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Grau goes undefeated, winning sudden death final game on Western New York Pool Tour

(l to r): Jake Miosi, Dave Grau & Nick Brucato

It’s been a couple of years since the Western New York Pool Tour (WNYPT) has been in what could be described as full swing, or ‘stroke,’ if you prefer the pool analogy. Tour director Nick Brucato hasn’t been idle, but with children entering and proceeding through elementary school, his time was restricted somewhat, and what time he did have, he spent playing instead of organizing and directing tournaments. There have been a few here and there, unreported, over the past couple of years, but with a tournament held this past weekend, February 29, at Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester, NY, Brucato is announcing the return, hopefully, the robust return of the Western New York Pool Tour.

“We’re going to start having two stops a month,” he said, literally still working on the precise schedule and sponsorships for the tour. “We’ll be back at Diamonds in Rochester in a couple of weeks.”

It’s perhaps fitting that this ‘return’ of the Western New York Tour was won by one of its strongest competitors, Dave Grau, who’s won a number of its stops over the year, while also competing and winning on the Joss Tour and a number of New England-based events. He won a Joss Tour stop in February last year and finished 9th at the 10th Annual New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open. His last recorded cash finish on the Western New York Tour came three years ago, when he finished as runner-up to Nick Brucato. They almost met in the finals at this most recent event; almost, as in . . . Brucato came from the loss side and was defeated by Grau in the semifinals. Grau and hot seat occupant, Jake Miosi, played a single deciding-game final, won by Grau.

The worked their way through the short field, facing two opponents to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal. Grau downed Dan Miosi 6-1 and survived a double hill fight against Geoff Montgomery to draw Qais Kolee in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Miosi opened with a double hill win over Fran Imburgia and then, shut out Brucato to pick up Sourith Thammavong in the other winners’ side semifinal.

With something of a pattern emerging, Miosi followed his double hill win and shutout with a second double hill win, over Thammavong. Grau sent Kolee to the loss side 6-3. Miosi broke the pattern with a 6-4 win over Grau to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Thammavong picked up Montgomery, who, following his defeat at the hands of Grau, chalked up loss side wins over Fran Imburgia 4-1 and a double hill win over Sean Zen. Kolee got Brucato, who was working on a modest two-match, loss-side streak in which he’d given up only a single rack; giving up none to Cory Welfare and the one, to Nick Cappolla.

Thammavong downed Montgomery 4-1, as Brucato gave up more racks in his third loss-side match than he’d given up against his previous two opponents combined. Kolee battled him to double hill, but Brucato prevailed, advancing to the quarterfinals and then, downing Thammavong 4-2.

Grau and Brucato battled to a somewhat predictable double hill juncture before Grau prevailed for a second shot at Miosi in the hot seat. It was decided that their second meetup would be a single game for the title. Grau won it to claim the first WNYPT pool title in quite a while.

Brucato thanked Diamond Billiard owners Fran and Jeremiah Imburgia and Cinder Ziegler and the staff for their hospitality. Stay tuned to these spaces for information about upcoming events on the tour and its sponsors.

Casanzio Takes Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Win Undefeated

Ron Casanzio, Room Owner’s Son Jeremiah Imburgia and Bruce Nagle

As it turns out, building a sizable winning stream of Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stops is a difficult proposition. Bucky Souvanthong came into Diamond Billiard Bar & Grill in Rochester NY, on November 2nd and 3rd looking to add to his two stop winning streak. Lyn Wechsler and Jeremiah Imburgia had other plans though, as they eliminated Souvanthong from play on day one of the event. 
Having more success on this weekend were Len Gianfrate, Dave Mills, Bruce Nagle and Ron Casanzio, who all escaped Saturday play undefeated. On Sunday, Gianfrate defeated Mills 9-5 and Casanzio beat Nagle 9-6. Casanzio then went on to send Gianfrate to the one loss side in the hot-seat match 9-3.
On the one loss side, both players coming over from the right side on Sunday won their matches with Nagle over Imburgia and Mills over Wechsler. Nagle then went on to eliminate Mills 7-4 and Gianfrate 7-6.
The finals went one set with Casanzio staying unbeaten and defeating Nagle 9-4 for first place. 
Sunday’s second chance tournament saw Qais Kolee in the hot-seat with a 3-0 win over Dan Sharlow. Sharlow then dropped the semi-final match to Sean Zeng. Zeng won the first set of the finals 3-2, but Kolee won the second set 3-0 for first place. 

Kolee and Bova split top prizes at 6th Annual Jingle Grind Christmas Classic

Spencer Auigbelle, Qais Kolee, Nick Brucato & Kyle Bova

Possibly forgoing the inevitable march of procrastinators searching for gifts three days before Christmas, a hearty crew of 28 entrants braved near-freezing temperatures in Rochester, NY to attend the Western New York Pool Tour’s 6th Annual Jingle Grind Christmas Classic, hosted by Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester. At the end of the evening, Qais Kolee, sitting in the hot seat, and Kyle Bova, who’d won five on the loss side to get a shot at him, decided against a final match and split $1,650 in prize money, a decent ‘Merry Christmas’ money for the both of them.

Kolee had chalked up three straight 6-3 wins over Luis Bani, Jake Miosi and Geoff Montgomery to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Brad Wesley. Spencer Augbelle, in the meantime, had downed Dave Ricci 6-4, and then survived two straight double hill matches, sending Mark Hadley and Kyle Bova to the loss side. Bova, like Jacob Marley, would return to haunt Augbelle in the semifinals, but for the moment, Augbelle advanced to face Jeremiah Imburgia in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kolee got into the hot seat match with a 6-4 victory over Wesley, and met up with Auigbelle, who’d defeated Imburgia 6-2. Kolee claimed the hot seat and his last victory of the day, 6-4.

On the loss side, Wesley picked up Bova, who, following his defeat at the hands of Augbelle, had shut out Nick Cappolla and given up four to Adam Smith. Imburgia drew tour director Nick Brucato, who never did get a chance for a re-match against Wesley, who’d sent him over, but was working on a modest, three-match, loss-side winning streak that included recent wins over Jerry Sullivan 6-3 and Geoff Montgomery 6-4.

Brucato’s hopes for a re-match were spoiled by Bova, who shut Wesley out. Brucato joined him in the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Imburgia. Bova ended Brucato’s day (competing) with a 6-4 quarterfinal win.

Bova and Augbelle’s semifinal re-match proved to be the last match of the event. Bova won it 6-4, and as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, claimed the event title. The decision to split the final two cash prizes was made, and everybody went home to their respective holiday revels.

Casanzio wins ‘big table’ 9-Ball and ‘bar table’ 8-Ball events on Western New York Tour

It was a busy weekend, for Ron Casanzio in particular. The 15-year Joss Tour and Turning Stone veteran joined a crowd of players on the Western New York Tour on the weekend of July 9-10, at a renovated Diamond Billiards in Rochester, NY and beat them all. He went undefeated through a field of 22 in a big table 9-ball event on Saturday, and then, through a field of 34 in a bar table 8-ball tournament on Sunday. 
Though Jeff Bradshaw would come within a match of being Casanzio's opponent in both finals, it was Corey Welfare in 9-ball, and Bradshaw in 8-ball. Casanzio was awarded Master of the Table honors by tour director Nick Brucato, which, in addition to the $1,325 in cash for winning both events, earned Casanzio a Molinari by Predator Cues prize package. The top three finishers in the 9-ball event also earned a prize package from Kamui tips.
The weekend commenced with a warm-up, bar table 8-ball tournament on Friday night, which drew only six entrants. Three matches won it for tour director Nick Brucato.
They played the big table 9-ball event on Saturday. Casanzio advanced to the hot seat match, after defeating Nick Cappola 9-2. Corey Welfare joined him after sending Bradshaw to the loss side 9-4. Casanzio claimed his first hot seat of the weekend with a 9-4 win over Welfare and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Bradshaw picked up John Purdy, recent winner over Jeff Van Buren 9-5 and Chad Strong 9-6. Cappola drew John Reed, who'd eliminated Dave Giner 9-3 and Jamie Garrett 9-2. Bradshaw and Reed advanced to the quarterfinals, both 9-2, over Purdy and Cappola. Bradshaw took the quarterfinal match 9-5 over Reed, but was denied a shot at Casanzio in the finals with a 9-4 win by Welfare in the semifinals. Casanzio opted out of a second set in the true double elimination final by winning the first one 9-3 over Welfare to claim the 9-ball title.
In the bar table 8-ball event on Sunday, Casanzio and Bradshaw met twice; once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Casanzio sent Luis Recio to the loss side 5-3 in one winners' side semifinal, as Bradshaw was busy surviving a double hill battle versus Alex Alavardo in the other one. Casanzio claimed his second hot seat 5-3 over Bradshaw and waited for him to get back.
Recio moved to the loss side and picked up Chad Strong, who'd finished in the tie for 9/12 in the 9-ball event and was moving toward finishing a step closer in the 8-ball event. He'd defeated Frank Rodriguez 5-3 and survived a double hill fight versus TD Nick Brucato to face Recio. Alavardo drew John Reed (4th in the 9-ball event), who'd defeated 9-ball runner-up Corey Welfare and shut out Western New York Tour vet Mark Creamer to reach him.
Reed and Recio advanced; Reed, 5-2 over Alavardo and Recio, double hill, over Strong. Reed took fourth place a second time, falling to Recio, double hill, in the quarterfinals. Bradshaw and Recio went double hill, as well, in the semifinals, with Bradshaw advancing for a second shot at Cosanzio in the hot seat. Casanzio claimed his second title with a 5-3 victory over Bradshaw in the finals.
Tour director Nick Brucato thanked Fran and Jeremiah Imburgia, owners of Diamond Billiards, for hosting the event in their newly-renovated (kitchen, all Diamond tables) facility. He also thanked sponsors Molinari Powered by Predator Cues, Kamui Tips, Ozone Billiards, Tetzlaff Billiards and BreakRack.

Brucato goes undefeated to win Gambler Pro Tour’s Santa’s 8-Ball Sleigh Event

Nick Brucato, normally seen at the helm of the Western New York Tour, signed on to compete at the Gambler Pro Tour's sixth stop of the year – Santa's 8-Ball Sleigh Event, held on Saturday, December 19. He went undefeated through a field of 34, which was initially divided into two separate brackets of 11 A players and 23 B players. The $250-added event (added by the tour itself) was hosted by Diamond Billiards Bar & Grill in Rochester, NY.
Brucato advanced in the A bracket and in that bracket's final, faced Dave Johnson. Kirk Foley and Matt Fitzwater, in the meantime, squared off in the finals of the B bracket. Brucato sent Johnson to the loss side 5-2, and in the hot seat match, faced Foley, who'd defeated Fitzwater, double hill. Brucato claimed the hot seat 5-2 over Foley and waited on what turned out to be the return of Lynn Wechsler.
On the loss side, Wechsler, working on a five-match, loss-side streak that would take him to the finals, had been sent over by Dave Johnson. He defeatEd Martin Richardson 3-1, and in the first money round, Luis Recio, double hill. This earned him a rematch against Johnson, coming over from the winners' side semifinals. Fitzwater picked up Jeremiah Imburgia, who'd gotten by Aaron Cameron, double hill, and Colby Cramer 3-1 in that first money round. Wechsler wreaked his vengeance on Johnson, eliminating him, double hill, as Fitzwater ended Imburgia's day 3-1.
Wechsler then chalked up two straight double hill wins for a shot at Brucato in the hot seat. He defeated Fitzwater in the quarterfinals and Foley in the semifinals. Brucato, though, closed out his undefeated run with a 5-2 victory in the finals to claim the event title.
The next stop on the Gambler Pro Tour, scheduled for February 13, 2016, will be hosted by Bison Billiards in Buffalo, NY.