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Davis, Jr. and Atencio split top two prizes on Player Madness Tour

Mike Davis and Jesus Atencio

With the winner and runner-up of the inaugural Player Madness Tournament series of events in the house, BJ Ussery and Mike Davis, Jr. might have been expected to repeat their dash to the hot seat and finals, but for the second event of the Player Madness Tournaments, held this past weekend (March 5-6), it didn’t turn out that way. Davis did his part, advancing through the field of 71 to go undefeated to the hot seat and finals, but Ussery spent some time on the loss side of the bracket and didn’t make it past the 7/8 matches.  Jesus Atencio, who finished 5th/6th in the inaugural event, was to have faced Davis twice in this one, but they opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. This second event of the series, called “Tha (sic) Iron Masters Matches” (the first was called “The Invasion of the Triangle”) was a $2,000-added event, hosted by Rockhouse Tavern and Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Davis advanced through the field to face Atencio the first time in a winners’ side semifinal, as BJ Hucks and Jacob Brooks squared off in the other one.

Davis advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over Atencio and faced Hucks, who’d sent Brooks to the left bracket 7-4. Davis claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Hucks and for all intents and purposes, his night was over.

On the loss side, Atencio picked up Kevin Hall, who’d recently defeated Kelly Farrar 7-4 and knocked Ussery out 7-3. Brooks drew Brian Francis, who’d eliminated Brian White, double hill and Jimmy Tanner 7-5 to reach him.

Atencio stopped Hall’s loss-side streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Francis, who’d sent Brooks home 7-5. Atencio then dropped Francis 7-5 in those quarterfinals and in what proved to be the event’s last match, the semifinals, defeated Hucks 7-3. Davis and Atencio agreed on the split and joined the rest of the homeward bound.

Tour director Xzavia Boykin thanked the ownership and staff at the Rockhouse for their hospitality, as well as sponsor Classic Billiards. The dates for the next stop on the Player Madness Tournaments series, the NC State 8-Ball Championships, have not been officially set. Visit the Player Madness Tournaments Facebook page for further information.

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McClinton goes undefeated through field of 63 at West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC

Normalcy is bound to mean different things to different people, but for pool players, the participation of 63 entrants at a new venue for the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour is a step in the right direction. Owned by the Newman family, which includes well-known competitor Josh Newman, West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC played host to the tour’s stop last weekend (Sept. 19-20) and added $300 to the event. Long-time competitor on the tour, Stevie McClinton, went undefeated through the field, and downed another regular tour competitor, Zac Leonard, twice to claim the event title.

They met first in the hot seat match, once McClinton had survived a double hill fight against Jacob Brooks (7-5) and Leonard had sent Dan Zemper to the loss side 7-3 in the two winners’ side semifinals, which, given the size of the field, occurred on the second day of competition, Sunday. McClinton took the first of his two versus Leonard 7-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for his return.

On the loss side, Zemper and Brooks got right back to work. Zemper met up with Clay Davis, who’d defeated Jonathan Ailstock 7-5 and Chris Branigan 7-3 to reach him. Brooks drew Landon Hollingsworth, who was looking for his third tour victory since the tour came back from its extended pandemic break. Hollingsworth had defeated Dan Sherrill 7-3 and shut Travis Shelton out to meet Brooks.

It was Zemper and Brooks who advanced to the quarterfinals; Zemper, 6-3 over Davis and with Hollingsworth racing to 7, Brooks, 6-5 over Hollingsworth. Brooks then eliminated Zemper 6-2 in those quarterfinals.

Leonard put a stop to Brooks’ short, two-match loss-side trip with a 7-4 victory in the semifinals. McClinton completed his undefeated run with a second 7-5 victory over Leonard to claim the event title.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the Newman family and their staff at West End Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will add another new venue to its growing list as it visits Tara Billiards in Jonesboro, GA this coming weekend (Sept. 26-27) for a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64-plus).

Garcia and Martin split top prizes on 1st stop back for the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Roland Garcia

Five days before the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour got back to the business of pool tournaments, the governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, gave restaurants in the state the ‘green light’ to open up at 50% capacity. A day later (May 12), he signed an Executive Order extending South Carolina’s specific State of Emergency for 15 days, while noting that as of that day, the state had identified 7,927 cases of COVID-19, to include 355 deaths. According to Tour Director Herman Parker, that occupancy percentage was adhered to during the tour’s two-day stay at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC, where, this past weekend (May 16-17), Roland Garcia and Justin Martin split the top prizes at the $500-added event that drew 52 entrants. Parker estimated that total occupancy at any given time during the two-day event was about 80 people and that while no one was utilizing masks, an informal social distance protocol was able to be maintained.

 

Garcia and Martin opted to split the event’s top two prizes shortly after Martin won the first set of a true double elimination final on Sunday evening, thereby evening their match results at that point to 1-1. Garcia was declared the official winner of the event.

 

They’d met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Justin Duncan and Landon Hollingsworth met in the other one. Garcia sent Martin to the loss side 12-4 (Martin racing to 10). Duncan dispatched Hollingsworth to the left bracket 6-4, and then, followed him over when Garcia downed him 6-4 to claim the hot seat.

 

On the loss side, Martin began his trek back to the finals against Sammy Manley, who’d defeated Clint Clark 5-6 (Clark racing to 8) and Billy Fowler 5-7 (Fowler, racing to 9). Hollingsworth picked up Hunter White, who’d lost his opening match to Romy Malonzo, and then embarked on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included victories over Jacob Brooks 9-4 and Kelly Piercy 9-2.

 

The four of them played 22 games for the right to advance to the quarterfinals. Manley and Hollingsworth won only three of those 22; Manley chalking up two against Martin and Hollingsworth managing only one against White.

 

Martin ended White’s eight-game winning streak 10-6 in those quarterfinals and then, spoiled Duncan’s hopes for a re-match against Garcia with a 10-4 victory over him. With that ever-intangible, though never underestimated ‘loss-side momentum,’ Martin battled Garcia to double hill in the opening set of the true double elimination final and then won it, to force a second set.

 

They didn’t play it. They opted to split the top two prizes and allow Garcia to claim the official event title.

 

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break & Run Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour is being planned. Visit the tour’s Facebook page for specific information on the date and time.

 

Heeter wins 11 on the loss side and double dips White on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Josh Heeter

Tournaments won by players who’ve lost a single match and have returned from the loss side of a double elimination bracket to defeat the undefeated occupant of the hot seat are fairly common; most common when the loser of the hot seat match plays one match on the loss side (in the semifinals) and earns a rematch against the undefeated occupant of the hot seat. Less common is the player who loses his first match early and has to win a significant number of matches, say 10 or more, before even getting the chance to meet the hot seat occupant. Even less common is the player who loses his opening match, wins 10 or more loss-side matches, and then defeats the hot seat occupant to capture his first-ever event title.
 
Meet Josh Heeter. According to our records, he has cashed in only two events on the Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour, finishing third in 2016, and runner-up to Scott Roberts in 2017. On the weekend of January 12-13, he signed on to a $1,000-added Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event, which drew 60 entrants to Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC. Heeter was awarded an opening round bye and lost his first match to Mark Duncan. He proceeded to embark on an 11-match, loss-side trip that propelled him into a final match against the tour’s reigning Bar Box Champion, Brian White, and defeated him twice (the second time, in a double hill fight), to earn his first-ever regional tour title anywhere by winning a total of 13 straight matches. We’ll catch up with him on the loss side in a minute.
 
In the meantime, while Heeter was busy on the loss side, chalking up his 11, White advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against June Bug. Mike Bumgarner and Blade Best squared off in the other one. Each had won, at this point, four matches. White downed Bug 11-1 and in the hot seat match faced Bumgarner, who’d defeated Best 7-2 (five matches each). White won his sixth by defeating Bumgarner 11-1 and claiming the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Best was the competitor who drew Heeter, eight matches into his loss-side run. He’d most recently eliminated veteran competitor Keith Bennett 8-6 (Bennett racing to 11) and Chris Tuten 8-4. Bug picked up Matt Harrell, who’d most recently shut out Jacob Brooks and then downed the tour’s most prolific event champion, JT Ringgold 6-6 (Ringgold racing to 11).
 
Heeter chalked up win #9, 8-2 over Best, as Harrell got by Bug 6-5. In the ensuing quarterfinals, Heeter sent Harrell home 8-2, as well. Heeter earned his spot in the finals and loss-side win #11 with an 8-5 win over Bumgarner.
 
With White racing to 11, Heeter (racing to 8) took the first set of the true double elimination final 8-3. Heeter jumped out to an early, commanding lead in the second set and reached the hill first at 7-2. White put up a furious charge and won eight straight games to knot the match at 7-10. Heeter, though, stayed calm (apparently) and chalked up the deciding game to claim his first regional tour title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Dayne Miller and his Steakhorse staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Jan. 19-20), will be a $250-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.