, 3-0, Richie Richeson, 3-0, and Jason “Jaybird” Brown, 3-1, while Cliff Joyner overwhelmed Beaumont’s Carl Honey, 3-0, Will Felder, 3-1, and Alan Myers, 3-1. On the one loss side, John Morra took out Berthelot, while Roberto Gomez ousted James Davis, Jr., 3-1. Canadian Alex Olinger ended Alan Myers, 3-2, while Josh Roberts handled Jason Brown, 3-1. Down to the final eight, on the east side, Jones defeated Tokoph, 3-1, and Owen slid by Joyner, 3-1. In a speedy, hot seat match, Jones crushed Owen, 3-0. Back on the west side, Gomez eliminated Morra, but fell to Joyner, 3-1, while Roberts took out Myers, 3-0, falling to Tokoph in the next round, 3-0. Tokoph was on the war path, sending home Joyner, 3-2, and Owen, 3-2, reaching Jones, and the finals. Players teed off, both keeping pace as the set progressed. Tied at two a piece, Jones inched ahead in the final game, closing out the set to defend his 2016 title and secure his fourth banks title.
 
[photo id=48362|align=right]Wrapping up Space City, 24 women battled it out on Sunday for over $2,400 in cash in the ladies 9-ball division. Gail “Virginia Slim” Eaton came out firing, ousting Terry “The Terrorizer” Petrosino, Calaia Jackson, 7-1, and Toledo’s Kelly Isaac, 7-6, whiLe Ming “The Empress” Ng made her way to the final four with wins over Cindy Ferry, Nayla Hoak, and Joyce Davis. Angleton’s Brandi Booth came out firing, securing victories over Ricki Casper, 7-3, and Robyn Petrosino, 7-6, while Teresa “The Princess of Pool” Garland took down Alicia Huff, 7-5, and Yvonne Asher, 7-1. On the west side, Isaac eliminated Denton’s Amy Jones, 5-2, and T. Petrosino reined in Davis, 5-3.  Natalie Mans squeezed by Asher, 5-4, and R. Petrosino extinguished Yvonne Ramirez, 5-2. Down to the final eight, east side action saw Isaac eliminate T. Petrosino, 5-3, and Garland, 5-4, while Mans dusted off R. Petrosino, 5-1, in turn, falling  to Ng, by the same score. Ng went on to eliminate Isaac, 5-4, and Booth, 5-1, earning herself a rematch with Eaton. In the first set of the true, double elimination final, Ng served Eaton her first loss, 7-6, and the finals ventured into overtime. Players displayed poise and composure in the late hour, but only one player could wear the crown. Players fought for every game, but it was Eaton who pulled ahead to end the second set, 5-3, capturing her second, Space City Open 9-ball title. 
 
The Space City Open extends a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who supported this event; Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, along with owners David and Shannon Richardson, the entire Bogies’ staff, assistant tournament director, John Newsome, Simplified Electronics, APA of North Harris County, Gulf War Veteran Mike McDonald, Ozone Billiards, and Outsville Billiards. “Special Supporters” of this event included Mark Stubbs, Glen Benton, Ted Reeves, Adam Cooper, Richard Holstein, Richard “Black Diamond” Stuart, and Art Politte. This year’s event featured booths by Jerry Olivier Cues and Cue Repair, Joe Salazar Connoisseur of Custom Cues, Champions Cues, Bryant Billiards, and Q-Xtender.com.
 
Space City Open VII is set for December 6th-9th, 2018. For sponsorship information, please contact Kim Newsome at 713.825.1411, or email lonestartour@gmail.com. 

More Stars Hit the Doors at U.S. Open

Earl Strickland (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Shane Van Boening proved a one man wrecking crew yesterday as he took both K.L. Hsu and Ronnie Alcano out of the tournament with scores of 11-4 and 11-7. Jonathan Pinegar took out Imran Majid 11-10 and then lost to Joshua Filler 11-7.
 
It was Nick Van Den Berg who exited Oscar Dominguez 11-8 and Dennis Orcollo took down Johan Chua 11-9. Today Orcollo must face Warren Kiamco.  Wu Jia-Qing ended the run for Ko-Pin Yi 11-8 and Mika Immonen sent Johnny Archer packing 11-7. Justin Bergman came out on top over James Aranas 11-9.
 
Earl Strickland had two  close shaves but prevailed in both matches 11-10. His first victim was Gabe Owen and the  second was Kevin Cheng, our 2015 U.S. Open Champion. Earl has been in gear all week and faces Chris Melling next.
 
Skyler Woodward is shooting unbelievably well. He can’t seem to miss. Yesterday he dominated Dennis Hatch 11-4 and will  face Martin Daigle next. 
 
Still undefeated in the field are Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Naoyuki Oi. Oi defeated Alex Pagulayan who made a heroic comeback after being down 7-0 only to lose 11-10. Eklant Kaci continues his spotless record with an 11-8 win over Darren Appleton and Corey Duel sent Albin Ouschan left 11-6. P.C. Ko and Thorsten Hohmann are both still spotless but will face one another next.
 
Jayson Shaw took down Akagariyama 11-3 and will play Billy Thorpe today after a controversial win by Thorpe. Thorpe was playing Carlo Biado when the play-by-play announcers announced he had fouled the six ball. But the referee was unable to confirm the foul as he was unable to see it and so escaped the foul call. He went on to win 11-10 over a very disheartened Biado who felt he had been cheated in the match.
 
Today all the matches are great ones. Follow the coverage at Accu-Stas.com for the live stream and right here on AZB for the live scoring and brackets.
 

Thorpe downs Van Boening twice to go undefeated in 2nd Annual Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic

Billy Thorpe (Photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

As happened last year in its debut, the 2nd Annual Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic benefited from its temporal proximity to the US Open 9-Ball Championships. Both years, players from all over the country and around the world, already in-country to compete in the Open, used the Dismal Swamp event as a warm-up and potential means of filling up their financial 'gas tank' prior to the Open.
 
 
This year, the $2,000-added event drew a full field of 32 entrants, including its defending champion, Shane Van Boening, who defeated Oscar Dominguez in the finals of the 1st Annual Dismal Swamp Classic. Held on the weekend of October 14-15, at Colonial Cues in Elizabeth City, NC, about an hour away from Norfolk, VA, the event yielded something of a surprise winner in Billy Thorpe, who defeated the defending champion twice to claim the title.
 
 
Thorpe, in the middle of his best year, financially, to date, had yet to win an event in 2016, though he had placed among the top five in a series of major tournaments, including all three of the US Bar Box Championships (10-Ball, third place/4th in 8-ball & 9-ball), the 3rd Memphis Open One Pocket (third), the Derby City Classic 9-Ball Banks (4th), the Chinook Winds Open 8-Ball (fifth), and the 34th Brickyard Classic (5th). His last recorded tournament victory came in October, 2014 at the eighth stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour.
 
 
Though Van Boening put up a fight, twice, Thorpe won both of their meetings to claim the title. Of the four competitors who made it to a winners' side semifinal on this weekend, three were former US Open Champions; Van Boening (2012/13/14), Gabe Owen (2004) and Tommy Kennedy (1992). Thorpe and Van Boening met first in the hot seat match after Van Boening had sent Owen to the loss side 8-6 and Thorpe had dispatched Kennedy over 8-5. Their first meeting was a double hill battle, during which Thorpe made a "ridiculous bank shot" to win the deciding game.
 
 
On the loss side, Kennedy picked up Ramil Gallego, who'd defeated Eddie Abraham and newcomer female sensation Chezka Centeno to reach him. Owen drew Vilmos Foldes, who'd eliminated Jeremy Sossei and Oscar Dominguez (Oscar's father, Ernesto, had been eliminated by Centeno in the previous round).
 
 
Kennedy downed Gallego 8-6 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Foldes joined him after a winning double hill effort against Owen. Kennedy and Foldes fought to double hill before Kennedy finished it. He and Van Boening then locked up in what was most certainly one of the weekend's marquee matchups in the semifinals. It went double hill before Van Boening advanced for a second shot against Thorpe.
 
 
The two came within a game of double hill. To the surprise of many, though possibly not all, it was Thorpe who pulled out in front, late in the match, to win it 11-9, at approximately 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.
 
 
And it was off, for most of the 32 participants, to the US Open.

U.S. Open Championships Begin

Chezka Centeno in action
©JP Parmentier

Day one of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships is now in the books. Opening rounds in large events present few surprises as the heavyweights have by and large not yet run into one another. But there are always matches that stand out for one reason or the other.

 

Former U.S. Open Champion (2004) Gabe Owen ran into Taiwanese powerhouse Ching Shun Yang and wound up wounded 11-2. In his defense, Owen is now a One Pocket player who does not spend as much time in this discipline as he once did, but the performance of Yang is not to be diminished. He just kept connecting the dots and dominated throughout the match.

 

One great matchup found Ralf Souquet facing Wang Can of China. This one was close, but in the end the experience of Souquet ruled the day as he walked away a winner at 11-9. Then Earl Strickland had a great match with Jeremy Jones, and these two former Open Champions battled down to the same scoreline as Jones took the win 11-9.

 

Probably the crowd favorite match of the day came when 17-year old Filipino powerhouse Chezka Centeno came to the show table to play James Blackburn. We in the States had been hearing of this amazing young lady and now we had the chance to watch her work. Work she did. She breaks the balls like a cannon, once driving all 9 balls above the side pocket. But her break is not the best part of her game. That is reserved for her stroke. Her stroke is powerful, fluid and compact. We estimate her wrist moves only 8 inches or so from back pause to follow-through but it is just a thing of beauty. Her acceleration is perfect and she commands the cue ball like few you have ever seen. The object balls split the pocket and the cue ball seems to know exactly where to go after each stroke. If you have not seen this young lady play you are in for a treat when you do. She won the match 11-4.

 

The Open continues play today at 10:30 AM and there are lots of great matches that everyone is anticipating. Accu-Stats had technical difficulties yesterday but they are hard at work instituting cures and should be back online some time today. Check them out at www.accu-stats.com and join us at the Open!

 

 

Colonial Cues Announces 2nd Annual Great Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic

Colonial Cues

While the place to be for every pool fan in America will be Norfolk Virginia from October 16th – 22nd, the place to be on October 14th – 15th will be 45 miles south of Norfolk at Colonial Cues in Elizabeth City North Carolina for the Great Dismal Swamp 9-Ball Classic. 
 
This will be the second running of the event, which will feature some of the most talents 9-ball players in America competing for $10,000 in guaranteed prize money. 
 
Last year, Shane Van Boening came out on top of a sold out field of 17 players from 6 countries. Due to overwhelming response from players, the owners have decided to expand the field to 32 players and make it a 2 day event. While the prize money has doubled, the entry fee of $250 is the same as last year. This year, Joe Blackburn will also be on site doing cue repairs. The players list for this event is already full of top talent including Shane Van Boening, Oscar Dominguez, Tommy Kennedy, Justin Bergman, Skyler Woodward, Vilmos Foldes, Gabe Owen, Mario He and Josh Brothers.
 
If that isn't enough to bring the fans out, Colonial Cues will be serving some of the best North Carolina BBQ all weekend long. 
 
Players interested in competing in this event can contact Ashley Cartwright at 252-455-2129 to sign up.
 

Buckley goes undefeated to capture Florida State Open 10-Ball Championships

Mike Lear, Mike Delawder, Benji Buckley and Tony Crosby

Benji Buckley cut his eye-teeth playing in Great Britain on the GB9 Tour, that country's "official professional 9-ball tour," and as late as last August, was still competing there. In May of last year, he competed in the Open division of a stop on the Florida Pool Tour and finished fourth, behind Donny Mills, Tony Crosby, and Anthony Meglino. In October, he competed in Florida State's Amateur 9-Ball Championship and finished ninth. On the weekend of January 16-17, 2016, he went undefeated to capture the Florida Pool Tour's $4,000-added Florida State Open 10-Ball Championships that drew 65 entrants to Zingale's in Tallahassee, FL.
 
Buckley got into the hot seat by first sending his eventual finals' opponent, Mike Delawder, to the loss side 8-5. Jeff Jordan, in the meantime, was busy sending Nathan Rose over by the same score. Buckley claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Jordan and waited on Delawder's return.
 
On the loss side, Delawder picked up David Grossman, who, after being down 6-2, eliminated David Jacobs, double hill, and then defeated Mubarak Fulaiman 7-4. Rose drew Gabe Owen, who'd defeated Tommy Kennedy 7-5 and Harold McAbee, double hill. 
 
Delawder and Grossman battled to double hill before Delawder prevailed to face Owen, who'd defeated Rose 7-5. Delawder and Owen battled to a somewhat predictable double hill quarterfinal before Delawder prevailed again, to take on Jordan in the semifinals. 
 
Delawder spoiled Jordan's plans for a re-match against Buckley with a 7-2 win in the semifinals. Buckley then spoiled Delawder's plans for a successful rematch with a 9-4 win in the finals to capture the Florida State Open 10-Ball Championship title.

Star Power at Space City Open IV

Dennis Orcollo (Photo courtesy of RE Visual Concepts)

World champion Dennis Orcullo went undefeated to capture his first Space City Open 9-Ball title, besting Ohio’s Shane Winters in the final set, 9-4. In the one pocket division, Chip Compton overcame Jeremy Jones, 3-1, 3-1, taking home his first title, and Jones captured his second, consecutive, 9-ball banks title, outlasting Orcullo in overtime, 3-2, 3-0. Wrapping up the event, Gail Eaton overcame Kia Sidbury in the ladies 9-ball finals, 7-4, 5-2. 
 
The 4-day, 4-division, Space City Open IV (SCO) was held at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas, December 3rd-6th, 2016. In its fourth year, SCO continues to increase in talent and value, and professional players from across the U.S. flew in to take advantage of a payout exceeding $56,000. New blood included Dennis Orcullo, Shane Winters (OH), Shane McMinn (TN), Jerry Calderon (FL), Mike Massey, and Tony Chohan (MI), who along with more than 120 players, entertained a packed house and hundreds of at-home viewers tuned in to the HD live stream provided by OnSitePoolNetwork.com. 
 
Everyone in Texas knows the place to be during the first week of December is the Space City Open. The annual event has showcased some of the greatest billiard talent in the U.S., including U.S Open Champions, World Champions, and Mosconi Cup team players.  The SCO is a serious competition and players mean business, which makes for an intense, competitive environment, and great entertainment for the fans. Without a doubt, this was the toughest SCO 9-ball division to date, and simply losing the flip could cost a player the set, in this winner break, rack your own format. 
 
In the 101-player 9-ball field, the famed Dennis Orcullo won 8 consecutive matches on his way to the hot seat, defeating Robert Cruz, 9-1, Jonathon Romero, 9-0, Vu Pham, 9-3, Charlie Bryant, 9-4, Shane McMinn, 9-8, and Sylver Ochoa, 9-5. Jerry Calderon won his bid for the hot seat with wins over Cliff Joyner, 9-6, Alex Cardenas, 9-1, Richard Hughes, 9-1, Joey Gray, 9-1, Shane Winters, 9-3, and Tom Mooney, 9-5. After a 9-7 upset by Tom Mooney in the first round, Tony Chohan won an incredible 7 consecutive matches with wins over Ernesto Bayaua, 7-3, Jeremy Jones, 7-4, Gabe Owen, 7-6, and Abel Lara, 7-5. Other upsets included John Lassek over Jamie Baraks, 9-6, and Abel Lara over Mike Massey, 9-6. New Mexico’s Tommy Tokoph lost his first round to Winters, 9-6, but came back strong with 6 wins, along the way, eliminating two-time 9-ball champion, Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant, 7-3. Winters ended Tokoph, 7-3, and made quick work of Ochoa, 7-1. After a fourth round loss to Winters, 9-8, Robb Saez ousted defending 9-ball champion James Davis, Jr. with a quick 7 pack, Baraks, 7-5, and McMinn, 7-2. Chip Compton, who suffered an earlier 9-5 loss at the hands of Ochoa, eliminated Jamie Farrell, 7-3, but fell to Saez, 7-6. Saez bested Mooney, 7-2, for a rematch with Winters. Once again, Winters advanced, 7-3. Back on the east side, the hot seat match commenced with Orcullo and Calderon. Orcullo played near flawless, and unforced errors on Calderon’s part sealed his fate. Orcullo closed the set out, 9-4. Winters anticipated a shot at redemption, and now it was here. This time, Calderon stepped up to the plate, only to be struck out by Winters, 7-5. In the final, both players came out of the gate running, but Orcullo proved too much for Winters, ending the race, 9-4. Congratulations to Dennis Orcullo on his first SCO 9-Ball title. 
 
The 40-player one pocket field (limited to 40) featured an all-star cast with phenomenal talent going head to head in a test of wills and stamina. Oklahoma’s Chip Compton made his way through the winners’ side with wins over Joe Pelayo, 3-0, Jon Demet, 3-0, Shane McMinn, 3-0, and James Davis, Jr., 3-1, while Jeremy Jones bested Tony Chohan, 3-1, Robb Saez, 3-2, Denis Strickland, 3-0, and Joey Gray, 3-1. On the one-loss side, Chau took out Saez, 3-1, but fell to Joey Gray, 3-1. Again, Chohan was on a roll with 6 consecutive wins, including victories over Tommy Tokoph, 3-1, Ernesto Bayaua, 3-1, Chase Rudder, 3-2, Gabe Owen, 3-0, and James Davis, Jr., 3-0. On the east side, Compton defeated Jones for the hot seat, 3-1, while Gray ended Chohan’s run, 3-0. Gray fell to Jones, 3-1, pitting a rematch between Jones and Compton. A focused Jones stepped up to the final table with the intent of taking back what he had lost. Compton knew he couldn’t let this one get away, but as the first set came to a close, it was Jones who came out ahead, 3-1. In the second set, Compton remained composed, his mind on the task at hand. Compton defeated Jones in the final set, 3-1, to capture his first SCO One Pocket title.
 
Kicking off Space City Open IV was Thursday’s 29-player, 9-ball banks division. Again, it was Orcullo, attempting to go undefeated with wins over Richie Richeson, 3-0, Luke Sutliffe, 3-0, Tommy Tokoph, 3-1, and Shane Winters, 3-1. Gabe Owen took down Chase Rudder, 3-1, Sylver Ochoa, 3-0, Shane McMinn, 3-2, and Manny Chau, 3-2. Following a loss to Winters, 3-1, Cliff Joyner eliminated Tom Mooney, 3-0, James Davis, Jr., 3-2, and McMinn, 3-1. After suffering a loss to Winters, 3-0, Robb Saez eliminated Jamie Farrell, 3-1, but fell to Jeremy Jones, 3-1. Jones eliminated Chau, 3-1, earning himself another shot at Chohan, the player who had sent him to the one-loss side by a score of 3-1. Jones wasted little time exacting his revenge, taking out Chohan, 3-1. On the east side, Orcullo and Owen teed off for the hot seat, Owen coming up short, 3-1, and again with Jones, 3-1. Jones captured the first set of the true double elimination final, 3-1, finishing Orcullo off the second set, 3-0, earning his second, consecutive banks title. Due to a hand injury, it was uncertain if Jones would compete in this year’s SCO. However, Jones competed in all three divisions, with a very swollen hand to show for it. Congratulations to Jeremy Jones on successfully defending his banks title!
 
Rounding out the event, 22 women battled it out on Sunday for almost $2,300 in cash in the ladies 9-ball division. WPBA player Kia “Primetime” Sidbury (MD) made her way to the hot seat, defeating Veronica “Pistol” Perez, 7-0, Terry Petrosino, 7-1, and Robyn Petrosino, 7-4. Natalie Rocha made an impressive run, ousting Erica Nicole Walker, 7-1, Gail “Virginia Slim” Eaton, 7-5, Linda Garza, 7-1, and Marie Rodriguez, 7-0. On the one-loss side, Eaton ran through D’Andrea McQuirter, 5-1, Ginger Abadilla, 5-2, Terry Petrosino, 5-1, Belinda Lee, 5-0, and Rodriguez, 5-3. After a second round loss to R. Petrosino, 7-4, 2015 Gulf Coast Tour Champion, Ricki Casper, made an impressive run on the one-loss side with wins over Yvonne Asher, 5-3, Teresa Garland, 5-1, Garza, 5-2, and R. Petrosino, 5-3. On the east side, Sidbury overcame Rocha for the hot seat win, 7-5, while Eaton ended Casper’s run, 5-3. Former WPBA pro Eaton made quick work of Rocha, 5-2, and moved on to the finals. The two seasoned players dug in, and fought to the finish. Eaton captured the first set, 7-4, and although Sidbury attempted to recover in overtime, lost the final set, 5-2. Congratulations to Gail Eaton on her first SCO Ladies 9-Ball title!
 
“Once again, this event has shown a significant increase in numbers and visibility, across the board. Growth is our primary focus, and it takes the support and dedication of the players, fans, sponsors, and pool room, to make an event like this work, and thrive. That’s what gets the job done”, says Kim Newsome, SCO founder and tournament director.  Support staff for this event included a number of dedicated individuals including John Newsome, Teresa Garland and Chuck Adams
 
The Space City Open extends a heartfelt “thank you” to sponsors, vendors, and supporters; Bogies Billiards and Games’ owners David and Shannon Richardson, and their entire staff, Simplified Electronics, APA of North Harris County, Vapor Knights, Ozone Billiards, Zach Goldsmith and “Lucky Luke” Sutliffe with OnSitePoolNetwork.com, Bobby Garcia with RE Visual Concepts, and vendors, Mike McDonald with Vapor Knights, Ron Geyer Cue Repair, Joe Salazar Connoisseur of Custom Cues, and Sean King with King Billiards. Special supporters of this event included Charlie Brown, Mark Stubbs, Chase Rudder, Maurice LeBlanc, Kelly Plunkett, Tom Welch, Doug Stone, Jason Watson, David Taylor, Carlos Sanchez, Willie Duran, Dave Ford, David Hardee, Dennis Perry, Adam Cooper, Fabian Gardin, and Erica Nicole Walker.
 
Space City Open V will take place December 1st-4th, 2016. For more information about the Space City Open, visit www.SpaceCityOpen.com  or email spacecityevent@gmail.com.