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Chang and Parker win successive stops on the Garden State Pool Tour

Joe Mazzeo and Tae Chang

On Sunday, August 22, Sandcastle Billiards hosted a $200-added, A-D event on the Garden State Pool Tour that drew 27 entrants and was won by Tae Chang, who went undefeated. Just shy of a week later, the tour held another $200-added event; this one an A-B event (with C-D players allowed, but expected to compete from the beginning against A-B players). This second event was hosted by Breaker’s Billiards in Clifton, NJ, drew 23 entrants and saw Joann Mason Parker go undefeated to claim the event title.

At Sandcastle Billiards, Tae Chang was looking for his first major event victory and found it. A week earlier, he had been runner-up to James Conn at an event on the Predator Tri-State Tour. The two had opted out of a final match, leaving Conn, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, with the event title. In June, Chang had finished 5th at another stop on the Predator Tri-State. Those two events represented Chang’s only (recorded) cash winnings in the AZBilliards database. This time, Chang played through to the end and chalked up his first win.

In the event’s format, A-B and C-D players were competing in separate brackets and it was Chang (C-D) and Christian Orque (A-B) who worked their way through the field and met, for the first, and as it turned out, only time in the hot seat match. Chang claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited on the return of one Joe Mazzeo. 

Mazzeo had lost to Christian Orque in one of the winners’ side semifinals and one the loss side, had chalked up two straight double hill wins – versus Jersey Mars and Rob Calton – to earn a rematch against Orque in the semifinals. That, too, went double hill, but it advanced Mazzeo to the finals. 

Chang, no doubt seeing his first major event victory on a nearby horizon, put pedal to the metal and jumped out to what proved to be an insurmountable lead of 5-0. Mazzeo was able to chalk up three racks right after that, but Chang came back with two of his own to claim the event title.

Julian Tierney, Joann Mason Parker and Levie Lampaan

Mason Parker returns to the tables

A week later, at Breaker’s Billiards, JoAnn Mason Parker, who, according to our records, hasn’t cashed in an event since she went undefeated at a season opening stop on Florida’s Flamingo Tour, 10 years ago (her third of three straight on that tour, dating back to the previous year). Her history dates back to what remains as her best earnings year at the tables (1999), when she cashed in an ESPN Ultimate Challenge event, behind, in order, Allison Fisher, Gerda Hofstatter, Helena Thornfeldt, Karen Corr and Jeanette Lee. In October of that year, she finished 4th in a Northeast Women’s Tour event won by Corr. 

Parker showed no signs of a 10-year absence away from the tables, unless you count the two double hill matches, versus newcomer Ahkil Ahjula and Julie Madlener, that opened her undefeated campaign. She went on to defeat Christian Teaza 7-5 to face Kyle Manuel in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Julian Tierney, in the meantime, squared off against Tony Ignomirello in the other winners’ side semifinal.

A 7-2 win by Parker over Manuel and a 7-4 win by Tierney over Ignomirello put them against each other in the hot seat match. It proved to be Parker’s third double hill battle, but she broke and ran rack #13 to claim the hot seat.

Tierney slid over to face Levie Lampaan in the semifinals. Lampaan had lost his second match on the winners’ side and went on to win six loss-side matches, including the quarterfinal against Raymund Paragas 7-3. Tierney stopped Lampaan’s run in the semifinals 7-4.

It looked as though the finals might go the ‘double hill’ distance, as Parker and Tierney fought back and forth to an opening 3-3 tie. Parker, though, chalked up the next three in a row to reach the hill. Tierney needed to reach 7, just to extend the race to 9 games. He won the next rack to make it 6-4, but Parker closed it out to claim the event title.

The Garden State Pool Tour thanked the ownership at both Sandcastle Billiards (Ed Liddawi) and Breaker’s Billiards (Lenny) and their staffs for their hospitality. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for Sept. 9 & 10, will be the 5th Annual Fall Brawl at Player’s Billiards in Eatontown, NJ. 

Wooley wins seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Alli in Tri-State Tour finals

(l to r): Ed Wooley & Brandonne Alli

For a little-known name, Ed Wooley certainly made a strong statement at the Sunday, February 9 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Wooley got sent to the loss side relatively early at the $1,000-added event that drew 33 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, but came back through seven loss-side matches to meet and defeat hot seat occupant, Brandonne Alli. Like Wooley, Alli  was looking to chalk up his first Tri-State win. Unlike Alli, Wooley (according to our records) was looking to record his first cash payout ever. Putting an exclamation point on his loss-side run and appearance in the finals, Wooley shut Alli out in the final match to claim the event title.
 
Once he’d sent Wooley to the loss side, Luis Jimenez advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal, where he was defeated by Joe Mazzeo 6-4. Mazzeo moved on to face Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniel and Michael Graf met in the other one.
 
Daniel and Graf locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Daniel ahead to the hot seat match. Alli joined him, once he’d completed his 6-2 win over Mazzeo. Alli defeated Daniel 5-3 to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, it was Mazzeo who picked up Wooley, four matches into his loss-side winning streak. He’d recently completed a successful shutout rematch against Jimenez and the first of three straight double hill wins, against Artur Trzeciak. Graf drew Qian Chen, who’d defeated Hunter Sullivan 5-1 and Shweta Zaveri 6-4 to reach him.
 
Wooley won his second straight double hill match, eliminating Mazzeo. Graf defeated Chen 6-4 and then, in the quarterfinals, was eliminated by Wooley in his third double hill match.
 
Wooley sort of took his foot off the gas in the semifinals, allowing Adrian Daniel to win a rack, but put pedal to the metal in the subsequent finals, shutting Alli out to claim his first (recorded) tour win.
 
Tri-State Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, JohnBender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 16, will be a $1,000-added 10-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Klein wins 10 on the loss side to meet and spoil Dayrit bid for two in a row on Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Matt Klein & Ryan Dayrit

In looking to win two Tri-State Tour stops in a row in as many weeks, C+ competitor Ryan Dayrit (#4 on the C+ list) did pretty much everything right. Except win the second event. He came within a single match of pulling it off, making it all the way to the hot seat before being challenged in the finals by the tour’s second-highest rated A/A+ competitor, Matt Klein, who lost his opening match, won 10 on the loss side and defeated Dayrit in the finals of the Saturday, Feb. 1 tour stop. The $1,000-added event drew 55 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
After defeating Klein 7-4 in the opening round of play, Shivam Gupta (#3 on that A+/A list) advanced through the field to eventually shut out Max Watanabe (the tour’s #1-rated A+/A competitor) in a winners’ side quarterfinal and face Emit Yolcu (B) in a winners’ side semifinal. Dayrit, in the meantime, advanced through the field to down Debra Pritchett 7-3 in another of the winners’ side quarterfinals and face Dementhris Hudson in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Dayrit got into the hot seat match with a 6-2 victory over Hudson. He was joined by Gupta, who’d defeated Yolcu 7-3. Dayrit claimed the hot seat with an 8-2 win over Gupta, more than likely feeling pretty good about his chances of chalking up that second straight win.
 
Meantime, on the loss side, Klein was at work. Half of his 10 loss-side matches went double hill, including the last three he played before his rematch against Gupta in the semifinals. By the time he got into the money rounds (9th-12th) to create the battle between the tour’s top two A+/A players (Klein and Watanabe), he’d already won two double hill matches, against Lidio Ramirez and Arturo Reyes. He eliminated Watanabe 7-5 and chalked up his third double hill win against Joe Mazzeo to draw Yolcu, coming over from the winners’ side semifinals. Hudson picked up Russell Masciotti, who’d eliminated Kevin Shin 7-5 and Debra Pritchett 8-5 to reach him.
 
Klein chalked up his fourth double hill, loss-side win against Yolcu and was joined in the subsequent quarterfinals by Masciotti, who’d sent Hudson home 7-3. Klein then recorded his fifth loss-side double hill win, eliminating Masciotti and earning an as-long-as-it-gets awaited rematch against Gupta in the semifinals.
 
Klein shut Gupta out in those semifinals, which likely gave Dayrit something to think about as the finals approached. In spite of the momentum on Klein’s side, Dayrit opened the finals with four straight racks. Klein had to reach 8 racks just to extend the match to 10, and he caught up to Dayrit in the 12th rack at the 6-6 tie. The 6th proved to be Dayrit’s last as Klein went on to win the next four and claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, JohnBender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Zaveri and Shlemperis split top prizes on snowstorm-interrupted Tri-State stop in Wayne, NJ

Jaydev Zaveri & Dave Shlemperis

As an indoor sport, pool play is not generally affected by the weather. Getting to and back from the venues, however, is another story altogether. On Saturday, January 18, snow and sleet visited the Tri-State New York area, to include Wayne, NJ, about 25 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, where 23 intrepid competitors gathered to shoot some 10-ball on the Tri-State Tour. Jaydev Zaveri went undefeated to the hot seat and would, in the finals, have faced Dave Shlemperis, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. But with dangerous driving conditions getting worse by the minute, Zaveri and Shlemperis agreed to a split. As the undefeated hot seat occupant, Zaveri claimed the event title. The $1,000-added event drew its 23 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne

Zaveri opened his stormy campaign against Luis Jimenez and after defeating him, double hill (5-4), he faced Shlemperis and sent him over 6-2. He would then defeat A+ player Atif Khan in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Joe Mazzeo in a winners’ side semifinal. Juan Melendez, in the meantime, squared off against Hunter Sullivan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Zaveri downed Mazzeo 6-3 and in the hot seat, faced Melendez, who’d defeated Sullivan 5-2. Zaveri, in what proved to be his last match, claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Melendez.

On the loss side, Shlemperis was working on his six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way back for a rematch against Zaveri, which, of course, didn’t happen. Shlemperis got by Chris Schmidt 6-3, Kevin Scalzitti, double hill (6-5) and Paul Madonia 6-2 to draw Mazzeo, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal loss to Zaveri. Sullivan picked up a rematch versus Bob Toomey, whom he’d defeated in the second round (Toomey’s 1st round; he’d been awarded a bye). Toomey’s four-match, loss-side winning streak included recent wins over Brian Schell, double hill (5-4) and then, he spoiled the possibility of a husband/wife final by defeating Jaydev Zaveri’s wife, Shweta, also double hill (6-5).

Shlemperis defeated Mazzeo 6-3, as Sullivan eliminated Toomey 5-2. Shlemperis then took the quarterfinal match versus Sullivan 7-4.

In the final match of the evening, Shlemperis downed Juan Melendez 7-5. He and Zaveri agreed to the split – Zaveri, the official winner and Shlemperis, runner-up – and those who were left headed for the exits and a difficult ride home.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle,  Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and  Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 26, will be a $1,000-added, Double Point event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Sieczka and Mierzwa split top prizes and share ‘Polska duma’ on first 2019 Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Frank Sieczka & Jan Mierzwa

It was, as one Tri-State Tour rep called it, a day of Polska duma, which translates into Polish pride. League teammates and friends Frank Sieczka, Jan Mierzwa and Grzegorz Kasica were among 36 entrants, who signed on to the first 2019 stop on the tour on Sunday, January 5, and ended the day at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ as the $1,000-added, 8-ball event’s final three. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Sieczka claimed the title when he and Mierzwa opted to split the final two cash prizes.
 
All three advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal, but in one of those quarterfinal matches, Sieczka and Mierzwa met for what turned out to be the one and only time. Sieczka had started his day with a shutout over Sebastian Karwas. He then downed Jaydev Zaveri, double hill and  Emit Yolcu 6-2, before running into Mierzwa and sending him to the loss side 6-4. Sieczka moved on to face DeMain Patrick in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the meantime, Kasica, who’d sent Qian Chen, Hunter Sullivan, and Michael Graf to the loss side, squared off against Allison LaFleur in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Sieczka got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Patrick and was joined by Kasica, who’d shut LaFleur out. Sieczka claimed the hot seat with a 6-4 win in what turned out to be his last match.
 
It was Patrick who drew Mierzwa, three matches into his loss-side streak that would end with the cash split. Mierzwa had downed Joe Mazzeo 6-4 and picked up a forfeit win over Liran Rabin to reach Patrick. LaFleur picked up (relative) newcomer Brandone Alli, who’d defeated Shweta Zaveri 6-3 and Artur Trzeciak (another representative of Polish pride) 6-4.
 
Mierzwa and Alli advanced to the quarterfinals; Mierzwa, 6-3 over Patrick and Alli, 6-2 over LaFleur. Mierzwa took the quarterfinal match over Alli 6-4, marking the 6th time in the event’s final 14 matches that members of the ‘Polska duma’ group had won a match by that score.
 
The semifinal and last match of the evening between Mierzwa and Kasica made it seven 6-4 scores out of the last 14 matches, as Mierzwa left Kasica in third place. Sieczka and Mierzwa opted out of the final and the first 2019 stop of the Tri-State Tour’s 2019-2020 season went into the books with a dash of Polish duma.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle,  Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 12, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Schreiber goes undefeated to win last 2019 stop on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Thomas Schreiber & Victor Herrera

Thomas Schreiber splits his TOT (time on table) between work on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours and is a B player on both; second on the Predator Pro Am among B players (behind Pascal Dufresne) and third on the Tri-State behind Joe Mazzeo and Paul Madonia. Schreiber chalked up his second 2019 win on the year’s final Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 29. The victory edged him closer to the top among the Tri-State’s B players because along the way, he defeated Joe Mazzeo, who finished in the three-way tie for 9th place. The $1,000-added event drew 44 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Schreiber’s path went through Terry Mohabir and the tour’s #1-ranked female and C player, Michelle Brotons, before encountering Mazzeo and sending him to the loss side. He advanced to meet and defeat Emit Yolcu (who would go on to defeat Mazzeo on the loss side) and faced Rajkumar Persaud in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other winners’ side semifinal featured the tour’s #4 B+ player (Eugene Ok) against its #2 C+ player (Bob Toomey).
 
Schreiber got into the hot seat match with a shutout over Persaud. He was joined by Ok, who’d sent Toomey to the loss side 7-2. Schreiber and Ok got locked up into a somewhat predictable double hill fight for the hot seat, eventually won by Schreiber.
 
On the loss side, the battle for 5th/6th featured replays of two of the winners’ side quarterfinals. Toomey ran right into a rematch against Alison Fischer, whom he’d sent to the loss side, double hill, in one of those winners’ side quarterfinals. She’d moved over and launched her loss-side campaign with a successful (6-3) win against Brotons and then, double hill, eliminated Elvis Rodriguez. Persaud walked into a rematch against Victor Herrera, who, in a quest to improve his #26 position among the tour’s C+ players, had eliminated Gil Costello 6-3 and Emit Yolcu (fresh off his elimination of Mazzeo) 7-4.
 
Herrera, on his five-match, loss-side way to the finals, downed Persaud 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Toomey, who’d defeated Fischer 6-4. Herrera and Toomey fought tooth and nail (aka double hill) before Herrera prevailed and then leapfrogged over a semifinal match against Ok, who, due to work responsibilities, forfeited.
 
The final match see-sawed back and forth to a final and deciding game. Herrera missed a shot at the deciding 9-ball, which Schreiber obligingly dropped for him to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick.         

Watanabe and Klein start but don’t quite finish Tri-State stop, leaving Watanabe with event title

Max Watanabe & Matt Klein

They met in the opening round of play at the Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 8; Max Watanabe and Matt Klein. Familiar opponents on the Tri-State Tour, friends, two of the tour’s highest ranked players. Max at #1 among A players, Matt at #3. The kinds of players who might, at larger tournaments, be seeded so that they wouldn’t meet in an event’s opening round. They did here and Max prevailed 7-4, moving on to advance through the field, all the way to the hot seat. Matt, in the meantime, went on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that ended up giving him a shot at redemption in the form of a second chance against Max in the event finals.

That didn’t happen. They opted out of meeting a second time, allowing Max’s earlier 7-4 win to stand as the defining match between them. On this day, at least. Max, undefeated, claimed the official title of the $1,000-added event that drew 28 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Max’s path after Klein in the opening round went through Joe Mazzeo 7-5 and Debra Pritchett 10-8 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Chris Schmidt. Zain Sundaram, in the meantime, who’d started his day by shutting out Jason Goberdhan, allowing Bob Toomey only a single rack in a 6-1 victory and downing Jim Gutierrez 6-3, drew Jose Carlos Ramos in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Watanabe defeated Schmidt 7-5 and in the hot seat, faced Sundaram, who’d sent Ramos to the loss side 7-1. Watanabe played what proved to be his last match of the day, utilizing some strong safety play to claim the hot seat 8-6 over Sundaram.

Klein, in the meantime, was navigating his way through the loss side. He got by Mikhail Kim, Steve Kalloo and Luis Lopez, before surviving a double hill match against Debra Pritchett. He went on to down Eddie Medina 7-3 and drew Schmidt, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Ramos picked up a re-match versus Adrian Daniel, whom he’d defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal and who’d eliminated Mike Strassberg 6-4 and Jason Goberdhan 6-3 to earn the rematch.

Klein downed Schmidt 7-3 and in the quarterfinal, faced Ramos who’d defeated Daniel a second time 6-3. Klein chalked up his seventh win of the day, sending Ramos home 8-5.

Momentum aside, Klein’s path through Zain Sundaram in the semifinals was not as easy as he might have liked or predicted. They battled back and forth and it was Sundaram who reached the hill (7) first. He gave Klein the smallest of openings in the next rack and Klein forced a 15th deciding game. He won that game to earn a well-deserved second shot against Watanabe, waiting for him in the hot seat.

With some good-natured trash talk and the opportunity to get home a little early, the two opted out of the final. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time of the negotiations, Watanabe claimed the title.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The Tri-State Tour will take a couple of weeks off, as the Predator Pro Am Tour holds its season finale at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY this coming weekend and is followed by an Open Date for the Tri-State Tour. The tour will return on the final weekend of 2019 (December 29) for a $1,000-added, A-B-C-D event at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

LaFleur and Altamarino split top prizes on Tri-State Tour

Allison LaFleur & Alfredo Altamarino

The Tri-State Tour’s top two women almost met in the hot seat and finals of a $1,000-added tour stop on Sunday, November 17, which drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. But it didn’t turn out that way. Allison LaFleur went undefeated through the field, and in the end, past midnight, with a long drive ahead for both of them, she and (male) Alfredo Altamarino opted for a split of the top two prizes.
 
The ‘match that almost happened’ actually occurred in one of the winners’ side semifinals. LaFleur’s path to the hot seat was a bit of a roller coaster ride; four matches, two of which went double hill and two of which she gave up only one rack, total. She downed Adrian Daniel and another of the tour’s top women, Vinny Mistry, double hill, shut out newcomer Roger Blanco and in that winners’ side semifinal, gave up the single rack to the woman who entered the tournament ahead of her (just barely) in the tour standings, Michelle Brotons. In the other winners’ side semifinal, a local Shooter’s player, CJ Chey, squared off and defeated Joe Mazzeo 6-2. In her third double hill fight, which reportedly hinged in the end on a safety battle, LaFleur claimed the hot seat over Chey.
 
The potential for a Brotons/LaFleur final was still very much in the air, so to speak.
 
Brotons moved over and picked up . . . guess who – Alfredo Altamarino, who’d been sent to the loss side by CJ Chey in the second round and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him to the finals and include victories over three of the tour’s top women and a prize split with a fourth, LaFleur, who’d end the night at the top of the list. After defeating top-tour-female #3, Amanda Andries 5-2, Altamarino downed #7, Vinny Mistry 7-4 and then, eliminated Mac Jankov 5-3 to pick up Brotons. Mazzeo, in the meantime, picked up Chris Kemp, who’d defeated Marcelo Adinolfi 6-3 and Rick Rodriguez 6-4 to reach him.
 
Kemp moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-4 win over Mazzeo, as Altamarino was busy surviving a double hill battle against Brotons, and ending hopes for a ‘top two women’ final. Altamarino then eliminated Kemp 6-4 and in what was described as a “stunning upset,” his rematch versus Chey in the semifinals was a shutout.
 
LaFleur and Altamarino opted out the final match, split the cash and called it a night.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 24, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Melendez goes undefeated* to claim his second Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Juan Melendez & Matt Klein

With his victory* on the Tri-State Tour’s October 13 stop at the Spot in Nanuet, NY, his second overall on the tour, Juan Melendez made 2019 his best earnings year to date, surpassing his 2017 earnings, when he won his first Tri-State event. Going into the $1,250-added, Double Points event that drew 49 entrants to The Spot, Melendez was the Tri-State Tour’s #10-ranked C-Class player. In what proved to be his final match, vying for the hot seat, he downed the tour’s #5-ranked B+ Class player, Matt Klein. The two opted out of a final match.
 
Melendez was challenged early and just did survive a double hill fight against Ada Lio in the event’s opening round. He advanced to down Amanda Andries 6-3 and Suzzie Wong 6-1 to draw Brandone Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Klein, in the meantime, squared off against Pascal Dufresne in the other one.
 
Melendez sent Alli to the loss side 6-4, as Klein was sending Dufresne over 7-5. In what proved to be the title match, Melendez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Klein.
 
On the loss side, Dufresne picked up H. Marcelo (Mars) Adinolfi, who had defeated Joe Mazzeo and Desi DeRado, both 7-3, to reach him. Alli drew Adrian Daniel, who’d recently chalked up two straight double hill wins over Jim Gutierrez and Suzzie Wong.
 
Adinolfi and Daniel handed Dufresne and Alli their second straight loss; Adinolfi, 7-4 over Dufresne and Daniel, 6-3 over Alli. Adinolfi took one more loss-side step with a 7-5 win over Daniel in the quarterfinals.
 
Adinolfi gave Klein all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. They battled to double hill before Klein ended the match, and in effect, the event 7-6. Klein and Melendez agreed on the split of the top two cash prizes and Melendez came away with the official event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Rhys Chen and his staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 20, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Guzman goes undefeated, splits Tri-State top prizes with LaFleur

Juan Guzman & Allison LaFleur

Juan Guzman returned to Steinway Billiards on Sunday, October 6 to chalk up his first 2019 Tri-State victory*. He’d recorded a win on the Predator Pro Am Tour at Steinway back in April and a month later, finished in the tie for 9th place at the 9th Annual Ginky Memorial, sponsored by both tours and hosted by Steinway, as well.  He and the tour’s #3-ranked female competitor, Allison LaFleur, allowed the result of their hot seat match to stand (a win for Guzman) and opted out of a final. The $1,000-added event drew 47 entrants to Steinway.

Guzman’s path to the winners’ circle went through some Tri-State heavy hitters; Joe Mazzeo, Philip Pearce, Matt Klein and Shivam Gupta to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Lidio Ramirez. LaFleur, in the meantime, challenged Jason Goberdhan in the other one.

Guzman advanced into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Ramirez and was joined by LaFleur, who’d survived a double hill battle against Goberdhan. Guzman claimed the hot seat and, as it turned out, the event title with a 10-6 victory over LaFleur.

On the loss side, Ramirez picked up David Grant, who’d defeated Matt Klein 7-4 and Shivam Gupta 7-5 to reach him. Goberdhan drew Mark Antonetti, who’d eliminated Ada Lio 6-4 and just did squeak by Adrian Daniel 6-5.

Ramirez and Goberdhan handed Grant and Antonetti their second loss; Ramirez, 7-5 over Grant and Goberdhan 6-2 over Antonetti. A double-hill quarterfinal followed, which ultimately advanced Ramirez to the semifinals against LaFleur.

In what proved to be the last match of the night, LaFleur and Ramirez made it entertaining, coming to within a game of double hill before LaFleur edged out in front near the end and won it 10-8. Guzman and LaFleur opted out of the final, they split the top two prizes and Guzman chalked up the official win.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, Liquid Weight Cues, Billiards Engineering, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 13, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.