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Bruner goes undefeated to win Action Pool Tour season finale and finish as Tour Champion

Chris Bruner 2019 Action Pool Tour Champion

Chris Bruner competed in all but one of the 12 Action Pool Tour stops in 2019. He won four of them – June, July, October (VA State 8-Ball Championship) and the tour’s season finale this past weekend (December 7-8). He was runner-up in two others; to Mike Davis in May and Kristina Tkach in August. He tripled the number of appearances he made on the tour this year, which, factored into tournament results as the APT’s season concluded, gave Bruner the 2019 Tour Champion title. Last year’s champion, Steve Fleming competed in all but two of this year’s tour stops and finished as runner-up.
Bruner went undefeated through a field of 19 pre-qualified entrants, who signed on for the season finale – The Pineapple Morris Memorial Shootout on Saturday, December 7 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Named after Craig “Pineapple” Morris, a fixture as a teacher at Q Master Billiards and doorman at the annual US Open 9-Ball Championships for many years, the event was limited to the Top 16 men and three women in the tour’s point standings. Thanks to primary tour sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith and Simonis, every player who competed was paid.
Fleming was on-hand as well, with the opportunity to defend his tour championship title there for the taking. Fleming was one of six entrants who played a preliminary round for entrance into the event’s official 16-player, double elimination bracket. He and Larry Kressel locked up in a double hill fight that advanced Kressel and sent Fleming to the loss side, where he lasted three rounds.
Bruner’s path to the winners’ circle climbed a straight-up ladder that went through #12 Greg Sabins and #8 Bill Duggan, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against #4 Reymart Lim. Scott Roberts (#6), working in a pressure cooker of his own making, won two straight double hill matches against David Hunt (#5) and Jimmy Byrd (#18) to draw his winners’ side semifinal opponent, none other than the aforementioned Larry Kressel (#11).
Roberts won his third straight double hill match, downing Kressel to earn a spot in the hot seat match. Bruner joined him with a double hill win over Lim. Roberts recorded his first double hill loss, as Bruner chalked up his second straight double hill win to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Kressel picked up #3 RJ Carmona, who’d lost to #7 Scott Haas in the event’s first full opening round and was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d recently eliminated Bill Duggan 9-6 and David Hunt 9-5. Lim picked up Haas, who’d been sent over by Kressel in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Greg Sabins 9-5 and Jimmy Bird, double hill.
The possible Carmona/Haas rematch didn’t happen, as Kressel moved into the quarterfinals 9-7 over Carmona. Haas downed Lim 9-3, but in those quarterfinals, fell to Kressel 9-2.
The Roberts/Kressel semifinal came within a game of being the 5th double hill match among the event’s final 13 matches. Roberts prevailed 9-7 for a second shot at Bruner in the hot seat.
Bruner got out in front and claimed the event title and title of tour champion with an 11-7 victory over Roberts.
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Aramith Balls, Simonis Cloth. Viking Cues, Brown’s Mechanical LLC, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, CSI, Grant Wylie Photography and George Hammerbacher, Advanced Pool Instructor.

Conway, Jr. wins 10 on the loss-side, double dips Mitchelltree to win GSBT

Mike Conway Jr, Shannon Daulton and John Mitchelltree

Pool players will tell you that it’s often better to be lucky than good. In the wake of his recent victory on the Great Southern Billiard Tour, Mike Conway, Jr. might tell you that you’d better be both. Luck played a role in Conway’s semifinal victory, while ‘good’ took the stage in 10 straight loss-side matches and the second set of the double elimination finals against John Mitchelltree, that earned him the event victory. The $1,500-added amateur 9-ball tournament drew 60 entrants to QMaster Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA on the weekend of February 4-5.

Conway was working from the loss-side from the conclusion of his opening match; a 9-4 victory for Dwight Cherry, who would advance to the winners’ side final four, and then meet up with Conway again in his first loss-side match. Chris Futrell sent Cherry west 11-7, and in the battle for the hot seat, met up with Mitchelltree, who’d just sent Cheryl Pritchard to the loss side 9-5. Mitchelltree survived a double hill contest against Futrell and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Conway.

With five down and five to go on the loss-side, Conway defeated Tim Colvin 9-2, and Dave Bollman 9-4 to earn a re-match against Cherry. Pritchard drew Justin Squires, who’d eliminated John Hernandez 7-7 (Hernandez needing to reach 9), and Jimmy Byrd 7-4. In a straight-up race to 9, Conway wreaked his vengeance on Cherry 9-7 as Pritchard (a C player) survived a double hill battle against the B-rated Squires 6-6. Conway chalked up loss-side victory # 9 with a 9-7 win over Pritchard in the quarterfinals. 

“A stellar performance,” said co-tour director Marge Daulton of Pritchard’s fourth place finish; the highest for a woman in the five year history of the Great Southern Billiard Tour.  “She was down in a few and battled back, winning some key double hill matches.”

“We’re proud to see her accomplish this,” Daulton added. “She earned it.”

Conway, in the meantime, was on his way to the semifinals and his date with Lady Luck. His opponent, Futrell, needed to reach 11 games before he reached 9. Futrell was on the hill, at 10 games, when Conway (at seven games) shot at the 9-ball that would bring the match to double hill. Conway missed, and watched as the 9-ball kept traveling. . .one rail, two, three. . and then dropped into a hole. He even apologized, before settling in to take the final game and finish his 10-match streak on the loss-side.

With some ‘good’ and some ‘luck’ behind him, Conway added momentum to his repertoire and took the opening set of the straight-up race to 9, true double elimination finals handily 9-2. In the second set, he found himself down 4-0, and then after chalking up his first, gave up two more, giving Mitchelltree a 6-1lead. Conway called on some ‘good’ to catch up, winning eight of the next nine games to secure the event victory.

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked Barry Behrmann and his staff at QMaster Billiards for their hospitality on Super Bowl weekend, as well as sponsors Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Mike Davis Exterminating, Tiger Products and Delta-13 racks. The GSBT shifts to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH on the weekend of February 18-19, for a $2,000-added 9-ball/8-ball tournament, with a 9-ball bank tournament, scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m.