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Elder Pendley brother, Marcus, chalks up first win on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Marcus Pendley

They’ve been away from the tables for a while now, brothers Marcus and Adam Pendley, but they’re back and appearing together at stops on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour with some regularity. Younger brother, Adam (31) split the top two prizes at an event earlier this summer and last month, finished as runner-up to Jesus Atencio at the Rock House in Gastonia, NC. Marcus (33) finished in the tie for 7th at that stop. This past weekend, Saturday, Nov. 5, at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards, Adam Pendley finished in the four-way tie for 9th place, while his older brother, Marcus went undefeated though a field of 29 entrants to claim his first title on the Viking Cue’ Q City 9-Ball Tour.

Marcus battled separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of the event. He and Jeff Abernathy, working from opposite ends of the bracket, advanced through the field to meet Brady Brazzell and Thomas Sansone in the two winners’ side semifinals. Marcus had previously faced and defeated Matt Lumston in the second round of play and would meet him again in the finals.

Marcus defeated Brady Brazzell 7-2, as Abernathy was working on a 9-1 victory over Sansone. Marcus claimed the hot seat in a double hill battle versus Abernathy and waited for Lumston to complete the seven-match, loss-side run that would put him into the final match.

On the loss side, Lumston, who had won his opening match versus junior competitor Hayleigh Marion and then lost a double hill match against Marcus Pendley in the second round, advanced through the loss-side and immediately after defeating junior competitor Tristan Jenny 8-1 and Reid Vance 8-4, drew Brazzell. Sansone picked up Ray Beegle, who’d recently eliminated Steve Dye, double hill, and Rudy Hess 5-2. Hess had previously survived a double hill battle against Adam Pendley in the 9th/12th place matches.

As it turned out, Brazzell and Sansone walked right into their second straight loss. Lumston and Beegle advanced to the first money round with Lumston shutting Brazell out and Beegle winning a double hill match versus Sansone.

Lumston then eliminated both Beegle in the quarterfinals and Jeff Abernathy in the semifinals by the same 8-3 score. He would also come within a game of making the final a double hill match, but Pendley, on the brink of his first tour win, got out in front near the end and claimed the event title 7-5.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 12-13) will be a $500-added event, hosted The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

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Hollingsworth chalks up sixth win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Landon Hollingsworth

Still just practicing.

As this appears on the page, Junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth is either on his way or at Pat Fleming’s International Open in Norfolk, VA to compete in the 18 & Under Boys’ championship event of the 2022 Junior International Championship (JIC) series. As a warm-up to the event this past weekend (Sat., Oct. 29), he travelled to Columbia, SC to compete in a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour at Overtime Billiards. He went undefeated through the $500-added event that drew 33 entrants and marked his sixth victory on the tour since 2020. It’s his second tour victory of this year (he won the last stop on the tour a month ago), to go along with finishing first in the JIC’s ProAm Division (which earned him a paid entry to Puerto Rico’s 10-Ball Open later this month), the Dynaspheres Cup’s Junior 9-Ball event (20 & Under) and a third place finish in Shane Van Boening’s Junior Open, held in conjunction with Matchroom Sport’s US Open last month.

The clearest sign of his progress since he first came on the scene is not just the visible improvement of his skills. On the Q City 9-Ball Tour (and elsewhere), his ranking, based on the number of games he has to win to complete a match has steadily increased.

“Four years ago,” noted Q City 9-Ball Tour director Herman Parker, “he came into our events as a ‘5.’ He’s a ‘10’ now.”

Hollingsworth and Hunter White (himself, a recently-former junior competitor, also a ‘10’ now) battled twice for this event title; hot seat and finals. Hollingsworth won them both.

They advanced through the field from opposite ends of the bracket with Hollingsworth facing Jason Blackwell in one winners’ side semifinal and White squaring off against Jesse Draper in the other. Hollingsworth fought a double hill battle before advancing to the hot seat match against Jason Blackwell. Hunter gave up only a single rack to Draper. Hollingsworth then gave White a taste of his own ‘winners’ side semifinal’ medicine, allowing him only a single rack to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, in the first money round, Blackwell picked up Calvin Lee, who’d recently defeated Will Hammer and Josh Miller, both 6-4, which, versus Miller, was double hill. Draper drew Phil Stalls, who’d eliminated Stevie McClinton and Matt Lucas, both 6-3.

Draper advanced with a double hill win over Stalls. Blackwell did not, falling to Lee 6-3. Lee then defeated Draper 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

Lee almost made the semifinals ‘double hill’ interesting, but fell a game short, as Hunter White won 10-4 (Lee racing to 6). The likelihood of White falling to Hollingsworth a second time with only a single rack to show for it was slim. As had happened in the semifinals, the final match came within a game of double hill. Hollingsworth, though, completing what could only be described as good practice for this coming week on his schedule, completed his undefeated run through the field with a 10-8 victory for his sixth Q City 9-Ball Tour win.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Overtime Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 5-6) will be hosted by Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

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Corr to face Tkach in 5 p.m. Women’s final at American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Karen Corr

Jungo will face either Miesko Fortunski or Wictor Zielinski in final Men’s match at 8 p.m.

Prior to this year, Ireland’s Karen Corr had not recorded a payout with us here at AZBilliards since 2019. When she returned in August to make an appearance on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, finishing 4th and a month later, at the WPBA’s Michigan Women’s Open, she finished in a tie for 3rd with Allison Fisher. Last week at the 1st Annual Sledgehammer Open at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN, Kelly Fisher and Russia’s Kristina Tkach played a pair of matches; Tkach winning the first in a winners’ side semifinal and Fisher winning the final. When pool-watchers woke up this morning (Sat.Oct. 29), with their eyes focused to the ongoing brackets of the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships being held at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA this week, they would have noticed that Fisher and Tkach were still a possibility for a repeat final. 

They reckoned without Karen Corr. Making her way into the event’s final 24 with a 4-1 record in the Round Robin stage, Corr moved through the single elimination phase, downing Billie Billing 80-42 and in the semifinals, Kelly Fisher, the event’s defending champion, 100-36. Tkach, who’d defeated Bethany Sykes 80-1 in the quarterfinals and Bean Hung 100-49 in her semifinal will now have the chance to meet Corr at 5 p.m. EDT, a match that could run live (via links) on the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships’ Web site (www.americanstraightpool.com.

Waiting in the wings for an 8 p.m EDT men’s final will be Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo, who defeated Mario He 175-85. Jungo will play someone from Poland; either Mieszko Fortunski or Wictor Zielinski, who are continuing their semifinal match; a race to 175, with Zielinski ahead 29-13 at approximately 4 p.m, EDT.

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Fisher stays atop WPBA rankings with come-from-the-loss-side win at Sledgehammer Open

Kelly Fisher, Janet Atwell and Kristina Tkach

The late Helena Thornfeldt remembered in heartfelt 1st Annual event named in her honor

She was nicknamed the Sledgehammer because of her powerful break. Whenever conversations about Helena Thornfeldt broke out among friends and competitors at the 1st Annual WPBA Cherokee Sledgehammer Open, named in her honor this past weekend (Wed., Oct. 19 – Sun., Oct. 23), more than just a few of the gathered women had cause to remember it; the loud whack of initial contact and the way the balls spread out as though desperate for space beyond the rails to dissipate the energy of it. It had taken over two years for the pool community’s widespread respect and admiration for the late Helena Thornfeldt to arrive at a gathering in her honor. The WPBA Hall of Famer died in August of 2019 and though Janet Atwell, in an attempt to organize a 2020 event, began work on it almost immediately, COVID had other ideas, that persisted.

This past weekend, Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN had one of Thornfeldt’s favorite things, sunflowers, on prominent display. A table was set aside to hold a variety of individual and collections of photos. The trophies that were handed to the winner, Kelly Fisher and runner-up Kristina Tkach were accompanied by two actual sledgehammers, made by Robert Ingold of Team SuperShaft. Atwell is working on the creation of a permanent wall plaque at Borderline Billiards with engraving space for the event’s present and future winners, along with a pair of crossed sledgehammers. The event began on Wednesday with words from Janet Atwell and a video made by Bonnie Arnold that featured, among other things, Thornfeldt singing a karaoke version of Born to be Wild. The event officially opened with the National Anthem sung by Christina Druen.

“I think it was an emotional event for everyone,” said Atwell. “Some went through some struggles with it.”

“Absolutely,” agreed Kelly Fisher. “A very emotional event, that first night. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.”

Kelly Fisher

“We all missed her really,” she added, “and we hadn’t had a chance to show that or feel that, as a family, together. I know that for myself, during that final and a during a few other close matches as well, I could just imagine Helena saying things to me. I went outside at one point to get a breath of air and Monica (Webb) said something to me that Helena would have said and I got kind of fired up there. So for me, personally, she was definitely a presence in my heart and mind.”

Among those in attendance, including Fisher, Tkach and Atwell of course, was Jeannette Lee, who had, in a 2017 interview, called Thornfeldt “the best female straight pool player in the world.” Lee joined Atwell as a member of a ProAm team (one of many) that played a social tournament on opening night, full of blatant sharking and fun. Monica Webb, who ran a restaurant business with Thornfeldt for a number of years, was there, as well. So, too, was the WPBA’s Peg Ledman, a personal friend of Thornfeldt. Not present, though there in spirit, was Allison Fisher, who was in England being awarded an MBE title (a Member of the British Empire) for her “contributions to sport,” many of those, from Britain’s point of view, earned as a snooker player there. The event also featured a strong contingent of (now) relatively well-known junior competitors like Hayleigh Marion (for whom Borderline Billiards is a home room), Sofia Mast, Skylar Hess and recipient of a great deal of attention, 12-year-old Savannah Easton.

The $10,000-added Sledgehammer Open drew a total of 80 entrants to Borderline Billiards, 32 of them drawing byes exempting them from Stage One competition. The 48 others, 16 of whom drew opening round byes in Stage One, played in a double-elimination bracket until there were eight on each side of it. Stage Two awarded byes to the top 16 in the WPBA standings, as the double-elimination bracket got underway, and . . . they were off. 

Headlining the eight competitors who advanced to Stage Two from the winners’ side of the Stage One bracket was Sofia Mast, one of the 16 who’d been awarded opening round byes in Stage One. Her first opponent was Savannah Easton, setting up an early junior marquee matchup. Mast advanced on the winners’ side 7-2, while Easton would move to the loss side, winning three by an aggregate score of 21-5 and advancing to Stage Two. Also advancing on the winners’ side of the Stage One bracket were Kathy Friend, Jaye Succo, Nathalie Chabot, Christy Norris and the Callado sisters, Eleanor and Emilyn. Along with Easton, loss-side competitors advancing to Stage Two were junior competitors Skylar Hess and Precilia Kinsley, along with Nicole Albergaria, Dawn Oldag, Kim Housman, Lisa Cossette and Casey Cork.

Kristina Tkach

The opening round of Stage Two, with Kelly Fisher (among others) idle with opening round byes. Kristina Tkach played and won her opening round against Casey Cork 8-3 and then downed Stephanie Mitchell 8-3 in a match that set her up to face Fisher. Savannah Easton opened the Stage Two part of her title bid with a successful, double-hill match versus J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) veteran Kia Burwell. Easton advanced to face another JPNEWT veteran and the #1-ranked American player in the WPBA rankings, Caroline Pao, where she (Easton), as they say, met her match; Pao winning the contest 8-5. Mast lost her opening Stage Two match to Meng-Hsia (Bean) Hung 8-2, and moved west for an eventual rematch against Easton. 

Fisher, in the second round, downed Eleanor Callado 8-3 and then, in a late match, fell to Tkach 8-6. Tkach advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal against Pao.

“She obviously had worked very hard and perfected that cut break and I just wasn’t getting my break going,” said Fisher. “She obviously played very well to beat me. I knew she was in good shape and thought “Oh, my!”

At the other end of the bracket, Margaret Fefilova, with relative ease, was working her way through the winners’ side for an eventual matchup against Jennifer Baretta in the other winners’ side semifinal. Fefilova got by Lisa Cossette 8-3 before running into what turned out to be her toughest opponent (as gauged by racks-against), Janet Atwell, who chalked up five against her. Fefilova moved on to down Ashley Rice 8-2 and record a shutout over the #3 competitor in the WPBA rankings, Brittany Bryant, which set her up against Baretta.

Fefilova got into the hot seat match with an 8-3 win over Baretta and was joined by Tkach, who’d sent Pao to the loss side 8-4. On Saturday night, Tkach claimed the hot seat 8-2 over Fefilova and would wait until Sunday afternoon to see who came back from the semifinals.

It was Kelly Fisher. But she wouldn’t play that semifinal until Sunday. In the meantime, Pao and Baretta had business to attend to on what was left of Saturday night. Baretta picked up Savannah Easton, whose improbable and impressive run among this roomful of professional female pool players was still happening as the bracket whittled down to its final six. Easton had followed her loss to Pao with a loss-side, double-hill win over Beth Fondell and then, looking to advance into the first money round (17th/24th), she had the opportunity to avenge her Stage One loss to Sofia Mast. She did so, in a match that appropriately came within a game of going double hill. Easton then eliminated Laura Smith and won a double-hill battle against Emily Duddy. She then downed Monica Webb 8-6 and Dawn Hopkins 8-3.

Larry Easton, Savannah’s father, no stranger to his daughter’s talent, turned to Atwell as he was watching this, as amazed as many of the spectators at how far his daughter had come, in a lot of ways.

“I don’t even know what to say,” he told Atwell.

“She’s got great cue ball control, thinks ahead and plays very smart for her age,” Atwell would comment later. “She’s very strategic and plays great safeties. She plays like an adult and (her career) is off to a great start.”

Pao, in the meantime, drew Fisher, who’d started what she called a “grueling Saturday,” playing five matches in a row from noon to 8:30. She played and eliminated Meng-Hsia Hung (at noon), Janet Atwell (2 p.m.), Susan Williams (4:30) and the WPBA’s #2-ranked competitor, Brittany Bryant (6:30), all 8-4. Fisher defeated Pao 8-3 (8:30), as Baretta elicited a variety of mixed emotions from all assembled by ending Savannah Easton’s run 8-1. There was a lot of spectator applause in the moment, some of it for both of them, but a lot of it for the talented junior.

“People were excited to see her play,” said Atwell, “and happy with her finish.”

In a quarterfinal battle appropriate to the circumstances, played the following morning, Fisher and Baretta went double hill before Fisher prevailed. In the semifinals, Fisher went back to the loss-side pattern she’d established and punching her ticket to the finals, defeated Fefilova 8-4. Fisher might have played six matches to be in the finals, but thanks to Tkach, it required eight, including a loss. The rematch came within a game of double hill, but not before Fisher found herself down 2-5 and later, 5-8; Tkach a rack away from the hill.

“I was spurred on by pure determination really and the will to win it,” she said of her comeback. “I told Helena, I looked at her picture and like that, ‘Come on, do this for you’ kind of thing and whether you believe in that kind of thing or not, it’s not about who or what it takes to spur you on, but doing whatever it takes.” 

“Whatever it was,” she added, “things turned around. I dug in my heels, hit a gear and took charge of the match.”

From 2-5 down, Fisher won eight of the last 11 games, including the last five in a row. Quite the gear, all things considered. Whether it was herself, Helena, or just the adrenaline of a final push to the finish line, Fisher brought it all to bear and claimed title to her close friend’s first and likely not the last memorial.

Helena Thornfeldt

The 1st Annual WPBA Cherokee Sledgehammer Open came about through the efforts of any number of people, all of whom host Janet Atwell thanked, from the players and spectators to the members of her staff. She also thanked event sponsors the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Brad Hendricks Law Firm (Little Rock, ARK), Patty and Walter Harper of Knoxville and the streaming services of DigitalPool with Upstate Al, Zach Goldsmith and a number of competitors who joined them in the booth.

Editor’s note: Helena Thornfeldt died on August 20, 2019 at the age of 52. Originally from Borlange, Sweden, she was living in Villa Rica, about 35 miles west of Atlanta, when she died. She had opened a new restaurant, Pizza Mania, 15 days before she passed. The “Sledgehammer” turned professional in 1994, was a three-time European straight pool champion and won the 2002 US Open Championship in New Mexico, downing Allison Fisher in the finals. In the year she was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2017, she was ranked 9th among American pool players. We here at AZBilliards join with members of the ever-expanding pool community in mourning her loss and in the years to come, celebrating the life of such a vibrant, widely-admired and respected member of our community at an annual Sledgehammer Open.

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Caroline Pao Becomes the #1-Ranked US Player on the WPBA

Caroline Pao

On the long weekend of Sept. 21-25 in Battle Creek, MI, Caroline Pao became the top-ranked USA player on the WPBA, moving ahead of Jennifer Baretta into fourth place behind the UK’s Kelly and Allison Fisher and Canada’s Brittany Bryant. She did this after finishing in the eight-way tie for 9th place at the Predator US Pro Billiard Series at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. Her rise to this pinnacle in her career, her best-recorded earnings year since she began appearing on our payout lists over 20 years ago, has been the result of hard work, dedication, practice-practice-practice, and the assistance of a number of sponsors. Not to mention a little bit of luck related to recent WPBA history, which saw the number of yearly events diminish over the past few years and gradually, over the past year or so, saw the event-numbers go up, dramatically, in part due to the tour’s ongoing association with the Predator US Pro Billiard Series.

The WPBA ranking system doesn’t work the way many regional-tour ranking systems do, confining its rankings to a single season and starting over when a new season begins. The WPBA allots points to its members over a series of associated events, and as the points associated with a recent event are recorded, the oldest event on the ongoing list drops off the ranking radar. The ranking list that was updated after the Michigan event listed 10 events, dating back to Wisconsin’s Aramith/Doctor Pool Classic in November, 2019, at which Pao finished in the tie for 17th place. The next event, moving forward in time occurred in 2020 and the next in 2021. The next seven have occurred in this calendar year; three of them (so far) associated with the Predator US Pro Billiard Series. The number of offered events had a way of drawing more foreign competition back to the North American WPBA Tour, which accounts for some of Pao’s surprise that in the midst of this rejuvenation of the tour and the return of many competitors, she has somehow managed to move from 11th place on the ranking list when the year started, to 4th on that list, and as it turned out, the top American on it.

She wasn’t surprised because she had any doubts about her skills or dedication to the task(s), but because of this particular year’s worth of challenges. It is, she’ll tell you, something that she loves to do and given the fact that she also holds down a full-time job as a representative for Mezz Cues here in the US, her status as a member of the pool community is 24/7.

“I feel really lucky to have this ranking as the top USA player on the WPBA,” she said, “However, I want to say that the competition has been a lot more stern than it has been over the last few years because of all of the international players who’ve come back to play.”

Along with the top three on the WPBA ranking list (the Fishers and Brittany Bryant) who’ve been here right through the tour’s ‘lean’ years, are (among others) such players as Taipei’s Tzu-Chien Wei (runner-up to Kelly Fisher in Michigan), Spain’s Amalia Matas and Indonesia’s Angeline Ticoalu (tied for 4th in Michigan), and in a welcome return that could signal more events to come for her, Ireland’s Karen Corr.

According to Pao, coming to terms with playing that level of player requires a kind of mental adjustment that is not easy to accomplish. As standard as the ‘play the table, not the opponent,’ may be, it is definitely easier said than done.

“I think that whenever you do play big-time players, (the Fishers, Tzu-Chien Wei, Barretta and others), their presence is known,” she said. “Whether you like it or not, or try not to focus on it, they’re there and you know it. For you to forget about that and focus on you is harder with them, just because of who they are.”

It’s a strange human trait to note the presence of a particular human being across the table from you and allow that to affect the skills, concentration and focus that as a player, you’ve put in so much time to accomplish.

“It really is and no matter how hard you try to fight it and tell yourself (not to be influenced), this game is about 80% mental,” she said. “There’s skill involved, but overall the mental process overtakes it all and while you might make a certain shot nine out of 10 times, in one moment, your percentage might fall.”

“I’ve seen so many countless players miss a key shot like that, but it’s not the same scenario,” she added. “This one moment might be the shot that can make or break you and you might have made it a thousand times, but this one time, you twisted your wrist, or your timing’s a little off, or you shanked it a little bit or held your cue too tight. It could be any of those reasons to throw that one shot off, at that particular time.”

Though she has yet to win a WPBA event, she is a regular competitor on them and is regularly among the top players at the end.

“I think it’s just that my play has been consistent and I tend to come into the top 16,” she said of her advancement to the top US spot in the rankings. “That’s how the points add up to do it.”

She is already looking ahead, not only to specific events in the future, but to ways that she can improve her skill set and approach to the game. And though “grateful and excited” with her recent results, she’s not quite where she wants to be. Yet.

“My dream, and it’s a long shot, is to win a WPBA event,” she said. “It is so hard with (the likes of) Kelly, Allison and Kristina (Tkach). It’s great to come out on top with one of these players in a match or event, but to do it consecutively is Hard!!”

“I think I still need to fine-tune some things in my game,” she added, “things that they’ve already taken care of. For me to beat them consistently, aside from confidence and a strong mentality, I still need to work on a lot of aspects of my game.”

“Pocketing the balls and running out, for example, is one big part of the game, but defense, safety play, kick safes, kicking balls in, all of that also is a big part of the game. The (higher-level players) are better in that part of the game. Even if I play a decent safe, their chances of kicking it in or kick-safing it back to me are a little higher in percentage than me.”

She’s also looking ahead to some events that will not offer her WPBA opportunities in pursuit of the dream, like an upcoming stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour and continuing to compete on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, at which she has had considerable success over these past couple of years. She’ll also continue her dream quest at the WPBA’s Sledgehammer Open, a Helena Thornfeldt Memorial event at Janet Atwell’s room (Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN; Oct. 19-23), could compete in another of the Predator US Pro Billiard Series event in Puerto Rico (Nov. 15-19) and travel to Rothchild, WI to compete in the Dr. Pool Classic (Dec. 7-11).

She is immensely grateful to her sponsors – Mezz Cues, Sugartree Cues, Raxx Pool Room (West Hempstead, NY), Kurweil’s Country Meats, Three-Second Cases.

“Without them,” she said, “honestly, it would have been pretty rough to attend all the events.”

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Lumston goes undefeated on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour to win his first event

Matt Lumston

To the best of our knowledge, Matt Lumston’s undefeated victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (Aug. 27-28) was his first tour victory anywhere. It will, as he enters the AZBilliards database, be the last time that will be said of his ongoing career at the tables. Runner-up Josh Miller entered the database for the first time two and half years ago, when he finished 9th at Q City 9-Ball stop in Spartansburg, SC and later that year (July), finished 4th at a tour stop in Bristol, TN at Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards. Borderline Billiards hosted this most recent, $250-added stop, which drew 27 entrants.

This was not some one-off ‘luck of the day kind of thing,’ where an unknown works his way through a mediocre field or, by bracket draw, manages to bypass competition against much stronger opponents. Lumston and Miller both had to contend with Cory Morphew, who’s in the middle of his best earnings year to date, in a career that dates back (as far as we know) to 2011. He finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, this year alone. Lumston took him down 7-3 in the first round and Miller fought him to double hill before leaving him in the 3rd place dust. Lumston also defeated one of the country’s top-ranked junior competitors, Landon Hollingsworth (#2 in the 2022 season rankings of the Junior International Championships’ 18U and ProAm divisions). Were it not for Cory Morphew’s work in the event quarterfinals, Miller would have had to face him in the semifinals.

Lumston met up with Hollingsworth in one of this event’s winners’ side semifinals, while Miller squared off against Reid Vance (yet another Q City 9-Ball veteran with a win on this tour in 2020). Lumston sent Hollingsworth to the loss side 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match Miller, who’d battled to double hill before sending Vance over to the loss-side 5th/6th matches. Lumston took command and claimed his first hot seat 7-2 over Miller.

In a pair of loss-side, tour-veteran battles, Hollingsworth drew room owner, Janet Atwell, while Vance picked up Morphew. Atwell had recently eliminated Donnie Lester 7-1 and Scott Howard 7-4 to reach Hollingsworth. Morphew, working on a seven-match, loss side winning streak, had chalked up wins #4 and #5 against Ricky Bingham 9-4 and James Brown 9-3.

Morphew and Hollingsworth advanced to the first money round, the quarterfinals; Morphew 9-4 over Vance and Hollingsworth 9-1 over Atwell. Morphew and Hollingsworth battled to double hill in those quarterfinals before Morphew finished his seventh and what proved to be his last match win of the day (as the Saturday was becoming an early Sunday).

A second double-hill battle was waged for a ticket to the finals. Josh Miller began the semifinals with four ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 9. He chalked up the five he needed before Morphew was able to record the nine he needed and advanced for a second shot against Lumston, waiting for him in the hot seat.

The final match was threatening to beat dawn on Sunday morning. Lumston, though, got out in front and claimed his first event title, 7-3 over Miller and beat dawn to the finish line at around 4 a.m.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will bring a $500-added event to Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC on this Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-4).

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Dill gives up first set of finals, wins second set to claim first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

New venue, new winner on the tour.

In the early hours of Sunday, August 14, Chad Dill, occupying the hot seat at the time, entered the second set of a double elimination final against 16-year-old Hunter Zayas on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Dill fought Zayas in the second set, battling him to a double-hill, final game, which he won to claim his first Q City 9-Ball Tour title and enter the AZBilliards database of players for the first time. The $250-added event drew 28 entrants to the new venue, Action Billiards in Inman, SC.

Dill and Zayas were among the winners’ side final four, but did not face each other. Dill faced Jason Blackwell in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Zayas met Dalton Messer in the other. Dill got into the hot seat match with a double hill win over Blackwell, and was joined by Messer, who’d sent Zayas over 6-3. Dill sent Messer off to the semifinals 5-3 and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Zayas and Blackwell, got ‘right back onto their horses’ with victories. Zayas picked up Cameron Hollingsworth, who’d defeated Terry Cannon 5-3, and his older brother, Landon Hollingsworth 5-5 (Landon racing to 9) to reach him. Blackwell drew Marc Rochester, who’d recently eliminated Cory Edwards with a shutout and Katie Bischoff 6-2.

Zayas downed Cameron Hollingsworth 6-3. Blackwell joined him in the quarterfinals, after ending Rochester’s day 6-4. Zayas then took out both Blackwell in the quarterfinals and Messer in the semifinals 6-3.

Entering the finals, as Saturday turned into Sunday, Zayas was looking for his first recorded cash payout in 2022 and his first win on the tour since February, 2021. Hot seat occupant Dill was also looking for his first 2022 cash payout, his first ever, along with his first win on any tour, anywhere. Zayas had the ‘experience’ upper hand in the double elimination final and took the opening set 6-3. But Dill came back in the second set to knot the proceedings at double hill; 4-5 (Zayas racing to 6). Dill won the 10th and final game to claim his first title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff of the tour’s newest venue, Action Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Breaktime Billiards (Winston-Salem, NC), BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will be off this week and be back at the tables on the weekend of August 27-28 at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. 

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Miller wins her 5th on the JPNEWT; qualifier for WPBA “Sledgehammer Open” in October

Briana Miller and Nicole Albergaria

Corr returns, Albergaria wins qualifying spot

One can only imagine that while the entrants on this past weekend’s (Aug. 13-14) stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour were happy to see Ireland’s Karen Corr back at the tables, and in spite of the pool mantra of ‘playing the table, not the opponent,’ there had to be an underlying sense of trepidation. Some, arguably many, remembered that the last time Corr had lost a JPNEWT event in which she had appeared had been seven years ago. As it happened, it was also the year (2015) that she was the tour champion, winning the first eight stops of 11 that year and for reasons lost to the mists of time, finishing 9th at that year’s season finale.

The assumed ‘trepidation’ didn’t affect the JPNEWT’s current, #1-ranked player, Briana Miller, at all. In fact, she opened what turned out to be an undefeated run to her fifth win of the 2022 season by defeating Corr in the opening round. Corr fought back, winning four on the loss side before she became ill and had to withdraw from the event quarterfinals, which would have put her up against Kia Burwell. 

The event was a qualifier for the WPBA “Sledgehammer” Open, a memorial event for the late Helena Thornfeldt, scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 19-23 at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Though won by Miller, she deferred the qualifying spot to runner-up, Nicole Albergaria. The $750-added event drew 13 entrants to Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, the same site where Corr had last lost an event on the JPNEWT. Triple Nines added the $500 to the general money-added coffers and $250 more for the entry fee to the “Sledgehammer” Open. A raffle cue netted $160 to supplement Albergaria’s travel expenses to that event.  

Following her opening-round victory over Corr, Miller advanced through Kia Burwell 7-5 (the tour’s current #3) to draw Char Dzambo in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Albergaria, in the meantime, got by Kathy Friend 7-3 and Lynn Richard 7-1 to pick up Judie Wilson.

Miller defeated Dzambo 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Albergaria, who’d sent Wilson to the loss side 7-3. Miller claimed the hot seat 7-1.

On the loss side, Dzambo drew Karen Corr, who’d previously eliminated Carol V. Clark, Lynn Richard and tour director, Linda Shea (#2). Wilson picked up Burwell, who’d defeated Kathy Friend 7-4 and Calala Jackson 7-1 to reach her.

Corr advanced to the quarterfinals 7-3 over Dzambo and would have been joined by Burwell, who’d eliminated Wilson 7-2. But Corr withdrew from those quarterfinals, sending Burwell to the semifinals, where she was defeated by Albergaria 7-2.

In their second of two, Albergaria, playing in her first event of the JPNEWT season, downed Burwell 7-2 for a second shot at Miller. Albergaria improved on her 7-1 hot seat performance and came within a game of forcing a 13th deciding game. Miller, though, claimed the event title 7-5.

Current and soon-to-be tour directors Linda Shea and Briana Miller thanked the ownership and staff at Triple Nines for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues and stream commentator, George Hammerbacher. The next stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for the weekend of September 17-18, has been cancelled. The tour will return to the tables on the weekend of October 8-9 at Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA.

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Pao stops Miller’s four-event winning streak, comes from loss side to win JPNEWT stop in NJ

Briana Miller and Caroline Pao

Next up, WPBA qualifier to inaugural Helena Thornfeldt Memorial – The Sledgehammer Open 

As Briana Miller began the process of assimilating duties she will be performing as full-time tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour in January, she signed on to compete in its latest event, looking to chalk up her fifth straight win since the 2022 season began in March at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. Current tour director Linda Shea won the only 2022 event in which Miller did not compete back in May. This past weekend (July 30-31), Caroline Pao, who’d been runner-up to Miller in the March season opener, battled her twice this time out, hot seat and finals; Miller, winning the first and Pao, claiming the title by winning the second. The event drew 19 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

During her absence from JPNEWT events since March, Pao had not been idle. She cashed in five events elsewhere, one per month, including three WPBA tournaments (Northern Lights Classic, Ashton Twins Classic and WPBA Masters), a stop on the Joss Tour and a 5th place finish at the SBE’s Women’s 9-Ball Pro Players Championship. She was looking for her first 2022 victory and found it in New Jersey. 

Pao opened her bid for that win with a 7-1 victory over Carol V. Clark and a 7-2 victory over Melissa Jenkins to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Kris Consalvo Kemp. Miller, in the meantime, got by Kathy Croom 7-3 and in a present/future TD match downed Linda Shea 7-4, to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against the tour’s #3 competitor, Kia Burwell.

Pao got into the hot seat match with a 7-1 victory over Kemp and was joined by Miller, who’d defeated Burwell 7-3. Miller claimed the hot 7-3.

On the loss side, Burwell picked up Kathy Croom, who’d lost her opening match to Miller and went on to defeat Ginny Lewis 7-2, Melissa Jenkins 7-5 and Susan Kimble 7-2. Ada Lio, who’d lost her opener to Shea and following victories over Anna Marks 7-2, Sheila Joner 7-1 and Alyssa Solt 7-3, won her rematch versus Shea 7-3 to draw Kemp.

Lio advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Kemp and was joined by Burwell, who’d eliminated Croom 7-4. By the same score, Burwell defeated Lio in those quarterfinals. Both semifinalists – Burwell and Pao – were looking for a second shot at Miller in the hot seat and predictably, the battle that ensued went double hill. Pao prevailed.

With that pool-player’s friend ‘momentum’ in play, Pao came into the finals looking for her first 2022 title. She edged out in front of Miller in those finals, eventually extended the lead to four racks and claimed her first JPNEWT and 2022 title 9-5.

Shea and Miller thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor, Baltimore, MD). The next stop on the JPNEWT (#8), scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 13-14 at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, will be a WPBA qualifier. The winner will receive entry to the WPBA’s $10,000-added Sledgehammer Open, a tribute to the late Helena Thornfeldt. That event, scheduled for Oct. 19-23, will be hosted by Janet Atwell at her Borderline Billiard’s room in Bristol, TN.

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Fisher ‘twins’ are winner and runner-up at 5th Annual WPBA Ashton Twins Classic

Brittany Bryant, Kelly Fisher and Allison Fisher

About two months ago, Kelly and Allison Fisher squared off in the finals of the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic, which was the first time they’d met in an event final in six years, when Allison downed Kelly twice in the 2016 finals of the 19th Annual International Women’s Tournament of Champions at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. It didn’t take anywhere near that long between final meetups this time around, because following their finals match in the Northern Classic (won by Kelly), they squared off again this past weekend (June 23-26) at the 5th Annual Ashton Twins Classic. Allison was the event’s defending champion, having defeated Jennifer Baretta in the finals of the event the last time it was held in 2020. Kelly claimed the title this time, coming from the loss side to do it at the event which drew 63 entrants to The Hidden Spot in Calgary, Alberta.

With the Northern Lights Classic and the Super Billiards Expo, the WPBA competitors had been getting back into the stroke of things, to include renewing acquaintances and enjoying the companionship that had marked their days pre-COVID. The Ashton Twins Classic continued that process as the cream of the WPBA crop gathered. Kelly was the event’s #1 seed, with Brittany Bryant as #2. Allison was #3 with Caroline Pao #4 and Janet Atwell #5. Rounding out the top 10 seeds were Ashley Burrows, Emily Duddy, LoreeJon Brown, Kim Newsome and Teruko Cuccelelli.

Kelly’s path to the hot seat match was relatively undramatic; in races to 8, downing Katherine Robertson (2), Eleanor Callado (2), Kelly Cavanaugh (3) and Maria Teresa Ropero Garcia (1), she drew Pao in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Allison, in the meantime, got by Jana Montour (2), Sandra Badger (1), Stephanie Mitchell (1) and Kyoko Sone (6) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal versus Bryant.

The event’s top four seeds went at it in their respective winners’ side semifinals. Allison sent Bryant to the loss side 8-3, while Kelly was sending Pao over 8-2. Allison grabbed the hot seat 8-4 and waited for Kelly to get back from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Bryant picked up Eleanor Callado, who’d been defeated by Kelly Fisher in the second winners’ side round and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Susan Mello 8-4 and Ashley Burrows in a double hill battle. Pao drew Sone, who, after losing her winners’ side quarterfinal to Allison Fisher, had defeated Maryann McConnell 8-1 and Tamami Okuda 8-2.

Sone, who was seeded just outside the top 10 (#11), downed the #4 seed, Pao 8-6, while Bryant was eliminating Callado 8-1. Bryant stopped Sone’s loss-side run at three matches with a subsequent 8-5 win in the quarterfinals.

And there they were, the event’s top three seeds as the last three standing on Sunday afternoon. Kelly Fisher defeated Bryant 8-4 for a second shot at Allison, waiting for her in the hot seat.

The final was a single race to 10. Allison had chalked up twice as many racks as Kelly to claim the hot seat. Kelly chalked up twice as many as Allison in the finals, 10-5, to claim the 5th Annual Ashton Twins Classic.

The Ashton twins, Beverly and Joanne, who finished 49th and 25th, respectively (Beverly allowing Joanne to advance when they were scheduled to meet in the first loss-side round), along with the WPBA thanked the ownership and staff of The Hidden Spot for their hospitality, along with sponsors Simonis, Esports, Diamond Billiards Products, RAD and ATC. 

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