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Sullivan, Ryan & Freeman go undefeated at 5th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament

Roman Bayda, Clint Freeman andT.J. Davis

It was, to say the least, a long, busy weekend. Beginning on Thursday, Dec. 10 and culminating on Sunday, Dec. 13, the 5th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament played host to four separate events. The $2,000-added (total) event drew 16 players to a One Pocket tournament on Thursday, a 32-player 8-ball event and a 13-entrant Ring Game on Friday. By far the largest of the four events, a 58-player 9-ball event, began on Saturday and concluded on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The event was directed by David “Doc” Reyes, who, for nine years, worked for Royce Bunnell during his tenure as the CEO of OB Cues. Reyes has run this event since its inception in December, 2015, less than a month after Bunnell had died of a heart attack at the age of 49. Bunnell, in addition to his innovations and general advocacy of the pool industry was a friend to many and is missed by as many, to whom he was a mentor and friend. 

Jeff Sullivan went undefeated through four opponents to win the single-elimination One Pocket tournament on Thursday. Jim Ryan won six matches against five opponents to go undefeated in the 8-Ball event, while Clint Freeman won seven matches against seven opponents to claim the 9-Ball title. Gerardo Perez won Friday night’s Ring game.

In races to 3, Jeff Sullivan and Roman Bayda worked their way through two opponents to arrive at the two semifinal matches. Sullivan had defeated Tom Barnett and Walt Anderson to face Corey Flud in one semifinal. Bayda had downed Robert Kempf and Daniel Herring and faced Gerardo Perez in the other semifinal. Sullivan advanced to the finals 3-1 over Flud, as Bayda and Perez battled to a deciding 5th game, won by Bayda. Sullivan put a bit of an exclamation point on his winning of the One Pocket title by shutting Bayda out in the final.

In the double-elimination 8-ball event, which also featured races to 3 and commenced on Friday, Jim Ryan got by Tony Solis, Clinton Mayo and Moe Harbaji to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against TJ Davis. Daniel Herring had defeated Doug Winnet, Jason Judd, and Jamel Wordlaw to square off against Jason McKenzie in the other winners’ side semifinal. Ryan and Herring advanced to the hot seat match; Herring, 3-1 over McKenzie and Ryan, double hill over Davis. Ryan won a second straight double hill match, downing Herring to claim the hot seat. 

Davis would return from a three-match, loss-side trip to face Ryan a second time in the finals. It proved to be Ryan’s third straight double hill victory and it earned him the 8-ball title.

In the 58-player, 9-Ball event, Roman Bayda made a bid for his appearance in a second final. He failed, however, to make it back from the semifinals and had to settle for 3rd place in 9-ball. The runner-up in the 8-ball tourney, TJ Davis, did make a second appearance in a final. He had to win nine loss-side matches to get to the final before being relegated to his second runner-up finish by Clint Freeman.

Freeman got by Mohammed Alrawi, Mark Lawson, Tony Top, and Shan Iyer to draw Clint Palaci in his winners’ side semifinal. Bayda, in the meantime, who’d started his campaign off with a double hill win over Dario Gomez, went on to defeat Alberto Nieto, Travis Landsdowne, and Doug Winnet to draw Lance Schofield in his winners’ side semifinal. 

Bayda sent Schofield to the loss side 7-4. He was joined in the hot seat match by Freeman, who’d defeated Palaci 7-5. Freeman claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Bayda and waited for TJ Davis to complete his nine-match, loss-side streak. 

That loss side streak was going well (six down, three to go) when Davis, following 7-4 wins over Crispian Ng and Doug Winnet, ran into Palaci. Schofield drew Shan Iyer, who’d recently survived a double hill fight over Steve Lenz and then eliminated the One Pocket winner, Jeff Sullivan, 7-4. Iyer survived a second double hill fight, over Schofield, and advanced to the quarterfinals. Davis joined him after downing Palaci 7-2.

Davis used back-to-back 7-3 wins over Iyer in the quarterfinals and Bayda in the semifinals for his second shot at a title. Freeman denied him with a 7-4 win in the finals that gave him the 9-ball title.

“Doc” Reyes thanked the ownership and staff at the Billiards Den for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Doc’s Billiards Office, JB Cases, Dallas 8-Ball, Outsville Accu-Rack, OB Cues, John Eagle Honda, and Action 903 for the live stream.

Editors Note: Consider this report to be preliminary, featuring specific highlights of the four events held over the past weekend. We’re continuing to talk to participants and organizers of this 5th Annual event, honoring the late Royce Bunnell and all of the influence and friendship he brought to bear on the pool industry during his tenure with OB Cues. A more comprehensive report, to include commentary from some of the individuals whose lives he touched, will be found in the first 2021 edition of THE BILLIARDS BUZZ, to be published the first week in January.    

Ryan takes two out of three over Gregory to win 1st return stop on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Robert Clark, Donnie Gregory and Jim Ryan

Pool came back to Texas in the form of the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s first stop since the weekend of February 22-23. Unwittingly, the tour paid homage to that last stop on the tour by repeating the final circumstances, albeit with different players. In the earlier event, Brian Cady took two out of three matches over Louie Pacheco, claiming the hot seat and the second set against him in the finals. On this past weekend (Aug. 22-23), it was Jim Ryan taking the same two out of three over Donnie Gregory to claim the event title. Both competitors were looking for their first tour win. Ryan, who was a member of the BCAPL’s 2017 National Championship Team (Top Shelf) was looking for his first cash finish on the tour. The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Snookered Billiards, Bar and Restaurant in Frisco, TX.

Ryan’s path to his first appearance in the winners’ circle was no luck-of-the-draw walk in the park. After a shutout over Brendan Fuller in the opening round, Ryan survived his first of three double hill matches against JP Kinman. He then sent Texas veteran Greg Sandifer to the loss side 7-4 and Jersey Jack Lynch 7-1 to draw Doug Winnett in a winners’ side semifinal.

Gregory, in the meantime, had defeated Jim Tallman 7-3 and survived his first of three double hill matches versus Daniel Herring. He advanced to down Sabrina Henson 7-2 and his second double hill match versus Hector Guerrero to draw Robert Clark in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Ryan won his second double hill match versus Winnett and advanced to the hot seat. Gregory downed Clark 7-4 to join him. Ryan chalked up his third double hill fight, against Gregory, and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Winnett picked up Tony Top, who, after being defeated in the opening round by Fahad Alrawi, set out on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d recently eliminated Jamie Cummings 8-4 and Greg Sandifer 8-6. Robert Clark picked up Jersey Jack Lynch, who, following his defeat at the hands of Ryan on the winners’ side, had defeated JP Kinman 7-6 (Kinman racing to 8) and Chris Ferguson 7-3.

Clark downed Jersey Jack 8-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Top, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Winnett. In a straight-up race to 8, Clark then ended Top’s winning streak 8-5 in those quarterfinals.

In the semifinals that followed, Gregory faced his third double hill challenge, which almost turned out in favor of Clark. In the flurry of shots in the final moments of the deciding game, after Gregory had snookered himself shooting at the 8-ball, Clark, with the table and the win staring at him, hit a ball too hard and ended up turning the table back over to Gregory, who proceeded to win his third double hill challenge.

The momentum from that semifinal, double hill win sent Gregory into the finals on a bit of a roll. He won the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-2. Ryan, though, collected his thoughts in time to challenge strongly in the second set. It came within a game of becoming, for each of them, their fourth double hill challenge. Ryan pulled out in front near the end and claimed the title with a second-set 7-5 win.

Nestled among the four players who shared the tie for 13th place in this event was Sabrina Henson, who, in addition to the $80 she earned for finishing in that spot, proved to be the event’s top female finisher and the best finisher at Skill Level 5. Each of those accomplishments earned her an extra $60, making her take-home at this event an even $200.

Tour director Monica Anderson thanked Craig and Janna Lucas for being the “hosts with the most,” along with title sponsor CueTec and the Fort Worth Billiards Store. The next stop on the CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tour is scheduled for the weekend of September 19-20, although the site for the event is yet to be determined. Local ordinances related to the Covid-19 epidemic could affect the choice. Visit the tour’s Facebook page or their Web site at