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McMinn double dips Espinosa to recapture Royce Bunnell Memorial 9-Ball title

Shane McMinn and Justin Espinosa

Clark wins One Pocket event, Smith goes undefeated in 8-ball

Though the 6th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial, held this past weekend (Dec. 10-12) at Stixx and Stones Billiards in Lewisville, TX, did not crown a defending champion in any of its three events (9-Ball, 8-Ball & One Pocket), it did witness the crowning of a former champion. Shane McMinn, who won the 9-ball event in 2019, returned and came from the loss side to claim this year’s 64-entrant, $1,500-added 9-ball title. Last year’s winner, Clint Freeman, was on hand to defend his 2020 title, but finished in the tie for 7th/8th place with Joshua Keller.

Robert Clark won the 16-entrant, $1,000-added One Pocket event, which was added to the event lineup for the first time last year. Last year’s winner, Jeff Sullivan, did not compete. Tom Smith picked up the top prize in the 32-entrant, $500-added 8-Ball event. He was the only winner among the three to go undefeated. Last year’s winner of the 8-Ball event, Jim Ryan, finished out of the money this year.

McMinn’s trip through the 9-ball field, which would eventually take a loss-side detour, thanks to Justin Espinosa, began with a three-match, aggregate score of 21-5 as he downed Eric Hammond (1), Noel Villalobos (2) and Duane Payne (2). At that point, he ran into a winners’ side quarterfinal match versus Eric Aicinena, who chalked up as many racks against him as his previous three opponents combined. McMinn survived that challenge, only to encounter another; a winners’ side semifinal against Espinosa, who’d been battling right from the start with wins over Daniel Gilmore (5), Roman Bayda (4) and a relatively easy one over Jack Lynch (1) in their winners’ side quarterfinal match. Sky Massingill, in the meantime, had gotten by Darrell Smith (3), Mohammad Alrawi (2), Chad Burgess (1) and Shane Hvamstad (5), to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal versus Shane Manole. 

Espinosa sent McMinn off on a three-match, loss-side trip 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Massingill, who’d survived a double hill match against Manole. Espinosa claimed the hot seat 7-2.

On the loss side, McMinn picked up Alwari, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Jeff Franklin 7-5 and Joshua Keller 7-4. Manole drew Aicinena, who’d followed his loss to McMinn with victories over TJ Davis and the event’s defending champion, Clint Freeman, both 7-3.

Aicinena did what he had to do to initiate a quarterfinal rematch against McMinn, downing Manole 7-2. McMinn obliged by putting a stop to Alwari’s loss-side run by the same 7-2 score. Aicinena put up a double hill fight against McMinn in that quarterfinal rematch, but fell short. 

McMinn eliminated Massingill in the semifinals 7-2 and headed into his own, necessary two-match battle versus Espinosa in the finals. McMinn took the opener 7-5 over Espinosa and improved on that score by a rack in the second set, 7-4, to reclaim the Royce Bunnell Memorial 9-Ball title.

Smith endures some strong challenges in his undefeated battle for the 8-ball title

Tom Smith may have been the only competitor to go undefeated on the Royce Bunnell Memorial weekend, but it was no walk in the park. Three of the four (race to 3) matches he played getting to the hot seat went double hill. He got by Jeff Franklin that way, for openers, and then took a breath to shut out Chad Burgess. Joe Pelayo and then, Greg Sandifer, in a winners’ side semifinal, also forced a 5th deciding game in their matches. Smith’s opponent in the hot seat match was JP Kinman, who, by contrast, had played just one double hill match (vs. Blake Kamiab). He’d shut out Jason Judd in his opener, before giving up the two racks to Kamiab, and then, gave up one each to Chris Gaither and (in the other winners’ side semifinal) Doug Winnett.

Smith must have come as a bit of a shock to Kinman in that hot seat battle. Smith turned the tables on him and shut him out. He did not return.

There were only two ways to win loss-side matches; shutout or double hill (2-1). Sandifer tried them both, going the shutout route versus Clint Freeman and, in the quarterfinals, versus Sky Massingill (who’d eliminated Willett 2-0). Apparently bored with shutouts, Sandifer gave up the single rack in the semifinals to Kinman, who ended up tallying only a single game over his final six. 

There were only three ways to win an 8-ball match at this event; shutout, 3-1, or double hill and to complete his undefeated run, Tom Smith had tried all three. He finished with the first two, shutting out Kinman in the hot seat match and giving up a single rack to Sandifer in the only set necessary in the true double elimination final to claim the Royce Bunnell Memorial 8-Ball title.

Gus Briseno, Robert Clark and Daniel Herring

Clark takes two out of three versus Briseno to claim One Pocket title

Somewhat like the 8-ball matches, there were only three ways to win one in the 16-entrant One Pocket event. Matches were races to 3 on both sides of the bracket.

Robert Clark shutout both Joshua Keller and Crispian Ng to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal vs. Daniel Herring. Gus Briseno, in the meantime, shut out JP Kinman and Clint Freeman to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Roman Bayda. Clark added a third shutout, over Herring, while Briseno had to battle to double hill versus Bayda, before joining Clark in the hot seat match. Clark went the 3-1 route to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Herring leapfrogged over a forfeit by Joshua Keller into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Bayda, who’d defeated Paul Villanueva 3-1. Herring and Bayda battled to double hill, before Herring advanced to meet Briseno in the semifinals. Herring and Briseno opted for double hill, too, but it was Briseno who earned the right to a rematch against Clark, waiting for him in the hot seat.

It took both sets, both of which went double hill. Briseno took the opener to even their ‘loss’ score. Clark took the second set to become the 6th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial One Pocket champion.

Tour director David “Doc” Reyes thanked the ownership and staff at Stixx & Stones for their hospitality, as well as DFW Pool TV for streaming services. He also extended thanks to sponsors OB Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Granite Guyz, Outsville Accu-Rack, Digital Pool, Cavalli, Eric and Becky Smith, Dallas 8-ball and John Eagle Honda.

‘Heavy hitters’ come out to play on DFW 9-Ball Tour Finale, Briseno goes undefeated

Greg Sandifer, Gus Briseno & Robert Clark

Restricted to competitors who had played in at least one event throughout the year, the $2,500-added 2020 DFW 9-Ball Tour Finale drew 60 of the tour’s ‘heavy hitters’ to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX this past weekend (Nov. 14-15). A heavy hitter rated at ‘9’ (one of only two ‘9’s that competed) took on a heavy hitter with an ‘8’ rating in the hot seat match and finals. The ‘9’ (Gus Briseno) prevailed in both, going undefeated to claim the title. Greg Sandifer (8) took runner-up honors into the winners’ circle. 

The event paid out to 12 spots and also awarded cash prizes to the top-finishing SL4 players – TD Monica Anderson & Jennifer Hooten – who also won and split the last female standing cash award. Matthew Kindley and Ryan Schmidt split the cash prize for the last SL5 standing and Miguel Hernandez won the prize as the last SL6 standing.

In addition to the cash prizes associated with the main event, the tour also awarded its top three 2020 players with CueTec Cues; Tony Top (8, 3rd place) received a CueTec Jumping Cue, Donnie Gregory (8, 2nd place), got a CueTec Break Cue, and the tour’s top player, Clint Palaci (7), was awarded a CueTec Playing Cue and will receive free entry to every 2021 tour stop. 

Briseno’s path to the win went through Joshua Perez, Chris Ferguson, Neil Nabil Saidawi and Daniel Herring (with an aggregate score of 36-7) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against John Carlo Tuazon. Greg Sandifer was awarded an opening round bye and then got stuck chalking up 8-3 wins over Brendan Fuller, Chris Gaither and Clint Palaci (24-9), before running into Robert Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In a straight-up race to 8, Clark knocked Sandifer out of his 8-3 rut with a double hill match, but Sandifer finished it, advancing to the hot seat match. Briseno joined him, after sending Tuazon to the loss side 9-5. Briseno then grabbed the hot seat, with emphasis, 9-1.

On the loss side, Clark drew Tony Top, who’d followed his 7-4 loss to Tuazon in a winners’ side quarterfinal with wins over Miguel Hernandez 8-4 and Juan Parra 8-6. Tuazon picked up Clint Palaci, who’d followed his 8-3 winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Sandifer with victories over Robbie Smith 7-3 and a shutout versus Roman Bayda.

Clark locked up in a second straight double hill match, only this time, against Top, he advanced to the quarterfinals. Palaci joined him after eliminating Tuazon 7-1. Any momentum Palaci had earned in his decisive win over Tuazon got lost in his subsequent 8-1 loss to Clark in the quarterfinals. 

The ‘momentum loss’ scenario spilled over into the semifinals, as Clark followed his decisive 8-1 victory over Tuazon with an 8-2 loss at the hands of Sandifer, who turned back for a second shot at Briseno in the hot seat.

Sandifer began the final match with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in his race to 9 against Briseno. They battled back and forth and came within a game of double hill, as Sandifer added 6 to his one ‘on the wire,’ which eventually forced a 15th and final game. Briseno closed it out to finish his undefeated run and claim the Season Finale title.

Tour representative Monica Anderson thanked Jeff Pitts and his Rusty’s Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsors Cuetec (which provided two cues for a raffle) and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. According to Anderson, the tour’s 2021 tour schedule will be out in the middle of December. They are securing host venues with plans (Covid permitting) for 11 stops, and five ladies-only stops, as well. 

Franklin returns to the tables, ‘guns a’ blazin,’ to go undefeated on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Robert Clark, Jeff Franklin and Gus Briseno

It’s been a while since Jeff Franklin has made an appearance in our AZBilliards database that records all cash payouts for listed players; a little over five years ago, to be precise, when he finished in the tie for 13th place at the 1st Texas 10-Ball Championships at Skinny Bob’s in Austin, TX. His record in our database dates back 15 years to his first entry, finishing third at the 2005 Houston Open. He updated that database resume last weekend (Sept. 19-20) when he went undefeated to win a stop on the CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tour. The $1,000-added event drew 68 entrants to Snookered Billiards & Bar in Frisco, TX.

According to tour director, Monica Anderson, the event drew a lot of Texan ‘heavy hitters,’ which, in spite of his protracted absence, Franklin took down with relative ease; “slaying the masses,” as Anderson described it. He advanced through the double elimination bracket to down Daniel Herring 8-6 in a winners’ side quarterfinal to pick up Alex Acosta in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Gus Briseno, in the meantime, sent Juan Parra to the loss side 9-2 in his winners’ side quarterfinal to draw Robert Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Franklin defeated Acosta 8-1, as Briseno sent Clark west 9-4. On a bit of a ‘roll,’ Franklin gave up only a single rack to Briseno in the hot seat match, to claim the seat and wait for Briseno’s eventual return.

On the loss side, Acosta drew Greg Sandifer, who’d recently defeated Jesus Sorto and Alberto Nieto Garcia by an aggregate score of 16-3; giving up two to Sorto and only one to Garcia. Clark picked up Herring, who, following his defeat at the hands of Franklin, had eliminated Curtis Cardwell 8-3 and Mohammed Alrawi 8-2. 

Sandifer leapfrogged into the quarterfinals, when Acosta forfeited. He was joined by Clark, who’d sent Herring home 8-5. By the same score, Clark then sent Sandifer home in those quarterfinals.

Briseno put a stop to Clark’s brief sojourn on the loss side, downing him 9-5 for a second shot at Franklin in the hot seat. It was the second time in a row that Clark finished in 3rd place, having done so at the last stop in August.

The ‘second verse’ of the Franklin/Briseno competitive ‘song’ was nothing like the first. With Briseno racing to 9, Clark forced a deciding final game at 7-8, to win it 8-8 and claim his first-time-in-a-long-time event title.

In addition to the cash winnings they earned for their finish positions in the event, Mohammed Alrawi, who finished 7th, and Jennifer Hooten, who finished in the tie for 13th place, picked up some extra cash. Alrawi added $60 for being the last-standing Skill Level 6 in the event. Hooten picked up $60 cash twice, for finishing as the event’s last-standing lady and its last-standing Skill Level 4.

Tour director Monica Anderson thanked Craig and Jana Lucas and their Snookered staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor CueTec and Fort Worth Billiards Store. The next stop on the CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 17-18, will be hosted by The Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.  

McMinn goes undefeated to win 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament

Gary Abood, Shane McMinn and Randy Staggs

As it turned out, both finalists in the 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament, held over the long weekend of December 13-15, were looking to boost their 2019 resume; one, by chalking up only his second (recorded) victory of the year and the other, with a first (recorded) cash finish anywhere in over two years. Given the date, it was likely to be their last 2019 tour/event victory and/or cash finish. Shane McMinn, who went undefeated to claim the title, had won the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener back in January. For runner-up Gary Abood, the Bunnell Memorial became his first (recorded) cash finish in any event since he finished 4th at the inaugural Scotty Townsend Memorial 9-Ball Tournament in March of 2017. The $2,000-added Bunnell Memorial, organized and sponsored by OB Cues, drew 68 entrants to the Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
Shane McMinn’s path to the winners’ circle opened with a bye and three straight matches in which he allowed his opponent – in order, Greg Sandifer, Noel Villalobos and Isaac Wooten – only a single rack. McMinn advanced to down Ryan Robinson 7-3 and draw his first match against Abood in a winners’ side semifinal. Abood had arrived after chalking up one 7-2 victory over Alberto Nieto and three, 7-3 wins over Jason Judd, Billy Pinion and Corey Flud. Randy Staggs, in the meantime, squared off against Steve Raynes in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Staggs got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Raynes. Abood chalked up twice as many racks against McMinn in the winners’ side semifinal than all of McMinn’s previous opponents combined, necessitating a 13th deciding rack. McMinn dropped the last 9-ball and moved on to the hot seat match. McMinn returned to form, allowing Staggs only a single rack as he claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Raynes picked up Gerardo Perez, who’d lost his opening match to TJ Davis and was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals and had most recently included victories over Ryan Robinson 7-5 and, in a successful rematch, TJ Davis, 7-4. Abood drew Juan Parra, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included recent victories over Jeff Sullivan 7-3 and Walter Huenerfuerst 7-2.
 
Abood and Perez advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 victories over Parra and Raynes, respectively. Abood then ended Perez’ loss-side winning streak 7-4 in those quarterfinals and earned a second shot against McMinn with a 7-4 victory over Staggs in the semifinals. 
 
Unlike their double hill, winners’ side semifinal match, the finals saw McMinn return, once again, to the form that ultimately earned him the event title. He gave up two racks to Abood in the 7-2 finals, ending with an aggregate score of 35-15; a 70% winning percentage. To Abood’s credit, his runner-up finish came as the result of having won just over half of the racks that McMinn had lost. 
 
McMinn and Abood figured prominently in two other events that were part of the 9-Ball Royce Bunnell Memorial. The weekend began with a 32-entrant, 8-Ball Mini Tournament, which was won by Gary Abood with OB Cues President Jesse Garcia as the event’s runner-up. There was also a Banks Ring (Chip style) Tournament, won by McMinn, with Jeff Sullivan finishing as runner-up and Chris “Woody” Smith in 3rd place. 
 
David “Doc” Reyes, Customer Service Manager for OB Cues, who’s been the main promoter and ‘head of the spear’ in the organization of this annual memorial event, along with the President of OB Cues, Jesse Garcia and CEO Mark Griffin (both of whom competed) thanked Marci Rothberg and her Billiard Den staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors (representatives), OB Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore (Albert Trujillo), John Eagle Honda Dallas (JP Kinman, GM), Outville Racks (Chris Renfro), Granite Guyz and Dallas 8-Ball League. Reyes and Jennifer Hooten directed the event, while RackemTV sponsored the stream with commentary by Billy Guy and Marc Gonzalez as commentators. 

Parra takes two out of three over Sandifer to capture DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season finale title

(l to r): Juan Parra, Greg Sandifer & Jeff Georges (Photo by Jesse Garcia, Bound by Imagination)

Juan Parra tried for a win on the 2019 DFW 9-Ball Tour three times; in May, June and October. His best effort was his first when he finished 3rd. His worst was the last in which he finished in the tie for 13th. At the tour’s season finale, on the weekend of November 16-17, he broke through to record a victory for the first time since he won a stop on the DFW 9-Ball predecessor, the Omega Tour in 2017. Parra had to get by the #2 player on the standings list going into the final event, Greg Sandifer, twice. The $3,000-added event, open only to tour members who’d competed in at least four of the tour’s 11 events in 2019, drew 56 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
Parra and Sandifer wove their separate ways through the field to arrive at their first meeting, battling for the hot seat. Parra got an opening round bye before defeating Dario Gomez, Donnie Gregory and Curtis Caldwell to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Jesus Sorto. Sandifer’s path went through Gert Ehing, Chris Woody Smith, Jud Hunter and Jeff Georges to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Amos Bush.
 
Sandifer gave up only a single rack to Bush in an 8-1 victory that put him into the hot seat match. Parra joined him following his 7-5 win over Sorto. In their first of three, Sandifer claimed the hot seat 8-4.
 
On the loss side, Sorto picked up Jeff Georges, who, following his defeat at the hands of Sandifer in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Friday Abismo 7-5 and the #1 competitor in the tour standings, Tim Larson, double hill (7-8). Bush drew Jesse Hernandez, who’d lost his second match, double hill to Sorto, and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. Sorto and Hernandez would each fall one match short of a rematch.
 
In a straight-up race to 7, Georges downed Sorto 7-4. Bush and Hernandez battled to double hill before Bush prevailed to join Georges in the quarterfinals. Bush then won his second straight double hill battle in those quarterfinals.
 
Both combatants in the semifinals were looking for a rematch in the finals against Sandifer. If the score proved to be any measure of the desire, Parra apparently wanted it more and won handily 7-1.
 
With Sandifer racing to 8, Parra took the opening set 7-6. He did Sandifer one better in the second set, winning it 7-5 to claim the season finale title.
 
A Second Chance event drew seven entrants and was won Alberto Nieto Garcia. Billy Guy was runner-up and Rachelle Dytko was third.
 
In ceremonies following the event, Tim Larson, who’d competed in each of the tour’s 11 events, won two of them and finished as runner-up in a third, was acknowledged as the 2019 Tour Champion. Highway Sigadi won the tour’s 2019 Best Sportsmanship award. 
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards for their hospitality as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Super Store, Granite Guyz, Dallas 8-Ball, FargoRate, BCA Pool League, JB Custom Cue Cases, Accu-Rack, CSI and Internet Marketing Solutions. The 2020 DFW 9-Ball Tour season will begin where the 2019 season ended, at Rusty's Billiards in Arlington, TX on the weekend of January 18-19, 2020.

Perez goes undefeated, downing Herring twice to win his first Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour stop

(l to r): Gerardo Perez, Daniel Herring & Kevin Guimond (photo:Jesse Garcia, Bound by Imagination)

While the top point leaders in the Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour’s standings list (#1 through #5) were languishing on the loss side of the Oct. 19-20 bracket of the tour’s 10th stop – only two of them finished in the money (#1 Tim Larson, tied for 7th and #5 Jay Ryda, tied for 17th) – #42 (Gerardo Perez) and #63 (Daniel Herring) advanced through the 88-entrant field and battled twice to claim the event title. Perez was the undefeated winner of the $1,500-added event, hosted by the Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
All but one of the top five on the standings list – #4 Amos Bush – had competed in all nine of the tour’s events, and Bush had only missed one. It was Gerardo Perez’ sixth appearance on the 2019 tour and his best finish had been in a tie for 9th place last month. Herring had competed in only three of the tour’s stops, with a best finish of a tie for 13th place in August (He’d won a stop on the tour just over a year ago). They both battled players higher in the points list during their trek to the finals, but neither of them faced any one of the top five, though as it turned out, it was not for lack of trying. Greg Sandifer (#2) was on the loss side at the end of the opening round. Larson, Davis, Bush and Ryda all moved over after the third round.
 
Just goes to show that on any given Sunday. . . .
 
After an opening round bye, Perez advanced through Chase LaFerney, Jesus Sorto, Noel Villalobos and Crispian Ng (#10, highest he faced) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Barry Emerson. Herring, also with an opening round bye, sent Corey Flud, Walt Anderson, Kenny Rowell and Chris Rickman to the loss side and squared off against Donny Gregory (#12, Herring’s ‘highest on the list’ opponent) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Herring and Gregory battled to double hill before Herring prevailed and advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Perez, who’d defeated Emerson 7-4 (Emerson racing to 8). With Herring racing to 8, as well, Perez claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on Herring’s return.
 
Over on the loss side, Sandifer and Bush had been knocked out before the first money round (33rd-48th). TJ Davis made it to that first money round (17th-24th), but went home with just the $160. Tim Larson, who’d been sent to the loss side by Emerson, was in the midst of a very brief winning streak that had started in the first money round and after three wins, including a 9-1 victory over Chris Rickman, had ended with a defeat at the hands of Jersey Jack Lynch, who advanced to pick up Emerson. Gregory drew Kevin Guimond, who, after losing to Larson in the third round, was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He’d recently eliminated Crispian Ng 9-6 and Walter Heunerfuerst 9-5 to draw Gregory.
 
Emerson downed Lynch 8-1. Guimond joined him in the quarterfinals after a 9-3 win over Gregory. In the semifinals, with Guimond racing to 9, he and Herring battled to a double hill standstill before Herring ended it for a second shot against Perez in the hot seat.
 
With Herring racing to 8, he and Perez fought to 6-7, double hill, before Perez ended it to claim his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Billiard Den, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues and main event sponsors Ft. Worth Billiards Superstore, JB Cases, Accu-Rack, CSI, Granite Guyz, Dallas 8-Ball League, BCAPL, RackEm TV (streaming sponsor), FargoRate, and IMS (Internet Marketing Solutions). The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 16-17, will be the tour’s Season Finale at Rusty’s in Arlington, TX.

Larson goes undefeated, stops loss-side bid by Jones to win DFW Tour stop #9

(l to r): Jeremy Jones, Denny Sneed & Tim Larson

It seemed as though a majority of the nation’s pool players were competing in Texas over the September 7-8 weekend. Half of that hypothetical majority (93) was competing at the Houston Open in League City, while the other half (96) was apparently at Snookered Billiards in Frisco, TX for the $1,500-added, 9th stop on the Dallas-Ft. Worth 9-Ball Tour. In both events, the eventual winner went undefeated, while the runner-up battled back from an early loss to challenge the hot seat occupant. In the Houston Open, it was Dennis Orcollo stopping an 11-match, loss-side winning streak by Roberto Gomez (separate story). In the DFW Tour stop, it was Tim Larson stopping the 10-match, loss-side winning streak of Jeremy Jones.
 
Larson’s victory, his second on the 2019 tour, added to what has already been his best earnings year to date and cemented his position at the top of the DFW Tour’s standings, ahead of Greg Sandifer and TJ Davis.  Jones, whose best earnings year to date in a career dating back 21 years, was in 2003, was looking for his first win on the 2019 DFW Tour, having won the 2018 season final of the tour. Earlier this year, he’d won the Derby City Classic’s One Pocket Mini event, had three other cash finishes at Derby City and a 65th finish at the US Open 9-Ball Championships.
 
They almost met in the event’s third round. Larson opened with a 9-1 victory over Monica Anderson, as Jones was enjoying the benefits of an opening round bye. Larson then defeated Jim Smith 9-4 and advanced to face Juan Parra, who had just sent Jones to the loss side 7-5. Larson went on to defeat Parra, Jim Talmon and Jud Hunter to face TJ Davis in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Denny Sneed, in the meantime, squared off against Jesus Sorto in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Larson defeated Davis 9-6 and was joined in the hot seat match by Sneed, who’d sent Sorto to the loss side 8-3. Larson claimed the hot seat and waited (no doubt with some concerns) for Jones to complete his 10-match, loss-side winning streak.
 
On the loss side, Jones won his first four matches by an aggregate score of 40-6. Things tightened up a bit in his next three, which led him to pick up Davis, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. He defeated Jeff Georges, Amos Bush and Greg Sandifer by an aggregate score of 30-17 (5, 5, and 7, respectively) to face Davis. Sorto drew Chris Gaither, who was working on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had recently included victories over Jud Hunter 7-5 and Mohammed Alrawi 7-2.
 
Sorto ended Gaither’s streak 7-5, and in the quarterfinals, faced Jones, who’d eliminated Davis 10-5. Jones, returning (for the moment) to earlier loss-side form, gave up only a single rack to Sorto in that quarterfinal match (10-1).
 
Jones didn’t give up many more than that to Sneed in the semifinals. Jones won it 10-3 for a shot at Larson in the hot seat.
 
Larson started the opening set of true double elimination finals with ‘one bead on the wire’ in a race to 10. He completed his undefeated run with a 9-6 victory over Jones to claim his second 2019 DFW 9-Ball Tour title.
 
A Second Chance event that drew nine entrants was won by Dakota McBride, with Cameron Cummings as the runner-up. The best female finisher in the event was 16-year-old Aryana Lynch, the BCAPL’s 2018 Women’s 9-Ball Singles Champion and 2019 Women’s 8-Ball Singles Champion, who finished in the tie for 13th amidst the field of 96. Along the way, as a skill level 6, she defeated skill level 7 players Juan Parra, Corey Flud and Rodney Williams.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Snookered Billiards, as well as tour title sponsor Predator Cues and main event sponsors Ft. Worth Billiards Superstore, JB Cases, Accu-Rack, CSI, Granite Guyz, Dallas 8-Ball League, BCAPL, RackEm TV (streaming sponsor), FargoRate, and IMS (Internet Marketing Solutions). The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 19-20, will be hosted by the Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.

Sandifer downs Larson twice and goes undefeated on DFW 9-Ball Tour

l to r): Jeremy Jones, Greg Sandifer & Tim Larson

After eight stops on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, Tim Larson has retained his top spot in the tour standings. On the weekend of August 3-4, however, the owner of the #3-spot in those tour standings, Greg Sandifer, went undefeated, downing Larson twice (hot seat and finals) to claim the event title and edged up a single spot to take over the #2 spot in the standings. TJ Davis, who owned that #2 spot prior to this past weekend’s event, finished in the tie for 7th/8th, which earned him enough points to slip only a single spot into third place. The $1,500-added event drew 77 entrants to CK Billiards in Dallas, TX.
 
Sandifer’s seven-match path to the winners’ circle saw him give up more than three racks to an opponent only three times. After an opening round bye, he advanced through Casey Dawson 8-2, Mohammed Alrawi 8-3, Ricki Casper 8-2, and Amos Bush 8-5 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against JP Kinman. Larson, in the meantime, though after a bye, he’d open with a 9-2 win over Darrell Smith, found himself facing stiffer opposition. He got by Robin Barbour 9-6, Randy Staggs 9-1 and Jesus Sorto 9-6 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Robert Clark.
 
Sandifer and Larson advanced to the hot seat in matches that reflected their earlier efforts. Sandifer downed Kinman 8-2, as Larson held off Clark 9-6. Sandifer, who’d had only one opponent reach as far as five racks against him until he played in the hot seat match, gave up six to Larson, but he claimed the hot seat 8-6 and waited on Larson’s return.
 
On the loss side, Kinman picked up the always-dangerous Jeremy Jones, who’d been defeated in a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal match by Robert Clark and then downed Andrew Talton 10-2 and TJ Davis 10-5 to face Kinman. Clark, in the meantime, drew Doug Winnett, who was in the midst of a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that included recent victories over Jeffrey Wadsworth 7-1 and Amos Bush 7-2.
 
Winnett spoiled any potential rematch between Clark and Jones by defeating Clark 7-5. Jones, in the meantime, eliminated Kinman 10-5. Jones then put an end to Winnett’s loss-side winning streak, double hill, in the quarterfinals; 10-6, Winnett racing to 7.
 
As of this past weekend, 260 players had figured in the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s eight events so far, some of them, multiple times and many of them, all eight times. It was Jones’ first recorded appearance on the 2019 tour and as he moved into the semifinals, he was looking at the possibility of moving into the top 20 of the tour’s standings (if he ended up claiming the event title), among the top 27 or so if he finished as the runner-up and among the top 37 or so if he finished in third place.
 
He and the tour’s #1 player in the standings, Larson, battled to a predictable double hill point, before Larson (who started with ‘one on the wire’ in a race to 10) dropped the last 9-ball in the match’s 17th rack to earn himself a second shot at Sandifer in the hot seat. Larson, who’d finished as runner-up in the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s stop in June, repeated as runner-up in this one. Sandifer shaved a rack off of Larson’s performance against him in the hot seat match, downing him 8-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at CK’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Fort Worth Billiards, Granite Guyz, Dallas 8-Ball, FargoRate, BCA Pool League, Internet Marketing Solutions (IMS), CSI, Accu-Rack and JB Custom Cue Cases. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 7-8, will be hosted by Snookered Billiards in Frisco, TX.

Wiley wins DFW 9-Ball Tour finale and Tour Champion title

(l to r): Jeremy Jones, CJ Wiley and & TJ Davis

Going into the DFW 9-Ball Tour finale, held on the weekend of Nov. 10-11, the 2018 Tour Championship title was still very much in play. CJ Wiley stood atop the 10-stop point standings, poised to win it all, though Paul Guernsey and TJ Davis were a hair-width 40 and 80 points away (680-640-600). Had Guernsey won the final tour stop, with Wiley as runner-up, they’d have tied for first place. If Davis had won with Guernsey as runner-up, they’d have tied for first place. Had Wiley faltered in his quest for the event win and Tour Champion title, there were numerous ways it might have turned out.
 
But he didn’t falter. He faced seven opponents, including Jeremy Jones twice (early and late), played 84 games, winning (on average) three out of every four of them and finished undefeated to claim both the season finale and 2018 Tour Championship titles. The $5,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
As it turned out, Wiley and Davis faced each other in the hot seat match. Wiley had gotten by Neil Nabil Saidawi and Douglas Pitts before running into Jeremy Jones for the first time. In races to 9, handicapped with Fargo Ratings, Jones chalked up more racks against Wiley (6) in their third-round meeting than any other opponent Wiley faced all weekend, including Jones in their later meeting in the finals. Wiley then advanced to meet and defeat Phil Auteri, which set him up to face Jordan Gartenberg in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Davis, meanwhile, had defeated Michael Montgomery, Cody Wright, Brian Horvath and Greg Sandifer to draw Jersey Jack Lynch in the other winner’s side semifinal. Davis sent Lynch to the loss side 8-2, as Wiley shut Gartenberg out to join him. Wiley assured himself a minimum second place finish by defeating Davis 9-2. Davis moved to the semifinals, having secured a minimum third place finish.
 
On the loss side, Jones was at work on the seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would earn him a re-match against Wiley in the finals. A victory over Denny Sneed put Jones into the first money round (13th-16th) where he defeated Oscar Araujo 9-4. He advanced to eliminate Greg Sandifer and Tim Larson, both 9-5, to draw Gartenberg, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Jersey Jack Lynch drew Corey Flud, who’d been sent to the loss side by Jones in the second round and was on his own seven-match, loss-side quest for a re-match, against Jones. Flud eliminated Billy Guy, Douglas Pitts, Suliman Abu Salem and Steve Raynes, before defeating Clint Palaci, double hill, and Phil Auteri 7-3 to draw Jersey Jack.
 
Flud earned his quarterfinal re-match against Jones with a 7-5 victory over Lynch. Jones did his part with a 9-2 victory over Gartenberg. Flud started the quarterfinal with two on the wire in a race to 9. Jones defeated him a second time 9-4, and then moved on to give up only a single rack in a semifinal win over Davis.
 
Their Fargo Rates are 37 points apart with Jones given the edge over Wiley, 749-712. Wiley defied the FargoRate Match odds, giving him a roughly 30% chance of winning (29.6% to be precise). Jones chalked up the second-highest number of racks against him in the tournament, but Wiley took the match 9-5 to claim both the event and Tour Champion title.
 
Wiley finished the event as he’d started it, at the top of the tour rankings. TJ Davis and Paul Guernsey (who finished the event in the tie for 25th) switched places; Davis, finishing second and Guernsey finishing third. In addition to awarding the Tour Championship to Wiley, the tour gave a Best Sportsman Award to Billy Guy.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty's Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Fort Worth Super Billiards Store JB Cases, Outsville (Accu-Rack), Granite Guyz, BCAPL/CSI and Dallas Eight-Ball League. 

Rudder wins 10 on the loss side and two in the finals to claim Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour title

(l to r): Chase Rudder, Greg Sandifer & Steve Raynes

 

Chase Rudder has been bringing home cash from Texas tournaments for at least 15 years, having shown up in our database for the first time in 2003, finishing 9th at a stop on the Fast Eddie’s tour in Houston. Since that time, his participation and earnings at the table have ranged from sparse to prolific. He didn’t show up on payout lists at all from 2004 to 2008, and then, after finishing 5th and 9th on two separate Fast Eddie’s stops, he didn’t show up again until 2011, when his only recorded winnings came from a 5th place tie (with David Gutierrez) in the Houston Open. His attendance from that point has been consistent, up to and including his best earnings year to date – 2016 – when (among other appearances) he won the 3rd Junior Norris 9-Ball Shootout in Wichita Falls, defeating Alex Olinger in the finals. Rudder won a stop on the Lone Star Billiard Tour last year and finished as runner-up to Manny Chau in two other stops on the tour.
 
On the weekend of June 23-24, Rudder returned to the tournament winners’ circle for the first time in 2018, doing it the hard way. He won an opening match (against Jennifer Hooten) at the 6th stop on the Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour and was sent to the loss side in his next round by Suliman Abu Salem. Rudder then embarked on a 10-match, loss-side winning streak, and capped it by double dipping hot seat occupant Greg Sandifer in the finals to claim his first event title since early October of last year. The $1,700-added event drew 86 entrants to Click’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
With Rudder on the loss side, working his way back, Sandifer and Steve Raynes advanced to the hot seat match. Sandifer had defeated Donnie Gregory 8-3 to get there in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Raynes sent Joshua Keller over 7-5 in the other one. Sandifer claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Raynes and waited for Rudder to complete his loss-side run.
 
On the loss side, Rudder (racing to 9) was allowing his opponents an average of about four racks. TJ Davis, battling him in the first money round, was the only player to force a double hill deciding game against him, although Tony Top, two rounds before that, had managed seven. Rudder chalked up loss-side wins #6 and #7 against Aram Hasan (9-4) and Sean Black (9-5) to draw Keller. Gregory, in the meantime, picked up Douglas Pitts, who’d defeated Alberto Nieto Garcia and (denying Rudder any chance at a re-match) Suliman Abu Salem, both double hill.
 
Gregory eliminated Pitts 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, faced Rudder, who’d defeated Keller 9-2. Rudder moved on to down Gregory in those quarterfinals 9-6, and then, Raynes in the semifinals 9-2.
 
Over 22 games in the true double elimination finals, Rudder gave up only four to Sandifer. He took the opening set 9-3, and then, tightened the screws to allow Sandifer only a single rack in the second and deciding set. It had taken Sandifer seven matches to advance to the hot seat. It took Rudder 12 matches to meet him in the finals;  a single win and a loss on the winners’ side and 10 on the loss side. Rudder played two more matches, for a total of 14, and when they were over, Rudder had claimed his first 2018 title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Click’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, JB Cases, Dallas Eight-Ball League, Outsville (Accu-Rack), Granite Guyz, BCAPL/CSI and Internet Marketing Solutions. The next stop on the Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for July 14-15, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by The Hideaway in Dallas, TX.