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“Kwikfire” goes undefeated to win second straight WPBA title

Kelly Fisher

Fresh off her undefeated win two weeks ago at the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic in Minnesota, where she faced Allison Fisher for the first time in a final match since 2016, Kelly Fisher came to the CSI/Predator US Pro Billiard Series’ Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, held this past weekend (March 31-April 3) and went undefeated a second time to capture her second straight WPBA title. Though Allison Fisher was, once again, ‘in the house,’ the two did not meet up at this latest event. Allison was eliminated in the opening round of the single-elimination final phase to which they’d both advanced. The event drew 64 entrants to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The event was divided into two phases; an opening, 64-entrant, double-elimination Phase 1, followed by a 16-entrant, single-elimination Phase 2 that eventually crowned Kelly as the champion. The format was best-two-out-of-three races to 4. If the competitors were tied after two matches, a “spot shootout’ followed to determine the winner.

Kelly, who was in a 16-player, Phase 1 bracket that included eventual runner-up, Brittany Bryant, advanced to be among the eight winners’ side entrants in Phase 2 without having to play a third match. She played a total of 27 games against three opponents in Phase 1 and gave up only three of them, downing Sarah Kapeller (4-0, 4-1), Ashley Burrows (4-0, 4-0) and Cathy Metzinger (4-1, 4-1). To join Kelly in advancement to Phase 2, Bryant, in the meantime, had to play 44 games and lost 18 of them. She got by Anna Riegler and junior competitor Savannah Easton, both 4-2, 4-2, before facing Jennifer Baretta, who won the opening set 2-4. Bryant came back to win the second set and the “spot shootout,” both double hill.

Angela Ticoalu got by Jeannie Seaver, Nicole Keeney and Woojin Lee with an aggregate score of 24-15 to qualify for Phase 2, as did Susan Williams from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket. Williams sent June Maiers, Vang Bui Xuan and Joanne Ashton to the loss side to join Ticoalu in the winners’ side advancement to Phase 2.

Allison Fisher chalked up an even more impressive Phase 1 than Kelly had. She, too, advanced to Phase 2 without having to play a third match against any of her three opponents, downing Susan Wilbur, Veronique Menard and Naomi Williams and giving up only two racks (to Menard, in their second race-to-4). Kyoko Sone joined Allison in advancement to Phase 2 from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket, downing Sandy Badger, 13-year-old junior competitor Sofia Mast and Amalia Matas Heredia.

Rounding out the field of eight winners’ side competitors to advance to Phase 2 were Jasmin Ouschan and Line Kjorsvik. Ouschan got by two of her opponents without having to play a “spot shootout” third match, downing Tamami Okuda 4-2, 4-1 and Beth Fondell 4-1, 4-2, before splitting her first two against Mary Tam 1-4, 4-3. Ouschan won the shootout 3-2 to advance. Kjorsvik did not play a third, tie-breaking “spot shootout” against any of her first three opponents either, joining Ouschan in advancement after defeating Gigi Callejas (4-1, 4-2), Camille Campbell (4-2, 4-0) and Melissa Helland (4-0, 4-1).

After five losers’ side rounds, Kaylee McIntosh, Woojin Lee, Angela Janic, Heather Cortez, Melissa Helland, Mary Tam, Amalia Matas Heredia and Ashley Burrows joined the eight winners’ side competitors in advancement to Phase 2, which in some ways, was notable for those left behind as much as for those who advanced. Among those who failed to make the cut were long-time WPBA veterans (in no particular order) Stephanie Mitchell, Teruko Cucculelli, Monica Webb, Jeannie Seaver, Liz Cole, Kim Newsome, Emily Duddy, Dawn Hopkins, Loree Jon Brown, Janet Atwell and Caroline Pao. It should also be noted that while both 13-year-old junior competitors, Sofia Mast and Skylar Hess, failed to advance, one (Mast) fell to an opponent (Angela Janic) who was among the final 16 and the other (Hess) was eliminated by someone (Cucculelli) who arguably should have been. It was the first appearance for these two extraordinarily talented and professionally-composed young women and WPBA competitors should be on notice that these two will be back and barring any unforeseen life changes, for many years to come.

The Final Four in this event competed in plenty of time for those so inclined to turn their attention to the NCAA Final Four, which got started well after the four ladies in Vegas got underway at about 2 p.m. on Saturday. It was an International Final Four, which was absent representation from the United States.  Kelly Fisher, representing the UK was matched up against Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan. Spain’s Amalia Matas Heredia, who, in February, chalked up her first win on the European Ladies’ Tour, faced Canada’s Brittany Bryant.

Kelly Fisher had kept her no-third-match streak going through the opening round against Heather Cortez, whom she defeated 4-1, 4-0 before drawing Angeline Ticoalu, who took the opening set against Fisher 4-2. Fisher came back to win the second set 4-1 and then, in something of a nail-biter, the “spot shootout” 6-5. Ouschan, who got by Kaylee McIntosh 4-0, 4-1 in the opening round of Phase 2 had her own nail-biter in the second round, where she won two straight double hill fights against Kyoko Sone to draw Kelly.

Advancing to the other semifinal, Bryant had played 24 games against two opponents, eliminating Woojin Lee 4-2, 4-1 and then Ashley Burrows 4-2, 4-3 to advance. Heredia proved to be Allison Fisher’s downfall in the opening round of Phase 2. Fisher took the opening set, double hill, but Heredia came back to win the second set and the “shootout,” double hill. Heredia went on to down Mary Tam 4-1, 4-3 to pick up Bryant.

Kelly Fisher downed Ouschan 4-2, 4-1 in their semifinal matchup. She was joined in the finals by Bryant, who’d defeated Heredia 4-2, 2-4 and 4-2 in the “shootout.” 

It’s not hard to imagine Fisher’s “I’ve got this,” and Bryant’s “Uh, oh, trouble right here in Sin City” when Fisher shut Bryant out in the opening set of the final. It’s also not hard to imagine the spectator’s rooting for Bryant in the second set when she and Kelly finished the 6th game, tied at 3 apiece. Fisher, though, completed her undefeated run by winning the second set to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, as well as sponsors and partners the WPBA, Alfa Coin, CueSports International, Predator Group, Kamui, Seybert’s, Medalla Light, Rums of Puerto Rico, BCA Pool League and the USA Pool League.

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Gigi Callejas Wins AWBT Season Opener

Heather Cortez and Gigi Callejas

Thanks to all the ladies that showed up march 14th – 15th for our 1st stop of the season. Thank you Bull Shooters Michael & Jamie Bates for hosting the 1st stop adding money and excellent service!

45 Ladies showed up for the main event and 24 Guys for the ‘Balls Only’

Big Congratulations to all the ladies that cashed in the Main Event. After day one it was all Heather winning her 1st four matches 7-0 (28-0 total). Day 2 was 8 Ladies that came back. The hot seat match was between Heather vs Leandrea with Heather winning Hill-Hill (7-5). On the B Side after Gigi lost to Leandrea, Gigi won her next 3 matches to make it to the finals. The extended race to 9 Final was all Gigi, winning it with a 9-4 score.

24 Ladies showed up for the 2nd chance with $300 in the pot. Congrats Susan Smith Williams for her 1st place finish.

Thank you to all the sponsors for the support and Edward LaRue for adding money to both the Main Event and 2nd Chance Event! Much appreciated.

Sykes from the JPNEWT wins first major at NAPT Division II Championships in Phoenix

Bethany Sykes (photo courtesy of NAPT – Playnapt.com)

Prior to her start and victory at the $5,000-added North American Pool Tour’s 3rd Annual Division II Championships, held from February 21-24 at Bullshooters in Phoenix, AZ, Bethany Sykes had only one major victory on her brief, two-year, four-event, cash payout resume; two of those payouts were earned on the J. Pechauer Northeast Womens’ Tour (JPNEWT) and two, including the only victory, came on the Action Pool Tour (APT), where, this past November, she won the Virginia State Ladies 8-Ball Championships. It should be noted that the Ladies’ VA State 8-Ball event featured a field of only five entrants, although as they say, a win is a win is a win. For Sykes, though, the NAPT Div. II Championships were her “first big tournament” and the win was like gravy on a main meal of just being thrilled to be there and the four-day joy of participation.
 
“It was an incredible feeling,” she said of her first impressions, “just to be there with that many women in the room (64 entrants).”
 
“It was an awesome experience,” she went on to say, noting that it was her first time playing in a round robin event, and the first time she’d ever had to deal with a shot clock. “I found that the 30 seconds gave me no time for indecision about what could go wrong. There was no thinking about anything but the shot.”
 
As her resume indicates, she’s only been playing the sport competitively for the past couple of years, although she says she’s been in love with the game since she was about nine years old. She got her first cue when she was 16 and now, at 31, she’s crossed a big threshold and won her first major tournament. Her appearances on the JPNEWT and APT over the last year or two helped her to identify and improve some of the basics to which she had not been exposed previously.
 
“I never knew where to put my feet,” she said of her early attempts to develop a stance. “I got a lesson from Karen Corr about five months ago, and she told me where to put my feet.”
 
With her feet sorted out, Sykes joined 63 other women from seven regional ladies pool tours at these Division II Championships; six from the United States and four women from a ladies tour out of Quebec. The most heavily represented tour among the seven was the Texas-based Jerry Olivier Pool Tour (JO), with 14 entrants, about 22% of the field. The Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA) was next with 12, followed by the ‘hometown’ Arizona Women’s Billiards Tour (AWBT), which had 11. The West Coast Women’s Tour (WCWT) sent 9. The JPNEWT contributed 8 (including Sykes), the North Central Pool Tour (NCPT) checked in with 6, while  four women represented the ‘Circuit de Billard Feminine du Quebec.’
 
They broke up into eight round robin flights of eight players each, beginning on Thursday, February 21. Sykes, in Group Two, representing the JPNEWT, was paired with a primarily West Coast field; Cassie Francois and Elaine Eberly from the NWPA, Ginger Bowen from the WCWT, Jaye Succo and Leandra Gaff from the AWBT, Tam Trinh from the JO and Marilou Therrien from the Canadian league.
 
Sykes opened her campaign at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning with a 5-2 win over Francois. In round two, she got by Eberly 4-2 and then, in the final match of the opening day, she survived a double hill fight (4-3) against Trinh, which would prove to be highly significant later. As measured by total games won, she was the ‘flight’ leader at the end of that first day, with 13 games won. Gaff, Trinh and Therrien were second with 12 each.
 
Day two didn’t start out as well. Succo defeated her 5-2. Though Gaff and Therrien had been defeated, as well in the fourth round, Trinh downed Bowen 5-2, putting her out in front (by game points) 17-15.
 
“In that morning match (on the second day),” said Sykes, “(Succo) came out on fire. And from being ahead by one, I was all of a sudden behind by two games.”
 
Sykes survived a double hill (4-3) battle against Therrien in round 5, as Trinh lengthened her game lead by one more, with a 5-2 defeat of Eberly. With the game score between them now at 22-19, in favor of Trinh, they both chalked up 5-2 wins; Sykes over Bowen and Trinh over Succo. The game score between Sykes and Trinh was now at 27-24, with a single match to play.
 
Since the top four in each flight would advance to a 32-player, double elimination bracket, Sykes’ advancement at that point, short of being shut out or winning only a single game in the final match, was pretty much assured. Sykes sealed the deal with a 6-1 victory over Gaff that left her with 30 total wins. When Trinh fell to Francois 5-2 in that final round, she ended up with 29 total wins, allowing Sykes, by a single win (reflected in their earlier match), to enter the double elimination phase as the winner of her individual flight.
 
Heather Cortez, from the AWBT, with 37 total wins in her round robin flight was the top winner in her flight as well as the overall winner of the round robin phase of the event. Other top winners from the individual round robin flights were Michelle Cortez, from the Jerry Olivier Tour, in second place overall with 36 total wins. Susan Williams, with 35, from the AWBT was third. Suzanne Smith, from the NWPA, was fourth with 34, Natalie Chabot (from Canada) and Sykes’ eventual opponent in the hot seat and finals, Kim Pierce from the JO, were tied for fifth with 33 wins each. Yang Liu from the West Coast Women’s Tour was sixth with 31 total wins. Though she’d enter the double elimination phase of the event as the winner of her flight, Sykes was last among the individual flight winners advancing to the final two days of the event. Advancement to the double elimination rounds guaranteed all 32 participants at least of the share of the total $11,400 prize package.
 
“The Round Robin was so scary,” she said. “Every single game mattered. I grew from the experience, though. That Round Robin hardened me.”
 
Seven down, seven to go.
 
Over the next two days, Sykes played seven more matches; four on the winners’ side, one on the loss side, and two in the double elimination final. None were against the opponents she’d faced in her own round robin flight, one was against the overall winner of the round robin phase of the event (Heather Cortez) and three were against Pierce.
 
To get into their first match together, Sykes and Pierce would eventually, in the two winners’ side semifinals, have to get by two AWBT opponents. Sykes opened her winners’ side campaign on Saturday morning, February 23, against Gigi Callejas from the West Coast Women’s Tour, downing her 7-3. She followed that with victories over Jennifer Kraber (JO) 7-3 and then, defeated the overall round robin winner, AWBT’s Heather Cortez 7-4, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against a formidably more experienced opponent, another AWBT entrant, Bernie Store. Pierce, in the meantime, had defeated Nicole Donisi from the NWPA 7-3, both Janna Nelson (7-5) and Khanh Ngo (7-3) from the West Coast Women’s Tour and arrived at her winners’ side semifinal match against yet another AWBT entrant, Susan Williams.
 
Sykes and Pierce got into the hot seat match with identical 7-5 wins over Store and Williams. In their first of three, Pierce claimed the hot seat in a double hill match.
 
“I got on the hill and things just fell apart,” said Sykes of that hot seat match, “and I couldn’t get it back together.”
 
On the loss side, Store picked up Ngo, who, following her defeat at the hands of Pierce, had defeated Stephanie Hefner 7-2, and survived a double hill match against Michelle Cortez. Williams drew Heather Cortez, who, following her defeat at the hands of Sykes, had shut out Kelly Jones and eliminated Tam Trinh 7-5.
 
Heather Cortez and Williams locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Cortez to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Ngo, who’d defeated Store 7-4. Cortez and Ngo had faced each other on the opening day of the round robin matches, with Cortez winning that battle 5-2. This time, in the quarterfinals, it was Ngo who came out on top, winning it 7-5.
 
Sykes, though, having so unexpectedly, but joyfully arrived at this spot in her “first big tournament” was in no mood to let it go. She downed Ngo 7-2 in those semifinals and turned for a second and, necessary in a double elimination format, third shot at Pierce in the hot seat. They locked up in their second straight double hill battle in the opening set, but this time, it was Sykes coming out of it with the win. She completed her 12-2 run with a decisive 7-2 win over Pierce in the second set.
 
“People tell me I have no sense of tension,” said Sykes. “I always feel as though I’m in the right place at the right time. That was what made the whole thing exciting.”
 
“I went out there to get into the top four,” she added. “That was my goal as soon as I read about the tour. This was my first opportunity to get to that level and I spent the week before, imagining what it would be like; thinking of how I’d be telling my Dad about it afterwards.”
 
Exactly one week later, on the first weekend in March, Sykes rejoined her JPNEWT comrades, competing on the tour’s season opener at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. In a field of 22, Sykes had the misfortune of running into tour director Linda Shea, who defeated her in the opening round. She’d win two on the loss side before finishing in the tie for 9th place when she was defeated by Sharon O’Hanlon.
 
And so it goes, in the world of the emerging amateur into the world of the best in pool. Up one day, down the next. She remains somewhat in awe of her “first big tournament” win and is looking ahead at better things to come. She expects, looking ahead to competing at the Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Pro 9-Ball event, her first shot at the Pro level, to continue improving. She is also keenly aware that pool careers, like the tournaments along the way, can be a relentless series of hills and valleys.
 
“My goal,” she said, “is to make the gaps between them smaller and smaller.”
 
“I expect to be playing with the best of them,” she said of her hopes for the next five years. “I have no aspirations of anything in particular, just to be playing at that level.”

Pulley Tops AWBT Stop 4 And Points List

Susan Williams and Amanda Pulley

Amanda Pulley bounced back from a late Saturday loss to win her second AWBT tour stop of the season and jump to the top of the tour’s point list. Pulley was just one of the early favorites in the field of 53 players at Main Street Billiards in Mesa on July 7th – 8th. 

 

Pulley was joined in the field by such notables as Susan Williams, Sara Miller, Pearl Ortiz and Justine Bishop.
 
Things were going well for Pulley early Saturday with wins over Tonya Kurtz and Ilyana Flores but her path took a detour late Saturday after a 7-5 loss to Pearl Ortiz. A 7-2 win over Kristi St Ange was enough to earn Pulley her place in Sunday’s matches.
 
Ortiz came back on Sunday morning for a lopsided 7-0 win on the winner’s side over Sara Sorg, who had a great weekend of matches. The other half of the bracket saw AWBT veteran Susan Williams scoring a 7-1 win over Pati Martinez, who also turned in an outstanding performance all weekend long. The hot-seat match saw Williams with a convincing 7-3 win over Ortiz.
 
On the one loss side, Pulley had wins over Tommy Holben, Martinez and Dawn Polotto before a rematch with Ortiz in the semi-finals. “I wasn’t thinking revenge,” said Pulley, “but I felt strong during the match and this (plus an energy drink) empowered me”. Pulley was definitely empowered as she eliminated Ortiz 7-3 to earn her spot in the finals against Williams.
 
The final race to 9 was a true back and forth battle. Williams took an early 2-0 lead, but Pulley quickly knotted things at 2-2. The players stayed close until Williams was able to pull ahead for a 7-4 lead and she got to the hill at 8-6 but wasn’t able to put Pulley away. Pulley clawed back to 8-8, leaving the ladies playing one game for the title. The pressure of the final game appeared to get to both players as they both had problems pocketing the final 9-ball. After a missed bank by Williams though, Pulley cut the final ball into the heart of the pocket for the win. “I just told myself that I know how to make this shot, and I wasn’t going to give Susan another chance at the table,” Pulley said.
 
Sunday saw 29 players come back for the second chance tournament where Gigi Callejas took first place and Heather Cortez finished in second. Ed Scott and Evans Bishop split the men’s event that was ran alongside the main event. The AWBT will take it’s annual trip to Tucson on August 18th – 19th for an event at Pockets Pool & Pub.

Tagley Returns To AWBT Winner’s Circle

Nina Tagley and Heather Cortez

She had knocked on the door all season, but Nina Tagley finally broke through into the winner’s circle at the AWBT’s 3rd stop of the season at Kolby’s on June 2nd – 3rd.

 

The field of thirty-two players held it’s usual assortment of monsters, but an unusually large number of those monsters found themselves on the one loss side early as four former tour stop winners (Susan Williams, Jaye Succo, Amanda Pulley and Bernie Store) dropped their first-round matches. Of those monsters, Succo was out in two rounds while Store would only make it one more round as she lost in three rounds.
 
Back on the winner’s side, Tagley had her work cut out for her as she scored wins over April runner-up Justine Bishop, Windy “Five Rounds Deep” Breck, Pearl Ortiz and Rae Evans. As if that wasn’t a tough enough draw, Tagley then had to face “The Torpedo” Heather Cortez. Tagley would drop the match to Cortez 7-3.
 
The left side of the board came down to Evans and Ortiz, who were both looking to avenge their early losses to Tagley and then take on Cortez. Evans got past Ortiz 6-5, but Tagley then made quick work of Rae Evans, beating her by the same 7-2 score that she beat her on the right side of the board.
 
The extended final set between Cortez and Tagley saw Tagley score a hard-fought 9-6 win for her first tour stop win in well over 10 years.
 
Tagley credited home field advantage with helping her get back to the winner’s circle in this one. “I’ve played at Kolbys for nearly 30 years, and last year it was Heather and I 1st and 2nd at this event at Kolbys” Tagley remembered. She also pointed out how close she has been in recent stops. “If you look at the last six events, I’ve scored 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishes. I think my focus level has changed a bit recently, I’m a bit more disciplined now than I used to be.” she said.
 
Eleven players came back on Sunday to compete in the second chance tournament, with Mary Walczak defeating Justine Bishop for the hot-seat, and then Sandi Wilson in the finals, for first place.

Pulley Wins Freezers’ AWBT Tour Stop

Amanda Pulley and Justine Bishop

They came out in droves at the 2nd stop of the Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour, with a field of 56 players at Freezer’s Ice House on April 28th – 29th.

 

Surprisingly in a field of that size, early rounds held their fair share of marquee matchups with #3 ranked Amanda Pulley starting her tournament off with a 6-3 win over #1 ranked Bernie Store and Las Vegas’ Mary Coffman scoring a first round 7-2 win over Sara Miller. While those matches were not necessarily upsets, junior player Tory Conley’s 5-5 win over Jaye Succo was an eye opener and just went to show how much the junior player’s games are improving.
 
The top half of the board saw Pulley score wins over Windy Breck, Pearl Ortiz and #2 ranked Heather Cortez to earn her place in the hot-seat match on Sunday. The bottom half of the bracket was all about Justine Bishop as she dominated her matches, not allowing an opponent more than three games against her. As if that performance wasn’t strong enough already, Bishop then went on to beat Pulley 6-1 for the hot-seat.
 
On the one loss side, Susan Williams was on a run. After a first-round loss to Store, Williams won seven straight matches on the left side of the board, including over such notable opponents as Cathy Kelley, Conley, Tracie Hamman and Cortez. Williams’ run was finally brought to an end by Pearl Ortiz who had put together a four-match winning streak after the earlier loss to Pulley. The win over Williams earned Ortiz another shot at Pulley, but she wouldn’t fare any better with a 6-3 loss.
 
Bishop won the first two games in her first AWBT finals appearance in more than a decade. Pulley pulled the brakes on her and won the next 8 games in a row to clinch the match
 
When asked about this tournament – her 4th tour win – Pulley commented on the tough field. “In this tournament, each time I discovered my next opponent, I was like, “Awww, man, another monster?” And each time with luck and skill, I found a way to work through the match. I was calm after the initial anxiety, and without expectation; that helped a lot.”
 
Twenty-two players came back for Sunday’s second chance tournament, where Veronica Poore defeated Jaye Succo in the finals for first place.
 
The AWBT will next be in action on June 2nd and 3rd at Pockets in Tucson.

Van Boening Earns Fifth US Bar Table 9-Ball Champion title

Jessica Frideres and Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening of South Dakota added a fifth US Bar Table 9-Ball Championship to his resume Thursday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, beating James Aranas of the Philippines in the finals, 9-2.
 
Van Boening went into the finals undefeated, posting wins over: Abrin Schaad, 9-6; Ernesto Dominguez, 9-3; Oscar Dominguez, 9-7; Billy Stephan, 9-1 and Mitch Ellerman, 9-4. Van Boening beat Aranas to earn the hot seat, 9-7.
 
Aranas’ path to the finals included beating: Donald Weatherby II, 9-3; Jeremy Edwards, 9-7; Jason Klatt, 9-6; Sky Woodward, 9-8; and Amar Kang, 9-7. After losing the hot seat match, Aranas beat Jesse Engle, 9-2, to earn a place in the finals.
 
Van Boening kept control in the final match from the start, jumping out to a 4-2 lead. In the seventh rack, the players traded safeties until a kick by Van Boening left the one ball open for Aranas, who then uncharacteristically missed a six ball to let Van Boening back to the table. They traded safeties again until Aranas made a good hit on the seven ball and then scratched, giving Van Boening the game. Van Boening then broke and ran, to go up 6-2. Aranas scratched again in the next rack, giving up another game. Van Boening broke and ran again, then ran out the final rack after Aranas broke dry.
 
Van Boening, player representative for the USA Pool League, previously won the 9-Ball Division at the US Bar Table Championships in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2010. On Tuesday, Van Boening earned second place in the 10-Ball Division.
 
Payouts:
1. Shane Van Boening           $3,500
2. James Aranas                      $2,100
3. Jesse Engel                           $1,400
4. Amar Kang                           $900
5. Mitch Ellerman                   $600
6. Shaun Wilkie                       $600
7. Josh Smith                            $400
8. Sky Woodward                                     $400
9. Ernesto Dominguez           $225
10. Billy Stephan                     $225
11. Demetrius Jelatis             $225
12. Abrin Schaad                     $225
13. Mark Wissman                $150
14. Vinnie Calabrese              $150
15. Oscar Dominguez            $150
16. Dave Strachan                  $150
 
In the Women’s Division, Jessica Frideres added the title of USBTC 9-Ball Division Champion to her resume, to complete a trifecta of USBTC titles. Frideres, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, won the USBTC 8-Ball Division in 2013, and the USBTC 10-Ball Division in 2016. Frideres’ went into the finals undefeated, having bested Molly Oliver, 7-3 and Rachel Lang, 7-5, before beating Heather Cortez for the hot seat.
 
Cortez’s path to the finals included wins over: Trinh Lu, 7-4; Amanda Stevens, 7-1; and Rhonda Moses, 7-1, before Frideres sent her to the B-side of the bracket. Cortez then beat Trinh Lu, 7-4, to earn her place in the finals.
 
But Cortez’s efforts in the finals weren’t enough to beat Frideres, who beat Cortez 7-3 to earn the title.
 
Payouts: 1. Jessica Frideres, $825; 2. Heather Cortez, $425; 3. Trinh Lu, $250
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 8-Ball began Thursday and continues through Saturday, Dec. 16.
 
For more information, contact Mary Coffman, CSI Marketing Manager, at 702-719-7665 or by email at mary@playcsipool.com. 

Woodward Becomes US Bar Table 10-Ball Champion

Skyler Woodward

After settling for runner-up of the US Bar Table Championships’ 10-Ball Division for the past two years, Skyler Woodward, of Paducah, KY, earned the title of 10-Ball Champion Tuesday.
 
Woodward went into the finals undefeated, posting wins over: Ian Costello, 7-3; BJ Fox, 7-1; Mark Wissman, 7-5; Mark Tademy, 7-2; and Vinnie Calabrese, 7-5. Woodward met Mosconi Cup teammate Shane Van Boening in the hot seat match Monday evening, and came back from a 6-4 deficit to win 7-6.
 
Van Boening cleared a clean path through the winner’s bracket as well, beating Donald Weathersby II, 7-2; Robert Doral, 7-2; Amar Kang, 7-6; Jesse Engel, 7-3; and Mitch Ellerman, 7-2; before losing the hot seat to Woodward. In the semifinals, Van Boening beat Vinnie Calabrese, a Australian player with a snooker background, 7-2.
 
In the first set of the finals, Woodward jumped out to a 3-2 lead before a few errors put Van Boening in control of the set. Woodward miscued on an eight ball, allowing Van Boening to tie the score at 3-3. Then Van Boening broke and ran out to take the lead at 4-3. On Woodward’s next break, he scratched, allowing Van Boening back to the table where he ran another rack, and followed that up with another break and run, putting him on the hill. Woodward broke dry and Van Boening ran the rack to win the set and force a second set in the true double-elimination format.
 
Woodward and Van Boening traded games in the second set tied at 4-4. When Van Boening played a safe on a 3 ball. Woodward called the nine, which was hanging in the side pocket, kicked the 3 ball and the cue ball caromed off to make the shot and allow Woodward a run out to gain a 5-4 lead in the match. Woodward broke and had a tough layout, but after making two tough bank shots, he was able to run the rack, putting himself on the hill. In the final game, Van Boening broke dry and Woodward was able to run out to become the 10-Ball Champion.
 
[photo id=48373|align=right]The women’s 10-Ball Division concluded on Monday, a day earlier than normal. First place went to Heather Cortez, $800; second, Rae Evans, $400; third, Trinh Lu, $250.
 
The 9-Ball Division, which started Tuesday, continues today. Still undefeated in the Open division are: Shane Van Boening, Mitch Ellerman, James Aranas and Amar Kang. Fighting through the one-loss side of the bracket are: Dave Stachan, Abrin Schaad, Demetrius Jelatis, Jesse Engel, Josh Smith, Billy Stephan, Ernesto Dominguez, Mark Wissman and Shaun Wilkie.
 
Live streaming of the US Bar Table Championships continues today at 1 p.m. PST. The schedule is as follows:
1 p.m.: Jesse Engel vs. Demetrius Jelatis
2:30 p.m.: Shaun Wilkie vs. Ernesto Dominguez or Mark Wissman
4 p.m. Shane Van Boening vs. Mitch Ellerman
5:30 p.m. James Aranas vs. Amar Kang
7 p.m. Shane Van Boening or Mitch Ellberman vs. James Aranas or Amar Kang (Hot Seat Match)
8:30 p.m. Fourth place match – players TBD
 
For streaming information, go to www.playcsipool/live-streaming.html
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 9-Ball Division concludes Thursday, Dec. 14 and the 8-Ball is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 16.

 

Woodward steals 10-Ball hot seat from Van Boening at 2017 US Bar Table Championships

Skyler Woodward – File photo courtesy of Karl Kantrowitz

Skyler Woodward came back from a 6-4 deficit to steal the hot seat by a score of 7-6 of the 10-Ball Division at the 2017 US Bar Table Championships from Mosconi Cup teammate Shane Van Boening Monday evening.
 
The 24th US Bar Table Championships kicked off Sunday at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The 10-Ball Division wraps up today, as the 9-Ball Division begins. The 9-Ball Division concludes Thursday and the 8-Ball is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 16.
 
Woodward’s path to the hot seat match included wins over: Ian Costello, 7-3; BJ Fox, 7-1; Mark Wissman, 7-5; Mark Tademy, 7-2; and Vinnie Calabrese, 7-5.
 
Van Boening also had a solid day, beating: Donald Weathersby II, 7-2; Robert Doral, 7-2; Amar Kang, 7-6; Jesse Engel, 7-3; and Mitch Ellerman, 7-2; before losing the hot seat to Woodward.
 
At 1 p.m., Van Boening will face Calabrese, an Australian with a snooker background who has only been playing American-style pool for about a year.
 
Calabrese posted wins over: Shane Longest, forfeit; Gary Lutman, 7-6; Donny Branson, 7-4; and Jason Klatt, 7-5; before Woodward sent him to the loser’s side of the bracket, 5-7. Then Calabrese tossed Shaun Wilkie (7-5) and Klatt (7-3) out of the tournament, to secure himself a spot in the semi-finals.
 
The women’s 10-Ball Division concluded on Monday, a day earlier than normal. First place went to Heather Cortez, $800; second, Rae Evans, $400; third, Trinh Lu, $250.
 
Live streaming of the US Bar Table Championships continues today at 1 p.m. with Van Boening vs. Calabrese in the semifinals of the 10-Ball Division. The winner of that match will play Woodward at 2:30 p.m. in the finals. If the true double-elimination finals goes to a second match, that will be streamed at 4 p.m.
 
Selected matches from the 9-Ball Division will be streamed at approximately 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. PST. To access live streaming, visit www.playcsipool.com/watch-live.html.
 
For more information, contact Mary Coffman, CSI Marketing Manager, at 702-719-7665 or by email at mary@playcsipool.com. 

Texas Tornado Lays Waste to AWBT Field

Vivian Villarreal (Photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

As the field is filling up at an AWBT event, players are used to seeing the same group of regulars arrive to throw their hat in the ring. Williams, Store, Cortez, Mello, etc. So, it probably came as a pretty big surprise to most of them when they saw WPBA veteran, Vivian "The Texas Tornado" Villarreal walk into Main Street Billiards for the third tour stop on July 8th and 9th. While Villarreal might have been the most experienced player in the field, she was joined by the largest field at an AWBT stop this season, 37 players. 
 
When play got underway, Villarreal quickly laid to rest any doubts as to who the favorite was at this event. Villarreal spun her way through the winner’s side on Saturday with identical 7-1 wins over Beth Orth, Claudia Morado and road partner, Barbara Lee. Villarreal was joined by New Mexico’s Pearl Ortiz, Bernie Store and Priscilla Hernandez on the winner’s side at the end of Saturday play. The left side of the board was also full of dangerous opponents in the form of Jaye Succo, Barbara Lee, Heather Cortez and Sara Miller
 
Sunday play looked a lot like what the fans had watched on Saturday, with Villarreal getting things underway with a 7-1 win over Ortiz, and then a 7-2 win over Bernie Store to take the hot-seat. 
 
On the one loss side, Barbara Lee eliminated Succo and Hernandez, but couldn’t get by Ortiz and settled for 4th place. Ortiz then dropped the semi-final match to Store 7-2, setting up a rematch between Store and Villarreal in the finals. 
 
While most fans might have expected another lopsided score in the extended final match, Store had other plans completely. “Vivian shoots very fast, and I caught myself shooting at her pace in the first match. In the second match, I concentrated on playing at my usual pace, and it helped a lot” said Store after the event. Store came out and ran the first rack to remind Villarreal that she wasn’t going to just hand her the title. The players battled back and forth, until Store held the lead at 6-5 in the race to 9. From there though, it was all Villarreal, as she won four straight games for the 9-6 win and first place. 
 
Two players in the event earned invites for an upcoming North American Pool Tour (NAPT) stop in Illinois. Barbara Lee’s 4th place finish earned her one spot, with Justin Bishop earning the second.
 
Fourteen players returned to Main Street on Sunday for the second chance tournament, where Veronica Poore turned in a dominating performance to take first. Veronica lost a total of two racks over five complete matches, and was never challenged on her way to first place.