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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 www.playcsipool.com/2017-swanee.

Oscar Dominguez wins 20th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial

Oscar Dominguez

Oscar Dominguez came back from a hot seat loss to meet and defeat Rodney Morris in the finals of the 20th Annual Jay Swanson (Swanee) Memorial Tournament, held on the weekend of February 20-21. The event's $10,000 prize package drew a full field of 128 entrants to On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, CA.
 
The tournament came within a match or two of featuring a finals contest between Oscar and his father, Ernesto, who faced separate opponents in the winners' side semifinals. Oscar met up with Amar Kang, as his Dad faced Morris. Oscar defeated Kang 8-5, as Ernesto was sent to the loss side by Morris 8-4. Morris took the hot seat 8-5 and waited on the younger Dominguez' return.
 
On the loss side, Ernesto ran into Johnny Kang, who'd defeated Jonny Martinez 7-5 and Santos Sambajon, Jr. 7-3 to reach him. Amar Kang picked up last year's runner-up Hungarian Vilmos Foldes, who'd eliminated Max Eberle 7-4 and Brendan Crockett 7-2.
 
Ernesto locked up in a double hill battle that he won versus Johnny Kang, while Amar Kang fell to Foldes 7-2. Ernesto then downed Foldes in the quarterfinals 7-5, setting up a father-son semifinal, which, by family tradition, they chose not to play; Ernesto allowing Oscar to face Morris in the finals.
 
"When we first started playing together," Oscar explained, "we were both so bad that it was funny, so we decided that we wouldn't play against each other, and it stuck.
 
"It's usually me who advances," he added, "because my father always wants me to get more experience."
 
It paid off handsomely, although there's no way to determine whether it would have paid off just as handsomely if Ernesto had faced Morris. As it turned out, Oscar got his second shot at Morris and delivered, 11-9, to claim the 20th Annual Jay Swanson Memorial title.

Morris wins Mezz West State Tour Stop 2

Rodney Morris

The Mezz West State Tour held its second stop in beautiful Northridge, CA over the weekend of May 9th and 10th. This 9 ball event attracted 90 players, including Mika Immonen, Oscar Dominguez, Rodney Morris and Vilmos Foldes. This event was held at Plush Pocket Billiards, which is an old school style pool room which has 17 nine foot tables and 3 Diamond bar tables. 
 
The event started with a heavy hitter top and bottom bracket. The top bracket held big gun players; Brian Parks, Fach Garcia, Oscar Dominguez, Mika Immonen and Johnny Kang. Making their way through the top half of the upper bracket was Fach Garcia who had wins over Justin Marks, Jaden Brock, Al Moreno and Attile Corsba. He was met in the final four winners by Oscar Dominguez who had wins over James Harris, Laurie Butera, Sal Butera, and Mika Immonen. Garcia was up early leading 7-2. But in true Dominguez style Oscar grinded back to eventually win 9-7 sending him to the hot seat match. 
 
The lower bracket was even tougher with heavy hitters like Rodney Morris, Melissa Herndon, Vilmos Foldes, Danny Gohkul, Dave Hemmah and Ernesto Dominguez. Melissa Herndon showed her dominance with wins over Dave Hemmah, Shaun Smallwood, Manny Herrea, Henry Bodt and Aaron Estrada. She was met in the final four winners by “Rocket” Rodney Morris who had wins over Dave Martineau, Jeremy Long, Danny Gohkul and Vilmos Foldes. This was tight match with it tied at 3, 4 and 5. Eventually the “Rocket” took off, winning 9-6.  
 
Meanwhile on the losers side, Beau Runningen, Billy Dyke, Brian Parks, Jerry Lin, Johnny Kang, Ernesto Dominguez and Dave Hemmah were all duking it out. Beau Runningen made a tough fight winning four matches on the losers side before being beaten by Attila Corsba, forcing him to settle for 9th-12th. Attila then moved on to face “Iceman” Mika Immonen who was on fire and ran through him 9-3.  Mika would continue his streak by beating Melissa Herndon and then Dave Hemmah. Dave Hemmah had a great run with wins over Fach Garcia, Aaron Estrada, Vilmos Foldes, Johnny Kang, Sal Butera, Lawerence Rocheda and Mark Anthony. His loss to Immonen forced him to settle for 4th place. 
 
The hot seat match between Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez was a nail biter, with several break and runs, along with phenomenal safety play. The match went hill-hill, with Rodney Morris coming away with the win. This sent Dominguez to the 3rd place match to face Immonen. This match was heavily one sided and we did not see Immonen in his best performance, allowing Dominguez to win 9-2 and sending him to a rematch with Morris in the finals. 
 
The finals are an extended race to eleven and both Dominguez and Morris both breaking and running almost every rack. Both players played what could have been a 900 Accu- Stats. The match was tied the entire time at 7-7, 8-8,  9-9 and 10-10 (hill-hill). In the hill-hill game Dominguez was breaking. Dominguez broke in 2 balls, but had a tough opening shot on the two. He opted to play safe, but Morris played a great safe back. Dominguez executed an incredible kick-safe. Morris then kicked but accidentally made the two ball and was hooked on the three ball. Morris made an incredible kick and left Dominguez a tough cut on the three down the rail. Instead of trying to fire the shot, Dominguez played a creative safety. Morris made a good hit and left Dominguez still in a tough spot. Dominguez made the three, the four and played safe on the five. Morris then jumped in the five and ran out, winning the hill-hill set. 
 
The Mezz West State Tour would like to thank all their sponsors: Mezz Cues (Miki-Mezz.com), West State Billiard Supply (WestStateBilliards.com), Zan Tips (Zan-Tip.com), Taom Break/Jump Tips (TaomTips.com), Andy Cloth (AndyCloth.com), PiUs Company, So Cal Tap, Kurzweil Country Meats, fast&loose desgins (fastnloosedesigns.com), Contact Point Media, Turtle Rack, NYC Grind (NYCGrind.com) and AZ Billiards (AZBilliards.com). 
 
We would also like to thank owner Steve, along with the entire Plush Pocket Billiards staff for hosting the event. We would also like to thank all the players for coming out and supporting the tour. 

Rodney Morris Wins Mezz West State Tour Season Opener

Rodney Morris

The Mezz West State Tour returned the weekend of April 25th and 26th to the beautiful Hard Times Billiards of Sacramento, California. The first season was a huge success averaging 88 players per event. This second season started off with a bang accumulating a total of 114 players shattering the all time high of 96 players. Among the locals, strong talent from all over the west coast was in attendance including players from Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. The railbirds and locals were treated to a great display of pool by some great talent including "Rocket" Rodney Morris  and "Iceman" Mika Immonen, alongside tour regulars Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez, Johnny Kang, Beau Runningen, Sal Butera and Amar Kang.  Several top amateur players also made an apperance including Tommy "Too Good" Soria, Kevin May, Spike Aiardo, Mark Chernin and Rylan Hartnett
 
With a field loaded with killers, there was no such thing as a "soft draw". The top of half of the bracket contained Sacramento Hard Times house pro Carl Wilson, Corey Harper, Johnny Kang, Jason Williams, Melissa Herndon, Spike Aiardo, Beau Runningen, Mika Immonen, Tommy Soria and Amar Kang. Battling through the top of that bracket was Phoenix's own Spike Aiardo with wins over Brandon Boatman, Mark Chernin, Jason Williams and Carl Wilson to reach the final four winners side of the event. Meeting him in there was a tough Mika Immonen, who had found victories over Patrick McLoud, Dirk Grundman, Chong Vang, Tommy Soria and Amar Kang. This match was heavily one sided with Mika pulling away to win 9-4, securing his place for the hot seat match. 
 
Meanwhile in the bottom bracket, Ernesto Dominguez, Oscar Dominguez, Rodney Morris, Vilmos Foldes, Jaynard Orque, Dave Hemmah, Bobby Emmons, Paul Silva and Sal Butera all battled it out. Coming through the top of that bracket was Oscar Dominguez with wins over Zaldy Rosaluna, Mike Mitchell, Paul Silva and Ernesto Dominguez to put him in the final four winner side. Vilmos Foldes was waiting for him in the bottom portion of the bracket with tough wins over Emerson Joiner, Dave Gomez, Rylan Hartnett and Rodney Morris. Foldes had Dominguez down 6 to 1 in the blink of an eye, but Dominguez showed heart grinding back to win 9-7 and securing his spot in the hotseat match to face Immonen.
 
The hotseat was one sided with Dominguez breaking and running 4 racks on Immonen, allowing him to find victory 9-4. Mika would then travel to the one loss side to battle a tough Rodney Morris for his second shot at the finals. Rocket was in dead stroke at this point with wins over Tommy Soria, Geoff Somer, Spike Airado and Amar Kang. Immonen and Morris exchanged break and runs back and forth until it was 4-4. Rodney slowly pulled away winning 9-5. The finals are one extended race to 11 and Morris handled an exhausted Dominguez very easily winning the event 11-4. 
 
This Mezz West State Tour would like to thank all their sponsors: Mezz Cues (Miki-Mezz.com), West State Billiard Supply (WestStateBilliards.com), Zan Tips (Zan-Tip.com), Taom Break/Jump Tips (TaomTips.com), Andy Cloth (AndyCloth.com), PiUs Company, So Cal Tap, Kurzweil Country Meats, fast&loose desgins (fastnloosedesigns.com), Contact Point Media, Turtle Rack, NYC Grind (NYCGrind.com) and AZ Billiards (AZBilliards.com). 
We would also like to thank Karen, Mike and Rachel Markulis, along with the entire Hard Times Billiards staff for hosting the event. We would also like to thank all the players for coming out and supporting the tour. 

Frost goes undefeated to spoil Van Boening quest for fifth straight Andy Mercer Memorial win

Scott Frost (File photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

Shane Van Boening had won six of the last seven Andy Mercer Memorial events at the Rum Runner Lounge in Las Vegas. He took a break after his first win in 2009, which gave Ernesto Dominguez the opportunity he needed to win it in 2010. Van Boening then won four straight, and looking for a fifth, joined 63 entrants in the $3,700-added, 25th Annual Andy Mercer 9-Ball Classic, held at the Rum Runner Lounge on the weekend of March 21-21. In the end, at about 9:30 p.m. (Vegas time) on Sunday, it was Scott Frost, wire to wire, who claimed the 25th Andy Mercer title, defeating Joven Bustamante twice to do it. 
 
In a second-round battle versus Mike Massey that went double hill, Van Boening scratched on the final rack. Massey took ball in hand and sunk a 1-9 combination that sent Van Boening to the loss side. Massey followed soon thereafter and managed to work his way to the quarterfinals.
 
On the winners' side, Frost and Bustamante met first in a winners' side semifinal, as Jason Klatt, who finished 4th in 2014, squared off against Sal Butera. Frost dominated the first of two against Bustamante 6-1, while Klatt was surviving a double hill battle against Butera. Frost claimed the hot seat 6-2.
 
Butera moved over and picked up Massey, who'd defeated Max Eberle 6-3 and Johnny Kang 6-1. Bustamante drew Van Boening, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak. that saw him eliminate Oscar Dominguez and Rodrigo Geronimo, before defeating Jeff Schilder 6-3 and Donnie Branson 6-2. It was the end of the streak.
 
Bustamante ended Van Boening's hope for a fifth straight Andy Mercer title, though it proved to be a double hill thriller. Massey, in the meantime, was ending Butera's weekend 6-4. Bustamante shut Massey out in the quarterfinals and completed his loss-side run with a 6-4 semifinal victory over Klatt, who improved his 2014 performance in the event by a single place/$500.
 
The Frost/Bustamante re-match was on, and it lived up to advanced billing. About a month ago, in Reno, NV, Bustamante had come out on top, finishing fourth in the US Bar Box 9-Ball Open Championship, while Frost settled for the three-way tie for ninth. Frost reversed the order for this 25th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial, completing his undefeated run with a double hill win in the finals. 

Bezdan Wins Mezz West State Tour Top Gun Event

After 11 events on the Mezz West State Tour, a total of 32 invited players came to Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA to compete in the year end event for its 12th and final event of Season 1. The invited players were chosen based off a points system based off the Camel Pro Tour rankings. The top players accumulated points based off their performances to play in a special year end event of $2000 added prize money plus the membership dues collected throughout the season which totaled to 5750 off of 231 total members. In addition, as a bonus, the top 16 ranked players did not pay an entry fee while the 17-32nd ranked players paid a standard $65 entry fee.
 
The top half of the board was led by co founder of the MWST, Oscar Dominguez with wins over the Filipino veteran, Ramon Mistica 9-4, followed by wins over Johnny Kang 9-4, Dave Hemmah 9-5, and Ernesto Dominguez 9-0, to lead up to the hot seat match. The bottom half of the bracket was dominated by Hungarian sharpshooter, Attila Bezdan, with wins over Phil Prentice 9-3, Ramin Bahktiari 9-3, Melissa Herndon 9-4, and road companion Vilmos Foldes 9-4. The hot seat match was one sided as Attila came out firing balls in from all angles putting pressure on Dominguez. After a few failed safeties, Attila ran away with the match with a 9-5 score. 
 
Meanwhile on the losers side, Rodrigo Geronimo who lost his first match to Tang Hoa 8-4, had grinded through seven matches against Kevin May 9-3, Beau Runningen 9-7, Chris Fangre 9-3, Melissa Herndon 9-5, Tang Hoa 9-4,Ernesto Domiguez 9-4 and Ruben Bautista 9-7 to reach the 3rd place match against Oscar Dominguez. Rodrigo looked hungry to reach the finals and took a quick 5-1 lead over Dominguez. It wasnt until Geronimo missed a crucial 2 ball in the side pocket to widen the lead to 6-1 that Dominguez had a chance to take control of the table. Winning that game and then the next 3, Dominguez was able to tie it up 5. The following 6 games were each nail biters, with each player playing inspirational kick, jump and safety shots. Dominguez fell behind once again 7-5, but in his true fashion, showed a lot of heart to come back and win the match 9-7 sending him back to the finals to seek revenge on Bezdan.
 
The finals was one to be seen. Bezdan played flawless, only missing two balls the entire set. He pocketed every ball on the table as if they had eyes and controlled the cue ball at a top notch level. His break was also in top gear, leaving Dominguez helpless. Attila Bezdan went on to easily win the set 8-2. His victory was well deserved, as he was the best player on this day.  All of us on the Mezz West State Tour will surely miss him next season and would like to congratulate him on his very great accomplishment. 
 
We would like to again thank all of the players and sponsors who make all of this possible: Mezz Cues (miki-mezz.com), West State Billiards Supply (weststatebilliardsupply.com), ZAN tips (Zan-tip.com), Kurzweils Country Meats (kurzweilscountrymeats.com), AZbilliards.com, NYCGrind.com, POVPool.com, Marty Carey Jump Q, ontherailtv.com, Turtle Racks, and fast&loose designs.

Geronimo wins La Mesa Mezz Stop

The Mezz West State Tour was held in gorgeous La Mesa, California at its premier room, On Cue Billiards. The Nooris family welcomed 88 players including none other than “The Magician” himself, Mr. Efren Reyes. It was quite a treat for both players and spectators to watch and interact with the legend himself during the two day event. 
 
The top half of the bracket was packed with talent as it contained not only Rodrigo Geronimo, Ramin Bakhtiari, Vilmos Foldes, Johnny Kang, James Cabal, Dan Wallace, Dave Gorham, Rodney Wynn and Victor Castro but also Efren Reyes. Foldes and Reyes met up in the final 16 of the winner side in a TV table face off. Foldes fought hard, but was out matched by Reyes with a score of 9-4. Reyes’ bracket got no easier, as Rodrigo Geronimo was waiting for him following his 9-3 victory over James Cabal.  This Filipino match up went back and forth to the bitter end with Rodrigo pulling away a 9-7 victory and sending the Magician to the losers side. This win secured Geronimo’s spot in the final 4 of the winners side where he would defeat Victor Castro, who had tough wins over Mark Whitehead, Ray Pajarillo and Dave Gorham. Geronimo would go on to defeat Castro 9-6 to find himself waiting to battle it out for the hot seat. 
 
The bottom half of the bracket was no cake walk either as Oscar Dominguez, Attila Bezdan, Kenichi Uchigaki, Ruben Bautista, Sal Butera, Beau Runningen and Melissa Hernadon made up just a few of the great players that filled up this portion of the chart.  Second round of the winners side found Beau Runningen taking on Toyko player, Kenichi Uchigaki. Beau made a heart filled effort but fell short, sending Uchigaki further into the winners brackets and himself to the losers side. Uchigaki proceeded to find wins over Branch Talley, Larry Bohn and Sal Butera all of which allowed him to face off against Oscar Dominguez in the final 4 winners. Dominguez made his way there with wins over Melissa Hernadon, Amir Shoshan and Attila Bezdan. This was hard fought battle between the two international friends, but ended with Kenichi Uchigaki taking down Dominguez 9-6. This win ensured Uchigaki to face off with Geronimo for the hot seat. The match up one sided early on with Geronimo taking the win 9-5, putting him in the hot seat.
 
Meanwhile, the action continued on the losers’ side where team Hungary faced off. Vilmos Foldes defeated his best friend and road partner 9-4 knocking Attila out of the competition. Vilmos would then go on to beat Sal Butera in a hill-hill, nail bitter which came down to a safety battle on the 8 ball in the final game.  However the hill-hill matches were not over for Foldes just yet, as Victor Castro played his heart out but fell short to Foldes in the following round.  On the top side of the losers bracket, Oscar Dominguez found himself fighting back against Efren Reyes, who at one point led the match 8-2. Dominguez came with great out after great out, eventually tying the match at 8-8. In the case game, Reyes was up to break. Reyes broke in two balls and skillfully made an incredible out on Dominguez, forcing Oscar to settle for 5th/6th.
 
The 3rd/4th match found Foldes and Reyes once again. Foldes found his revenge on Reyes winning 9-6 and sending him to the losers side final against Uchigaki. Uchigaki, who was feeling ill and very jet lagged opted allow Foldes to move onto the finals by forfeit.
 
The finals between Vilmos Foldes and Rodrigo Geronimo was a match to be seen. In true double elimination format Foldes would have to defeat Geronimo twice to claim victory. Foldes easily handles Rodrigo winning the first set 9-3. The second set was much more of a grind with many break and runs, kicking and safety play. Rodrigo eventually grinded down Foldes and took his victory in a close 9-7 win. This win would make Rodrigo a three time tour stop winner this season. 
 
Also, a congrats to Melissa Herndon for being the top female finisher and receiving a $100 bonus.
 
The MWST would like to thank their sponsors for their continuous support of bringing pool back to the west coast. In addition, a very special thank you to Daniel Bush and POV POOL for their hard work providing the live streaming. Mezz Cues (miki-mezz.com), West State Billiards Supply (weststatebilliardsupply.com), ZAN tips (Zan-tip.com), Kurzweils Country Meats (kurzweilscountrymeats.com), AZbilliards.com, NYCGrind.com, POVPool.com, Marty Carey Jump Q, POVPOOL.com, Turtle Racks, and fast&loose designs.

Oscar and Amar split on Mezz West State Tour

Amar Kang and Oscar Dominguez

The Mezz West State Tour traveled to San Francisco, CA to the Billiard Palacade owned and operated by the enormously generous and kind, Murcia. A great field of 73 players came from all over California, Nevada, and even from Europe. The 5th stop of the tour was 10 ball to be played on the 13 beautiful AMF antique tables which Billiard Palacade had refelted specifically for this event. 
 
The top half of the bracket was dominated by World Cup of Pool team India member, Amar Kang. The Sacramento, California ace has had excellent results on the tour and for years on the west coast with elite players. Some of his victories included a strong win over Filipino champion, Rodrigo Geronimo, Deo Alpojara, Johnny Kang, and Oscar Dominguez for the hotseat. As previously mentioned, Oscar Dominguez came up short to Kang in the hotseat but not before disposing of several strong local talent and Romanian expat, only known as Babken on the bottom half of the bracket.
 
On the losers side, several upsets took place including the fairly early departure of tour points leader, Rodrigo Geronimo by Hungarian young gun, Attila Bezdan after defeating his best friend and road partner Vilmos Foldes. In addition, former junior national champion, Beau Runningen, fought valiantly on the losers side after a loss to Deo Alpojara. Beau went on to defeat the always tough Justin Logan, Johnny Kang, and Babken until he ran into Dominguez who stopped Beau, from going to the finals.
 
The finals between Amar and Oscar would be a true double elimination where Oscar needed to win twice for the victory while Amar needed to only win once. After a strong start by Kang to lead 7-2, Dominguez forged a comeback to win 9-7 and force a second and deciding set. The duo agreed to call it a night as it was 3 am and it would be safer for all parties driving home that night. 
 
Also, the Mezz West State Tour would like to congratulate Emilyn Collado on her Top Female finish!
 
The Mezz West State Tour would like to thank their sponsors: Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, Kurzweil’s Country Meats, AZBilliards, NYCGrind, Fast&Loose Designs, ZAN tips, POVPool, and Turtle Rack. Also, a very special thank you to Francisco Murcia and his entire family for their warm hospitality and generosity to promote the sport we all love. Next stop is at On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, CA. We hope to see you there and be sure to tune in to POVPool.com to watch all the action live and free!

Geronimo wins Mezz West State Tour Stop #1

Rodrigo Geronimo and Ramon Mistica

The Mezz West State Tour kicked off its inaugural event this past weekend of August 9th and 10th at the infamous Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA. This $2000 added event brought 91 players from all over California, Nevada, Arizona, and even as far away as from Colorado to take battle on the green. The stacked field of the some of the best players on the west coast grabbed their cues to and headed to Hard Times to fight for the $1,655 first prize and $6,550 in cash prizes.  The format for this tour is unique in that it’s competitively handicapped; Pros race to 9, Semi pros to 8, and open players to 7. There was not a single complaint the entire weekend as favoritism or bias was not a factor in determining a players rating. 
 
Leading the top half of the bracket was former US Open runner up, Tang Hoa, who showed a glimpse of his younger self until he faced Ramon Mistica who sent him to the loser bracket after an impressive performance. Mistica maintained his momentum and defeated Ernesto Dominguez soon after to win the top half of the bracket. Meanwhile, his road partner from the Philippines, Rodrigo Geronimo controlled the bottom half of the bracket with superb play over Los Angeles locals, Fach Garcia and Oscar Dominguez until he faced Ramon for the hot seat.
 
The hot seat match went quickly as Ramon kept his fast and loose style in complete control where he soundly defeated Rodrigo. The victims of these two great Filipino players fought valiantly on the one loss side to make an attempt at redemption. Johnny Kang, a Los Angeles local, displayed his aggressive style and big break until he seemed rather exhausted after so many closely contested matches. He finally succumbed to Rodrigo Geronimo in a 9-4 defeat. After a very long weekend, the two gentleman maintained a fantastic level of play all the way until the last ball dropped around 2 am with Rodrigo Geronimo taking the first place prize of $1655 and Mistica settled for $1220. Johnny Kang received $800 for 3rd and Tang Hoa rounded out the top 4 with $525 for his efforts. 
 
The Mezz West State Tour owners and founders, Desiree Rivera and Oscar Dominguez would like to personally thank every single player, spectator, and staff of Hard Times Billiards for their support all weekend. The Mezz West State Tour would like to acknowledge all of our sponsors and thank them for their generosity; Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, ZAN tips, Fast&Loose Designs, AZ Billiards, and the Turtle Rack by Olive. Next stop is Event #2 at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, California. Signups are now being taken and pre register at mezzweststatetour.com