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Jung-Lin Chang goes undefeated to capture 27th Annual Swanee Memorial in Vegas

Jung Lin Chang

Taipei’s Jung-Lin Chang is off to a good start this year. Combined with his 5th place finish at the World Pool Championships in Poland two weeks ago, Chang’s undefeated run to claim the 27th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial this past weekend (Feb. 17-18) has earned him just shy of one-third of all his recorded earnings during the somewhat lean pandemic years of ’21 & ’22, in a single month. And it’s only February.

It wasn’t a bad start for Singapore’s Sharik Sayed either. The annual “Swanee” memorial was his first reported cash finish of this year, after recording a fairly lucrative 2022 at the tables. As the memorial’s runner-up this year, Sayed earned almost as much in the single event than he’d reportedly earned in any one of the three years prior to 2022.

Conspicuous in their absence were the father/son team of Ernesto and Oscar Dominguez, who, in one combination or another over the 27 years of the event, had finished either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in 10 of them, dating back to 2003 when Ernesto won the event in its 7th year. Oscar would have been the defending champion this year. Shane Van Boening, the event’s 2021 champion, who did compete this year, won six on the loss side before being eliminated by Sayed in the semifinals.

Jay “Swanee” Swanson would likely be proud of the international field and continuing enthusiasm for the event that bears his name. Often known as the ‘Gentle Giant,’ he was considered to be among the best money players of all time before he passed in 1996. The $2,500-added, 27th Annual Swanee Memorial drew 53 entrants to Griff’s Bar & Billiards in Las Vegas, NV. 

Jung-Lin Chang’s path to the winner’s circle began with two straight shutouts over Don Mcclelland and Reese Romney. He then advanced through Jordan Holman and Ian Costello to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Feri Satriyadi. Sayed, in the meantime, survived an opening-round double hill battle against Gary Onomura before advancing to down Marshall Jung and then, Shane Van Boening (8-5). He went on to defeat Desmond (Chin Tek) Goh 8-6 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal against Toh Lian.

Satriyadi put up a double hill fight against Chang, but it was Chang who advanced to the hot seat match where he was joined by Sayed, who’d sent Lian to the loss side 8-3. Chang won the first of his two versus Sayed 8-4 to claim the hot seat.

Meanwhile, on the loss side, two potential spoilers to Chang’s aspirations to the event title and Sayed’s hopes for a rematch were battling their way to a confrontation in the quarterfinals. Van Boening had followed his loss to Sayed with four straight, including the elimination of Ian Costello 7-2 and Silviana Lu, double hill, which set him up against Toh Lian. Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp, who’d lost his second-round match to Chin Tek Goh 8-6, set out on a seven-match, loss-side streak that had begun by him giving up only two racks (total) to his first three opponents. He closed in toward the quarterfinals as he eliminated Richard Burns 7-5 and, in a rematch, Chin Tek Goh 7-4. He then faced Satriyadi for the right to advance to those quarterfinals.

Van Boening advanced with a 7-3 win over Lian. Yapp joined him in the quarterfinals with a 7-2 win over Chin Tek Goh. Van Boening added a 6th win to his loss-side trip and put an end to Yapp’s 7-4.

One rematch step away from the potential for a second Swanee title, Van Boening (832) went into the semifinal against Sayed (759) with Fargo odds of winning at 82.3%. Sayed defeated him again, 7-3 this time to earn his rematch against Chang.

Jung-Lin Chang was not sporting a Fargo Rate, or at least any that was included in the bracket information, so it was hard to assess the match from any odds-on kind of way. Given the circumstances though, no one was surprised that the single race to 8 went double hill. Or that Chang emerged as the 2023 Swanee Memorial champion.

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Dominguez goes undefeated to claim 26th Annual ‘Swanee’ Classic at Griff’s in Vegas

Oscar Dominguez, Tim Kovacs and Ruben Bautista

In the absence of the event’s defending champion and runner-up, Shane Van Boening and Corey Deuel, the 26th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial’s 2022 champion was Oscar Dominguez, who went undefeated through a field of 64. Advancing to the hot seat against him was the 2019 winner, Max Eberle, who was ousted in the semifinals by runner-up, Ruben Bautista. The $4,000-added event was hosted by Griff’s in Las Vegas.

As is always the case, the annual memorial to someone who is remembered in the pool community, leads to conversations about him. Jay “Swanee” Swanson, referred to as a ‘Gentle Giant,’ was, by all accounts, one of the best ‘money’ players of all time, before he passed in 1996. In June, 2008, a Forum thread was initiated on AZBilliards, entitled “Tell me about Jay Swanson.” If you weren’t at the tournament and/or know nothing about the man, use the opportunity and read that thread, in lieu of a moment of silence in his honor, to learn what many in the existing pool community already know. 

As it turned out, Oscar Dominguez’ undefeated seven-match march to the finish line of the “Swanee” Memorial was not the longest string of wins at the event. Jordan Holman also had a seven-match winning streak, in between his opening match loss and his final loss in the battles for 5th/6th. The ‘most wins in a row’ prize went to Ronnie Wiseman, who finished 4th, also sandwiching his eight wins between an opening round loss and his last match.

Dominguez’ seven-match march to the finish line started out with a shutout and until the hot seat match, no one chalked up more than four racks against him in the races to 8. Tom Whitten was the opponent he shut out before he gave up three each to Richard Burns and Vilmos Foldes. It was Ernie Rivas who managed the four, which brought Dominguez to a winners’ side semifinal against Ian Costello. 

Eberle, in the meantime, opened with back-to-back 8-2 victories over Charles Joseph Jacques and Scott Bush, before James Davee threw a one-game-away-from-double-hill scare into him with six racks. The ‘scare’ appeared to inspire him, as he shut out his next opponent, Matt Hardwick, and moved on to a winners’ side semifinal against Ruben Bautista.

Dominguez got into the hot seat match with an 8-1 victory over Costello. Eberle joined him after downing Bautista 8-5 and sending him to the loss side from which he would return to challenge Eberle again, in the semifinals, and Dominguez in the finals. 

On the loss side, Bautista picked up Jordan Holman, who’d lost to Jeff Gray in the opening, winners’ side round and was six matches into his loss-side run, that had included recent victories over Ernie Rivas 7-2 and a shutout win over Tim Daniel. Costello drew Ronnie Wiseman, who was six matches into his eight-in-a-row, loss-side run. He’d eliminated Jeff Gray (for Holman), had recently handed Matt Hardwick his second straight shutout and sent Bret Huth home 6-2.

Bautista ended Holman’s loss-side streak, though not before Holman had forced a 13th deciding game. Wiseman, in the meantime, extended his streak to its eighth win, downing Costello 7-2. Bautista left Wiseman in the 4th place dust (7-2) and then, in a rematch, defeated Eberle 7-4 in the semifinals. 

Entering the finals, Oscar Dominguez was sporting a 73% game-winning average through six matches (48-17). Bautista stepped to the table with a 66% average through eight matches (58-29); his loss to Eberle and his first loss-side, double hill match versus Holman had dropped that percentage down from the 78% it had been before he’d run into Eberle. Dominguez won the game-winning percentage in the finals by a fair amount (66%). Bautista’s game-winning average in the finals was dramatically low at 38%, much more dramatic than the actual score. Dominguez completed his undefeated run with an 11-7 win over Bautista to claim the 26th Annual “Swanee” Memorial title.

Tournament director Tim Kovacs thanked Mark Griffin (“for adding the $4,000 and for all (he) does for pool) and his “always awesome” Griff’s Staff for their hospitality. He thanked Daniel Krupinski, as well, for filling in on short notice and doing a good job running the free stream. Kovacs also thanked Mike Moyer for helping things run smoothly ‘on the board.’ He broadened the scope of general thanks, to include any and all who’d supported the event.

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The 25th Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial 4k Added 9-ball Tournament Showcases Big Heart in Las Vegas

Corey Deuel and Shane Van Boening

A full field of 64 strong players came out to Griff’s in Las Vegas over the weekend of April 10th & 11th to compete in “The Swanee”. “The Swanee” is short for the Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial Tournament, and Griff’s hosted its 25th event.

The event attracted several stand out up and coming pros, and legendary road warriors that competed in the double elimination 4k added 9-ball tournament.  The event was free to spectators and available to view on live stream by a professional stream with commentary by BBTV via Griff’s Facebook page.

“Swanee” the player was a legendary, larger than life character who was known as the best player out of San Diego and one of the best in the nation. A towering “Gentle Giant” who was all heart and loved the excitement of competition and followed the action. The legend of Jay “Swanee” Swanson was huge. Unfortunately, “Swanee” had to quit the game after his doctor discovered that he had an enlarged heart and ultimately even he couldn’t contain it.

His legacy continues, and legends reflect back on great road stories and memories like Johnny Archer who respected how he always practiced hard and took the game seriously. After this weekend, even more new players will continue his legacy in remembering and participating in the 2021 Swanee. This event was run by Tim Kovacs and KPP (Kovacs Pool Promotions) and hosted by Mark Griffin, Gary Lutman and Griff’s staff.

All players played one another even with no jump cues allowed. Races to 8 on the winners side and races to 7 on the one-loss bracket. The finals was a race to 11 games. (The player had to win by two games, and if it went to 15-15, the match went to sudden death)

The event drew big names in the game, like Shane Van Boening, Vilmos Foldes, Warren Kiamco, Oscar Dominguez, Chris Robinson and Corey Deuel. The field was filled with a super strong field of talent with big heart.

Talent was deep in the field with 33 players rated 650 or higher with 17 over 700. On paper, Shane Van Boening came into the event as the favorite with an 817 Fargo.

It would be Shane’s old Mosconi Cup teammate, pro Corey Deuel who would stand out by going through the field to the hot-seat undefeated. Corey defeated Sergio Rivas, Oscar Dominguez, John Kocela, Nick De Leon, Danny Olson and Chris Robinson to earn his seat in the finals.

James Cabal, Daniel Sardoncillo, Manny Perez and Oscar Dominguez played solid finishing 9-12th.

Nick De Leon and Chris Lulek, both from team Arizona, had outstanding performances finishing 7-8th. Vilmos Foldes played outstanding throughout the event and knocked Chris Lulek out of the tournament 7-4, before running into a buzzsaw in Shane Van Boening on then TV table, losing 7-1.

Nick De Leon lost a well fought match against one of the favorites, Warren Kiamco, 7-4.

Warren was playing superb pool Saturday and all day Sunday before coming up short in a hill-hill thriller, getting defeated by the “South Dakota Kid” Shane Van Boening 7-6.

Shane would play another Mosconi Cup player, Chris Robinson, on the TV table for a chance to play Corey Deuel in the finals. Shane outperformed Chris in compelling fashion 7-3.

The stage was set, with all eyes on two top American players who have both represented the United States of America on one of pool’s largest stages – the Mosconi Cup. Both players embody all of the characteristics that “Swanee” would be proud of. Both of these players can play the game at the highest level and have heart, big heart.

In the finals…

All eyes were on the final match on the TV table… Corey Deuel vs Shane Van Boening.

Shane continued his hot play on the TV table while Corey played a solid set. Shane capitalized on a few key misses and jumped ahead at 9-6, before Corey closed the gap to two racks at  10 – 8. Corey’s late comeback came to an end with a scratch on the break, as Shane ran out the remaining balls and earned a hard fought victory capturing the 25th Swanee.

Griff’s etches the names of each years champion in a special plaque that has a picture of “Swanee”. This year, Shane Van Boening proved to have the biggest heart and dug the deepest to deliver a gritty win to become the 2021 “Swanee” Champion.

Griff’s had Simonis cloth and new Aramith Duramith Balls on every table. The tables played  perfectly straight and this event featured a special customized red Accu-rack produced by Outsville for this event.

Eberle comes from the loss side to win 24th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial

Max Eberle, Ben Sutherland, Tom Kovacs and Chris Robinson

The first evidence AZBilliards documented about Max Eberle was his 9th-place finish in the ESPN Ultimate Challenge (Men’s Division) in February, 1999. The single-elimination event was won by Efren Reyes, with Dennis Hatch as the runner-up. Eberle shared his 9th place finish with Allen Hopkins, Alex Pagulayan, and Johnny Archer, among others. Moving into his 21st year as a cash-earning entrant in the AZBilliards database, Max Eberle began 2020 with a bit of a bang,  working his way through to a winners’ side semifinal and then, three matches on the loss side to meet and defeat ‘young gun’ Chris Robinson-Reinhold in the finals of the 24th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial on the weekend of January 18-19. The $3,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV.
The field included the event’s current champion, Vilmos Foldes, but did not include last year’s runner-up, Oscar Dominguez. Alex Pagulayan, two-time winner of the event in ’11 and ’12 was registered, but forfeited his first two matches. The ‘old school’ versus ’new school’ meeting in the finals had its origins in the event’s winners’ side semifinals, when Eberle, after victories over Avelino Arciaga (8-1), Mike Hutcheson (8-5), Chris McDaniel (Forfeit) and Mitch Ellerman (8-6), faced Alfonso Moreno, Jr. (it was Ellerman who’d  sent Foldes to the loss side). Robinson-Reinhold, in the meantime, got by Victor Cucuzza (8-4), Ronnie Wiseman (8-3), Ian Costello (8-6) and Anthony Ortega (8-6) to face Tuan Tran in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Eberle and Moreno, Jr. locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Moreno to the hot seat match and Eberle off on his three-match, loss-side trip back. Robinson-Reinhold and Tran came within a game of having their match go to double hill, as well, but Robinson-Reinhold pulled ahead near the end and won it 8-6 to join Moreno, Jr. in the battle for the hot seat. Robinson-Reinhold won that fight, decisively, 8-2 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Eberle.
On the loss side, as the event moved into its first money rounds (13-16), Foldes, having won his first loss-side match 7-1 to KC Massey, continued to lurk. He’d win two more; to Chris McDaniel 7-5 and Tom Smith 7-3 before falling to Brian Begay 7-5. Begay would move on to face Eberle, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal fight. Tuan Tran picked up Ellerman, who, after his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Eberle had eliminated James Cabal 7-2 and Ian Costello 7-3.
Ellerman advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 win over Tran. Eberle earned the rematch with a 7-2 victory over Begay. Eberle downed Ellerman a second time, 7-5, in those quarterfinals and then, downed Moreno, Jr. 7-3 in the semifinals.
Eberle chalked up his first (recorded) major victory since he won the Derby City’s 14:1 Challenge in 2013. ‘Old School’ downed ‘New School’ (in the person of Chris Robinson-Reinhold) with a 10-6 victory in the finals.

March Billiards Buzz Released

AzBilliards has released the March issue of the Billards Buzz online publication. 
February news includes coverage of the NAPT Division II Championship, The Empire State 9-Ball Championship, Eurotour Leende Open and Jay Swanson Memorial. Also check out the regular contingent of columnists as Jerry Briesath has an aiming tip for amatuers, The Sports Doc explains the difference between playing to win and playing to avoid losing, Anthony Beeler talks about dealing with a slump and Melinda Bailey interviews Gordy Vanderveer,  
This issue, as well as every other issue, can be found online at

Foldes goes undefeated, downing Dominguez twice, to win 23rd Annual ‘Swanee’ Memorial

Vilmos Foldes, TD Tim Kovacs and Oscar Dominguez

The annual Jay Swanson (‘Swanee’) Memorial has a way of drawing the country’s top pool talent to the West Coast, or thereabouts. Not that players need much of an incentive to play out there, but the list of previous winners includes players who are recognizable by their last or just a single name; Orcollo (2013, 2014), The Lion (2011, 2012), Parica (2010), and Archer (2008), for example. Last year (2018), Canada’s Erik Hjorliefson grabbed the title, though he did not compete this year. This year’s finalists, Hungarian Vilmos Foldes and West Coast native and West Coast Tour director Oscar Dominguez played in last year’s quarterfinals, won by Dominguez. This year, Foldes and Dominguez met twice, in the hot seat and finals, with Foldes winning both. The $3,000-added, 23rd Annual Jay Swanson Memorial, held on the weekend of February 23-24, drew 64 entrants to Griff’s Bar & Billiards in Las Vegas, NV.

Foldes’ path to the winners’ circle went through Butch Barba, Brian Begay, Peter Horton and Fach Garcia before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Bret Huth. The younger Dominguez (Oscar, with his father, Ernesto, moving in his general direction on the winners’ side) got by Jay Mulimbayan, Marshall Jung, Robin Figueroa and Ian Costello to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against ‘young gun’ Christopher Robinson-Reinhold, who’d just spoiled Oscar’s opportunity to play his father by defeating him 8-6 in a winners’ side quarterfinal (father and son would not have played, they never do; Ernesto always forfeiting matches in which he’s pitted against his son).
Foldes got into the hot seat match 8-4 over Huth. Oscar Dominguez joined him after an 8-2 victory over Robinson-Reinhold. Foldes took the first of his two against Dominguez 8-5 and claimed the hot seat.
Over on the loss side, Robinson-Reinhold picked up Nick DeLeon, who, after his defeat at the hands of Bret Huth in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had eliminated Tuan Tran 7-3 and Fach Garcia 7-1 to reach him. Huth, in the meantime, drew Mitch Ellerman, who was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that included the elimination of Ernesto Dominguez and Ian Costello, both 7-2.
Huth ended Ellerman’s run 7-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Robinson-Reinhold, who’d defeated DeLeon 7-5, as well. Robinson-Reinhold took one more step, shutting Huth out in those quarterfinals.
Oscar Dominguez, no doubt eager for a second shot at Foldes in the hot seat, got his chance with a 7-4 win over Robinson-Reinhold in the semifinals. Foldes, though, in a final race to 11, claimed the 23rd Annual Swanee Memorial title 11-8 over Dominguez.
Event representatives thanked Mark Griffin and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, JB Cases, Simonis Cloth and Discount Custom Apparel.

Ozzy Reynolds Becomes CEO of CueSports International

Ozzy Reynolds

CueSports International (CSI) is excited to announce that effective August 1, 2018, Ozzy Reynolds will become the new owner and CEO of CSI.  This is part of a planned succession that was put into place in 2014 when Reynolds joined the company as General Manager.
Reynolds has a wealth of billiards experience as both a player and promoter.  He began playing at just eight years old and has competed in various leagues, regional tours and pro tournaments.  A native of Virginia, Ozzy is the founder of The Action Pool Tour, VA State-10-Ball Championships and VA State 8-Ball Championships.
Along with his billiards acumen, he also has impressive education and experience.  He worked as a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Design Lead for ten years, a Construction Manager for NASA infrastructure projects for three years, a Project Manager for NASA facility projects for four years, and CSI General Manager for four years.  He has also served on the Billiards Congress of America (BCA) Board of Directors since 2016.  In 2009, he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration (BSBA) from Old Dominion University with a minor in Civil Engineering Technology.  In 2012, he earned a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the prestigious College of William & Mary.  He also holds official certifications as a Marine Designer and a Project Management Professional (PMP®).
Reynolds is eager to begin this new chapter and lead CSI to realize its full potential.  When asked about his new role, Reynolds said, "I am extremely honored and humbled to be at the helm of such an incredible organization.  For me, this is the culmination of many years of education, hard work and passion.  For CSI, it is a new chapter.  We will continue to operate with the passion, commitment and principles of our founder, Mark Griffin.  The future of CSI is very bright."
Ozzy Reynolds
Owner / CEO | 702-719-POOL (7665)
Taking over for Reynolds as General Manager is current CSI Office Manager, Amy Kane.  A native of Las Vegas, Kane has owned and operated several businesses and has served as CSI Office Manager since 2015.
She was first introduced to pool in 2006 and her passion for the game quickly grew.  She and a business partner launched in 2009 which galvanized the Vegas pool community.  Based upon its success, they then launched the Vegas Billiards Tour which operated successfully for seven years.
"The experience Amy has gained over the years as a league player, team captain, league operator, tournament director and CSI Office Manager, coupled with her business intelligence, makes her the perfect candidate for General Manager," explained Reynolds.
Kane looks forward to her new position and said, “I’m honored to take on this role.  I have always been dedicated to the betterment of the game and this capacity will give me a greater ability to do just that.  We have an exceptional team that strives for that every single day.”
Amy Kane
General Manager | 702-719-POOL (7665)
This comes on the heels of CSI founder and international businessman, Mark Griffin, deciding that it was time to turn CSI over to the next generation.  Griffin founded CSI in 2004 and quickly propelled it to become one of the most well-known and respected billiards companies in the world.  It began as the parent company of the BCA Pool League but Griffin quickly added to its portfolio with the creation of the USA Pool League and numerous amateur and professional events including the US Open 10-Ball, US Open 8-Ball, US Open Straight Pool, US Open One Pocket, US Open Bank Pool, US Bar Table Championships, Jay Swanson Memorial, and many more.
Although Griffin's vast experience and accomplishments are too numerous to list here, he has been a master level player, billiard instructor, proprietor of pool rooms in three states since 1969, table mechanic, cue and memorabilia collector, league operator, table manufacturer, BCA Board Director and a partner or supporter of various billiards ventures and initiatives such as The Action Report (TAR), American Rotation, FargoRate and many others.
In 2015, Griffin underwent a successful double lung transplant at the age of 68.  He quickly recovered and got right back to work.  In addition to his duties as CEO of CSI, in 2016 he opened what has quickly become one of the most acclaimed pool rooms in the country which bears his name – Griff's Bar & Billiards.  "Mark Griffin is an amazing person.  He bounced back from a double lung transplant as if it were a scrape on his elbow and jumped right back into work.  Then he began the long and arduous process of building and opening Griff's.  All I could do was watch in amazement as he ran circles around all of us," says Reynolds.
When asked about this transition, Griffin said, “This plan of succession has been in place for more than four years and I decided that it was now time to hand over the reins of CSI to the next generation.  I am proud of what CSI has accomplished and confident that it will continue to be a leader in the industry.”  When asked what’s next for him, Griffin said, “Since my health is good and I feel great, I’d like to spend more time focusing on Griff’s and traveling.”
Although Griffin is officially "retiring" from CSI, he will continue to be a trusted advisor and will be given the title of CEO Emeritus to denote his perpetual status as founder, honor his distinguished service and recognize his continued council.  Reynolds added, "Mark Griffin isn't disappearing.  His knowledge and experience is an asset and we will continue to utilize it as much as possible."

Hjorleifson goes undefeated to win 22nd Annual Jay Swanson (Swanee) Memorial

(l to r): Manny Perez & Eric Hjorleifson

It’s hard to know what causes the roller coaster of some careers in pool. Jobs, family, and a host of other influences can impact pool earnings in significant ways, including the distinct possibility of incomplete information. What may look in a given database (our own, included) like a severe drop in a player’s level of participation, may, in fact, just be just a gap in the information reported on his, or her activities.
Take Canada’s Erik Hjorleifson, for example, who just went undefeated to win the 22nd Annual Jay Swanson (“Swanee”) Memorial, held on the weekend of February 24-25. Fourteen years ago, he finished in the four-way tie for ninth place at the US Open 9-Ball Championships with three competitors well-known enough to be recognizable by their first names – Earl, Tony, and Ralf (Strickland, Robles and Souquet). A couple of years later (2006; his best recorded earnings year, to date, according to our records), Hjorleifson won two stops, back to back, on what’s known as the Canadian 30K Tour, and here in the US, finished runner-up to Dennis Hatch at a stop on the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour. He won another Canadian 30K Tour stop the following year, and cashed in 10 other events, including Turning Stone VIII (17th). And then, though he continued to appear on payout lists, there were no major tour victories of any kind until he showed up as the winner of the Canadian Championship Men’s Open 10-Ball in 2014.
Though he hasn’t been inactive or absent from payouts lists since then (second to Mika Immonen at Turning Stone XXV in 2016, for example, and 25th at both Turning Stone XXVII and XXVIII in 2017), Hjorleifson does appear to have experienced a drop in competitive frequency. Whether his victory at the recent Jay Swanson Memorial is a sign that his personal roller coaster is rising again, remains to be seen, but it was definitely a significant move in the right direction. He went undefeated through the field of 128 entrants that split a $10,000 prize pool. The event was hosted by OnCue Billiards in La Mesa, CA.
Following victories over Naiel Tito, Victor Ignacio (double hill), Jose Mendoza, Ben Hrabina (all, save Ignacio, 8-4), and the patriarch of the Dominguez clan, Ernesto 8-6, Hjorleifson moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against Dave Hemmah. Manny Perez, in the meantime, the eventual runner-up, was looking for what would be his first major event victory. He got by Johnny Kang, Marshall Jung, Steven Choy, Justin Marks and the “Swanee” Memorial’s defending champion, Brian Parks, to face Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes (7th in the event last year) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Perez got into the hot seat match with an 8-4 victory over Foldes, and was joined by Hjorleifson, who’d sent Hemmah to the loss side 8-6. Hjorleifson claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Perez and sat in it to await his return.
On the loss side, Foldes picked up Mitch Ellerman, who, after being downed by Hemmah in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had gotten by Justin Marks 7-3, and Fach Garcia 7-4 to reach him. Garcia had previously eliminated the elder Dominguez, Ernest, which kept him (Ernesto) from an approaching match versus his son, Oscar (a matchup that the elder Dominguez traditionally forfeits). Hemmah picked up the son, Oscar, who, after his defeat at the hands of Foldes, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had eliminated Mika Immonen 7-2 and Brian Parks 7-4.
Foldes advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Ellerman, and was joined by Oscar Dominguez, who’d defeated Hemmah 7-5. Oscar eliminated Foldes in those quarterfinals and then, locked up in a double hill fight against Perez in the semifinals; a fight won by Perez to earn himself a second shot against Hjorleifson in the finals.
Hjorleifson completed his undefeated run. A repeat performance of the hot seat match 8-4 over Perez secured it.

Parks goes undefeated to win 21st Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball

Mark Griffin with Brian Parks

Brian Parks, a seasoned pool player and owner of Cue Ball Billiards in Bakersfield, Calif., went undefeated through a full field of 128 players to earn the title of champion of the 21st Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball Tournament.
On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, Calif. hosted the tournament Feb. 18-19, 2017. The popular memorial tournament, produced by CueSports International (CSI), is an annual tribute to Jay Swanson, a well-respected player in Southern California. He was a giant of a man, known for his quiet demeanor and silky, smooth stroke. Swanson passed away in June 1996. A few months later, the first Jay Swanson Memorial was organized by Mark Griffin, now CEO of CSI.
Parks has been playing since he was 16 years old. His FargoRate previous to playing in the Swanee was 704, just 16 points below what CSI determines to be professional caliber (FR 720).
Parks’ path to the championship started with a no-show forfeit over Anaquad Cobe of Los Angeles. Parks then posted wins over: Bill Meacham (FR 656) of Florence, Colo., 8-2; George Teyechea (FR 658) of Tucson, Ariz., 8-4; Chris Tate (FR 607) of Nipomo, Calif., 8-3; Rodney “The Rocket” Morris (FR 782) of Lincoln, Calif., 8-7; Mitch “Wonderboy” Ellerman (FR 742) of Phoenix, Ariz., 8-6; and the legendary Francisco “Django” Bustamante (FR 796) of Cerritos, Calif., (8-3) before meeting Oscar Dominguez (FR 769) of Sylmar, Calif. in the finals.
Dominguez’s path to the finals included wins over Salvador Laguna (FR 575) of San Marcos, Calif., 8-1; Vince Vidaurre, (FR 547) of San Diego, Calif., 8-1; Johnny Kang (FR 731) of Lake Forest, Calif., 8-5; Bob Yamasaki (FR 627) of Valencia, Calif., 8-3; and a forfeit from his father, Ernesto Dominguez (FR 733) of Sylmar, Calif. before losing to Bustamante, 1-8. But Dominguez was undeterred by the loss and continued his quest to the finals with wins over Morris, 7-5 and Ellerman, 7-4, before getting revenge against Bustamante in the semi-finals by a score of 7-5. 
In the final match, which was a single race to 11, Dominguez jumped to an early 5-2 lead. Then Parks began fighting his way back, tying the score at 5-5 and then pulling ahead of Dominguez by a game. The players then traded games back and forth with Parks reaching the hill first, with the score at 10-8. But the alternate break format allowed Dominguez to break and run, making the score 10-9, before Parks would get back at the table.
Parks broke, made a ball and was faced with a difficult one–three combination into the corner pocket to start the rack. Parks made the combo, got perfect position on the one ball and ran out to earn the title of 2017 Swanee Champion and collect the $2,500 prize. Dominguez finished second and earned $1,500, while Bustamante received $900 for his third-place finish.
The event was live-streamed for free on the CueSports International Facebook page. Follow CueSports International on Facebook to receive notifications when CSI live streams matches.
CSI extends a big thanks to: On Cue Billiards owner Clyde Nooris and his staff for their hospitality; tournament director Amy Kane, who kept the event running in a smooth and timely manner; Mark Griffin; Steven Quan; George Teyechea; Ashi Fachler; and Chris Santana of Fast & Loose Designs.
To view replays of the free live stream matches, visit

Dates Announced for 2017 Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball “The Swanee”

The 21st Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball will once again be held at On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, Calif. on the weekend of Feb. 18-19, 2017.
Jay Swanson was a well-respected player in Southern California. He was giant of a man, known for his quiet demeanor and silky, smooth stroke. Swanson passed away in June 1996 and just a few months later in September, the first Jay Swanson Memorial was held. 
This year marks the 21st year of the “Swanee.” Last year the event was moved back to the San Diego area where it originated and it was a huge success. The “Swanee” is and was always meant to be a social pool event to celebrate the life of Jay Swanson.  
The Swanee has become one of the most popular tournaments on the West Coast, filling fields of up to 192 players. This year the field is limited to 128 players, so don’t delay, enter now at The entry fee is only $80 and the total prize fund will be $10,000 with a full field.
The tournament will be a race to 8/7, double elimination, alternating breaks and rack your own. It will be played on 9-foot tables using the Magic Ball Racks.
For more information, visit
CSI is the parent company of the BCA Pool League and the USA Pool League. CSI also produces independent events such as the US Bar Table Championships, US Open 10-Ball Championship, US Open 8-Ball Championship and much more. For more information, visit or call 702-719-POOL.