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Pinegar wins second 2019 Bar Table title at Midwest Bar Table Classic in Indianapolis

Jonathan Pinegar

Orcollo takes top prize in 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness
 
In what has been something of a slow year for him, Jonathan Pinegar (the ‘artist’ formerly known as “Hennessee from Tennessee”) recently chalked up his second 2019 Bar Box title. In late March, Pinegar won the 32-entrant, Super Billiards Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships and on the weekend of October 13-14, he went 7-1 through a field of 128 competing at the $7,500-added 39th annual Midwest Bar Table Classic, hosted by John Wayne’s Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, IN. He lost the opening set of a true double elimination final to runner-up Jason Klatt. Pinegar’s only other recorded earnings for the year stemmed from his participation in the 2019 Derby City Classic at which he finished in the money in three separate disciplines; 9-Ball (17th), One Pocket (21st) and 9-Ball Banks (91st).
 
As if a 128-player field wasn’t madness enough, the Midwest Bar Table Classic included a 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness tournament, which featured a single elimination ‘winner and runner-up take all’ format. It drew an extraordinarily short field of 10 entrants and lasted (no surprise) until 3 a.m., which might have had something to do with why the winner, Dennis Orcollo, finished in the eight-way tie for 17th place in the main event to take home $1,500. Tommy Stephenson was the $500 runner-up.
 
The main event saw a number of ‘marquee’ players eliminated earlier than anticipated (by themselves probably more than anybody). These included 2020 Mosconi Cup Team USA member, Billy Thorpe and the Midwest Bar Table Classic’s defending champion, Alex Olinger, both of whom shared in the four-way tie for 13th. Also out early (among others) were Dennis Hatch (25-32), Justin Bergman (17-24) and Shane McMinn (9/12).
 
Pinegar faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals; one of them, having sent the other to the loss side. Josh Roberts sent Jason Klatt to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal from where Klatt would launch a five-match winning streak that would earn him a shot against Pinegar in the finals. Roberts advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Jordan Davis, as Pinegar squared off against Chris Szuter in the other one.
 
Pinegar downed Szuter 9-6, as Roberts was busy sending Davis to the loss side 9-5. Pinegar claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Roberts and waited on Klatt’s return.
 
Klatt opened his loss-side campaign with a victory over Can Salim, who’d been responsible for sending Dennis Orcollo to the loss side (Kevin Hall would eliminate Orcollo). Klatt then went on something of a ‘tear’ as he shut out his next two opponents; Robert Frost and (fresh from his loss to Pinegar) Szuter. Davis picked up and defeated John Morra 7-5; Morra having been responsible for eliminating Shane McMinn and Jeremy Seaman.
 
Klatt took the quarterfinal match over Davis 7-2 and then, in a match that came within a game of double hill, downed Roberts 7-5 in the semifinal.
 
Klatt and his sidekick, Momentum took the opening set of the true double elimination final 9-6. Pinegar came back to win the second set 7-4 and claim the Midwest Bar Table Classic title.
 
Event directors John Klotz and Miranda Babcock thanked John Wayne’s Bar & Grill owner Chuck Thomas and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Meucci Cues, Simonis Cloth and for the live streaming, BilliardNet.TV. The next Midwest Bar Table Classic has been scheduled for April 3-5, 2020.

Pinegar wins 2019 SBE Pro Am Bar Box Championship

Jonathan Pinegar (Photo courtesy Super Billiards Expo)

Davis tops largest SBE field of 1,024 to win Amateur Open
 
In its multi-discipline, varied-skill format that, with some overlap among 11 events, drew over 3,000 pool players to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA over the weekend of March 28-31, the Super Billiard Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships has always existed as something of a challenge. In 2018, they used the challenge in promoting the event, asking potential participants a simple question – How good do you really think you are?
 
Open to all levels of competitors, without restriction, its field is capped at 32 players, who play a ‘best of three set’ format with races to 6 in each set (all other Amateur events utilized the same format, although with races to 5 in each set). While encouraging and expecting a wide variety of players from the amateur to the pro, this year’s ProAm Bar Box Championships featured a field that was tipped somewhat toward the amateur end of things. Not completely, because it was won by 20-year veteran Jonathan Pinegar, who’s been winning and cashing in amateur and semi-pro events for nearly 20 years. Known throughout most of his career as “Hennessee from Tennessee,” Pinegar has, in recent years, been signing on to events with his given name. At this year’s SBE, he signed in as John Pinegar. This year’s runner-up was Demetrius Jelatis.
 
The posted brackets on the SBE Web site for all of the amateur events (including the ProAm Bar Box) do not indicate the scores of the individual sets, which masks the give and take of game-by-game scoring. Instead, each player is seen to have won their individual matches by only one of two possible outcomes; 2-0 or 2-1. There is no way of knowing, therefore, a given player’s game-winning percentage, only his or her set-winning percentage.
 
Pinegar won 10 of 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with a 2-1 win over Alex Olinger, went 2-0 against Kevin West and allowed Scott Haas a single set in the third round, which brought him to a semifinal matchup against Justin Espinosa. Jelatis, in the meantime, won eight of the 12 sets he played over five matches. He opened with two straight 2-0 set victories over Shane Clayton and Alan Rolan, before giving up a set to Ryan McCreesh. This set him (Jelatis) up against Jorge Rodriguez in the other semifinal. Rodriguez is another one of those competitors who’s been competing at the semi-pro and pro-level for years.
 
Pinegar got into the finals with a 2-0 set victory over Espinosa. Jelatis joined him after a 2-1 set victory over Rodriguez. Pinegar completed his undefeated (in sets) run with a 2-0 victory over Jelatis.
 
Davis goes undefeated in his individual bracket, advances to win Amateur Open
 
In the largest field of the SBE, the Amateur Open, 1,024 entrants initially split up into 16 brackets of 64 players each. Each of those brackets delivered a single player to a Final 16 bracket. Phil Davis didn’t lose a single set (best of three sets in races to 5) in his initial bracket, going 2-0 against Chris Garrett, Matt Clatterbuck, Mark Alicea, Paul Swinson, Richard Anderson and in his bracket’s finals, Jason Balas. He gave up his first set in the opening round of the single-elimination final 16 bracket, going 2-1 against Joe Wright. He went back to his 2-0 pattern against Mark Nanashee in the second round, which moved him into the semifinals against Julio Burgos.
 
Raed Shabib, in the meantime, gave up his first set, in the opening round of his 64-player bracket, to Christopher Balderson. He didn’t give up another one until his bracket finals, having gone 2-0 against Abel Rosario, John Hoge, Bill Mason and Randy Tate. He took the bracket final 2-1 over James Adams. He opened the Final 16 portion of his run with a 2-1 victory over George Crawford and then downed Brett Stottlemeyer 2-0, to arrive at a semifinal against Chris Bruner.
 
Davis and Shabib advanced to the finals with identical 2-1 set victories over Burgos and Bruner, respectively. Davis completed his undefeated run with a 2-1 victory over Shabib in the finals.
 
Amateur highlights
 
The next highest attended Amateur tournament was the Open Seniors event (for 50+), which drew 384 entrants. Originally split into eight preliminary brackets, yielding a single winner, the event was won by Bobby Connor. He advanced through the Final 8 field with set wins over Oscar Bonilla and Dennis Spears, both 2-1. He was met in the finals by Efrain Morales, who’d defeated Joe Armeni 2-1 and Chuck Ross 2-0. Connor didn’t give up a set in claiming the Open Seniors title.
 
Next up, with 192 entrants, was the Super Seniors (65+), who started in four initial brackets, yielding a very short final field of four. Ed Matushoneck downed Tom Acciavatti 2-1 to claim his spot in the finals, and was joined by Ronny Park, who’d defeated Nelson Rivera 2-1. Matushoneck claimed the Super Seniors title with a 2-0 win over Park.
 
The Amateur Ladies drew 188, just four less than the Super Seniors. Combined, those two events would have yielded an enormously entertaining field with just four less than the Open Seniors event. As it was, the 188 ladies, like the Super Seniors, started with four initial 64-player brackets (with a number of opening round byes) and ended with a final field of 4. Rachel Lang and Michelle Jiang advanced to the finals without giving up a set to either Marie-France Blanchette and Stacey Tonkin. Lang downed Jiang in the finals two sets to one.
 
In the 12 and under Juniors event, which drew 56 entrants, Parker Jakubczak downed 2018 11 & under Junior National Champion Kyle Yi in the finals 2-1. In the 17 & under category, which drew 76 entrants, two-time 14 & under National Junior Champion Nathan Childress defeated Ivo Linkin in two straight sets.

Mobley downs Leonard twice to capture his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Daniel Mobley

While the annual Super Billiards Expo (SBE) appeared to have drawn a large majority of the pool playing public to the Philadelphia area on the last weekend in March (nearly 3,000 attended), it didn’t draw everybody. It did, though, have a way of dampening attendance at relatively nearby tournaments scheduled on the same weekend, like the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. On Saturday, March 30, Buck’s Billiards in Raleigh played host to a tournament that drew 21 entrants, and saw Daniel Mobley go undefeated through that field to win his first stop on the tour.
 
According to our records, Mobley had cashed in an event only once before and it was on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour four years ago at a stop hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. Mobley finished fifth in the event that was won by Jonathan Pinegar, who, while Mobley was working on his first major victory this past Saturday, was in the midst of the SBE’s Pro Am Bar Box Championship that he would go on to win.
 
In the meantime, Mobley and Zac Leonard were working their way through the field at Buck’s Billiards where they’d meet twice to determine the event winner. They met first in the hot seat match, once Mobley had sent Matt Clifton to the loss side 5-2 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, and Leonard had downed Matt Raden 7-2 in the other one. Mobley claimed the hot seat over Leonard 5-4 (Leonard racing to 7).
 
On the loss side, Clifton and Raden ran right into their second straight loss. Clifton drew Ricky Dickson, who’d defeated Dave Brown 5-4 (Brown racing to 8) and Greg Speight 5-3. Raden drew a re-match against JT Ringgold, the tour’s most prolific winner, who, after his defeat at Raden’s hands, launched a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. Ringgold had most recently survived a double hill fight against Robbie House (11-6) and eliminated Elton Howard by the same score.
 
Ringgold won the re-match against Raden 11-3 and moved into the first-money-round quarterfinals against Dickson, who’d survived a straight-up race to 5, double hill match against Clifton. Ringgold won his last match in those quarterfinals, 11-3 over Dickson.
 
The Ringgold-Leonard matchup in the semifinals was predictably tight. Leonard, with the lower handicap started the match with four on the wire in a race to 11. Ringgold made it to 9, one game away from a double hill, deciding match, but Leonard chalked up his seventh rack to end it.
 
In the finals, it was Leonard playing with the higher handicap, looking to unseat Mobley, who started the match with two on the wire in a race to 7. To his credit, Mobley improved on his 5-4 victory in the hot seat match by giving up only a single rack to Leonard and claiming the event title 5-1.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Buck’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (April 6-7), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.

Dechaine comes out of ‘retirement’ to win SBE Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championship

Mike Dechaine – Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio

Aranas wins 32-entrant, Pro-Am BarBox Championships
 
He never actually left. Although “Fireball” Mike Dechaine has cut back, way back, on the number of tournaments in which he competes, he’s kept his hand in, so to speak. In fact, he’s won four of the last eight tournaments he’s entered – The Robert Dionne Memorial (NE 9-Ball Series) in January of 2017, the Gotham City Pro Classic in October, the New England 9-Ball Series’ Tour Championships just last month, and now, on the weekend of April 12-15, the $16,000-added Diamond Open 10-Ball Professional Players Championship, part of the annual Super Billiards Expo at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center IN Oaks, PA. Dechaine went undefeated through the field of 64, competing for $48K in prize money, and in the end, got by, in order, Thorsten Hohmann, Earl Strickland, and Jayson Shaw, before meeting and defeating Danny Olson in the finals.
 
According to Dechaine, being away from the sport and focused more on a regular job, has allowed him to approach the occasional tournaments in which he now participates with a different, if not downright better attitude. It’s an attitude, he said, that decreases the influence of expectations.
 
“I go into every tournament expecting to do well,” he explained, “but I think part of me winning these days is having a job now; a foundation (which) allows me to approach a tournament without expectations, (other than) just to enjoy myself and have fun.”
 
Aiding and abetting this somewhat new approach for the “Fireball” was an RV in which he and a group of friends were able to travel from Maine to Philadelphia in about six hours, and then, to stay, throughout the course of the weekend.
 
“The RV belonged to a friend of mine (John),” he said. “The (Greater Philadelphia Expo Center) was about 10 steps outside of the door, so we could come back, relax, take a nap if we wanted to. We had a blast.”
 
The indoor ‘blast’ got underway on Thursday, April 12. For both eventual finalists (Dechaine and Olson) the path to victory went through Thorsten Hohmann. Following a victory over Xavier Libby, Olson faced him in his second match and was sent to the loss side, from which he would eventually emerge as one of the eight loss-side finalists. Hohmann would go on to be among the eight winners’ side finalists. Dechaine, in the meantime, advanced on the winners’ side, defeating Lee Kang and Martin Daigle, before facing Tommy Kennedy, in what he (Dechaine) would describe later as his toughest match of the tournament.
 
“He played tremendous,” said Dechaine of Kennedy’s double hill effort. “The change was that his break started not working for him. I fought back and got lucky.”
 
The victory advanced Dechaine into a pool ‘dream team’ of eight final winners’ side competitors, including Shane Van Boening, Jayson Shaw, Skyler Woodward, Mika Immonen, Alex Pagulayan, Earl Strickland, and Hohmann, whom Dechaine met first.
 
On the losers’ side, Olson, following victories over first, Jorge Rodriguez, then Nick Charrette had to face Johnny Archer for the right to be among the losers’ side final eight. He defeated Archer, and joinEd Martin Daigle, John Morra, Jonathan Pinegar, Oscar Dominguez, Zion Zvi (who’d just eliminated Tommy Kennedy), Lee Vann Corteza and Roberto Gomez in the single elimination final 16.
 
Dechaine downed Hohmann 13-6, and then, faced Earl Strickland; a matchup that in bygone days might have seen a few ‘fireworks’ as the “Fireball” met the Pearl. Not this time around, however.
 
“Earl was a complete gentleman,” said Dechaine later. “It was good to see and it was fun to watch him.”
 
Dechaine won that match 13-1 and turned to face Jayson Shaw. In the losers’ side bracket, Olson, who’d defeated Daigle 13-5, and Morra 13-3, picked up Oscar Dominguez. Dechaine advanced to the finals with a 13-9 victory over Shaw. Olson joined him after defeating Dominguez 13-10.
 
Still at work enjoying himself and having fun, Dechaine stepped into his first major event final since last October, when he’d squared off against Yu-Lung Chang in the finals of the Gotham City Pro 9-Ball Classic (aka The Sharon ‘Sam’ Fagnoni Memorial).
 
“It was nerve-wracking being in the finals, of course,” he said, “but I was just trying to push through and play the best that I could.”
 
“Danny (Olson),” he added, “is an up-and-comer, and he’s going to be around for a while.”
 
Dechaine completed his undefeated run with a 13-10 victory over Olson. As he ponders his participation in future events, he is cognizant of the degree to which his somewhat lowered expectations have provided him with a key that might lead to further success.
 
“Focusing on one shot at a time,” he said. “Being the best that I can be.”
 
Pros and Amateurs mixed in Pro-Am Bar Box Tournament, won by Zoren James Aranas
 
“How good do you really think you are?” was the question posed on the Super Billiards Expo’s Web site Details and Registration page for the Pro-Am Barbox Championships.
 
“Take your best shot in this challenging 32-player event,” it suggested further.
 
And so they did. Though invited, there were no women among the single-elimination event’s 32-entrants. At stake was $10K in total prize money.
 
Zoren James Aranas went undefeated through five opponents to claim this event’s title, downing Jorge Rodriguez in the finals. Aranas got by Justin Martin, Shaun Wilkie and Benjamin Warblan to face Nathan Rose in the event semifinals. Rodriguez, in the meantime, had downed Cory Young, Jeff Jones and Nick Cipiti to draw Dee Adkins in the other semifinal.
 
In races to 6, best 2 out of 3 sets, Aranas advanced to the finals in two sets; 6-3, 6-1, over Rose. He was joined by Rodriguez, who’d been tested in his first match against Adkins, but hung on to win 6-5, and then eliminated him 6-4 in the second set.
 
Aranas won the first set of the finals 6-2. Rodriguez fought back in the second set to double hill. Aranas completed his undefeated run by finishing it.

More Stars Hit the Doors at U.S. Open

Earl Strickland (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Shane Van Boening proved a one man wrecking crew yesterday as he took both K.L. Hsu and Ronnie Alcano out of the tournament with scores of 11-4 and 11-7. Jonathan Pinegar took out Imran Majid 11-10 and then lost to Joshua Filler 11-7.
 
It was Nick Van Den Berg who exited Oscar Dominguez 11-8 and Dennis Orcollo took down Johan Chua 11-9. Today Orcollo must face Warren Kiamco.  Wu Jia-Qing ended the run for Ko-Pin Yi 11-8 and Mika Immonen sent Johnny Archer packing 11-7. Justin Bergman came out on top over James Aranas 11-9.
 
Earl Strickland had two  close shaves but prevailed in both matches 11-10. His first victim was Gabe Owen and the  second was Kevin Cheng, our 2015 U.S. Open Champion. Earl has been in gear all week and faces Chris Melling next.
 
Skyler Woodward is shooting unbelievably well. He can’t seem to miss. Yesterday he dominated Dennis Hatch 11-4 and will  face Martin Daigle next. 
 
Still undefeated in the field are Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Naoyuki Oi. Oi defeated Alex Pagulayan who made a heroic comeback after being down 7-0 only to lose 11-10. Eklant Kaci continues his spotless record with an 11-8 win over Darren Appleton and Corey Duel sent Albin Ouschan left 11-6. P.C. Ko and Thorsten Hohmann are both still spotless but will face one another next.
 
Jayson Shaw took down Akagariyama 11-3 and will play Billy Thorpe today after a controversial win by Thorpe. Thorpe was playing Carlo Biado when the play-by-play announcers announced he had fouled the six ball. But the referee was unable to confirm the foul as he was unable to see it and so escaped the foul call. He went on to win 11-10 over a very disheartened Biado who felt he had been cheated in the match.
 
Today all the matches are great ones. Follow the coverage at Accu-Stas.com for the live stream and right here on AZB for the live scoring and brackets.
 

Chapman stops Pinegar to pick up his 1st major win on Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour

Given the theory, supported by anecdotal evidence, that competing against stronger opponents improves one's own pool game, the allure of handicapped tournaments is easy to understand. Handicaps in such situations are designed to give lower-ranked players something of a fighting chance against seasoned (higher handicapped) veterans.
 
On the weekend of June 17-18, at a stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, Michael Chapman, looking for his first major tournament win, made it to the hot seat. In the finals, he faced Open/Pro player Jonathan Pinegar, aka Hennessee from Tennessee, who'd lost his opening match and won eight on the loss side to reach those finals. With Pinegar racing to 12 and Chapman racing to 6, Pinegar took the opening set in the true double elimination final. Chapman, though, obviously improving on the spot, as it were, came back to win the second set and claim his first major title.  The event drew 27 entrants to a new venue on the tour, Billiards and Brews in Knoxville, TN.
 
In the event's opening round, Pinegar faced Ricky Bingham, who was racing to 8. Bingham won that match 8-9, and eventually advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Jerry Ray Harris. Chapman, in the meantime, squared off against Bryan Walters in the other winners' side semifinal. Harris downed Bingham 5-4, as Chapman was sending Walters to the loss side 6-4. Chapman claimed the hot seat by that same score, and waited for Pinegar to complete his loss-side run.
 
It was Walters who drew Pinegar, halfway through his eight-match, loss-side winning streak, which included, most recently, a double hill win over Brett Kleinhaus (12-8), and a 12-3 win over Joel Bradshaw. Bingham drew Steve Ellis, who'd downed Angela Gann 6-2 and Rick Rogers 6-4. Pinegar advanced to the quarterfinals 12-3 over Walters, as Ellis spoiled the opportunity for a Pinegar/Bingham re-match with a 6-3 win over Bingham.
 
Pinegar gave up only a single rack to Ellis in those quarterfinals, and then spoiled Harris' hopes for a re-match against Chapman, with a 12-2 win in the semifinals. Chapman put up a double hill fight against Pinegar in the opening set of the true double elimination final, but Pinegar prevailed 12-5 to force a second set. Chapman downed Pinegar in the second set 6-8, completing his undefeated run to claim his first major title.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Billiards and Brews, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for June 24-25, will be the 1st Annual South Carolina State 9-Ball Barbox Championships, to be hosted by Cue Time Billiards in Spartanburg, SC.
 

Woodward takes two out of three versus the Hillbilly to capture 42nd Annual Texas Open title

Skyler Woodward

Over Labor Day weekend, and more precisely, at about 4 a.m., Eastern time, on Tuesday morning, Skyler Woodward snatched the 42nd Annual Texas Open title out of its defending champion, Charlie "Hillbilly" Bryant's hands. But not, as was expected, without a fight. The $7,000-added event drew a full field of 128 entrants to Skinny Bob's Billiards in Round Rock, TX. In a concurrently-run, $2,000-added Ladies event that drew 32 (see separate story), the Texas Tornado (Vivian Villareal) chalked up her third straight Texas Open title.
 
For the male event, early weekend talk at Skinny Bob's and in the chat rooms of PoolAction TV, which live-streamed the event throughout the weekend, centered on Mexico's Ruben Bautista. Bautista, who got by (among others) Richie Richeson, John Gabriel and Alex Olinger, was fulfilling some of those expectations, all the way through until early afternoon on Labor Day, when he ran into the Hillbilly in a winners' side semifinal. In the other semifinal, Woodward, in the meantime, met up with Robb Saez, who, on his way, had sent three-time Texas Open champion ('94, '02, '03) Jeremy Jones to the loss side and was showing some grit. It's safe to say, if not meticulously researched and proven, that a good percentage of figurative and literal money invested into predicting the winner of this event, had just these four squaring off as they did in the winners' side semifinals.
 
Woodward dispatched Saez to the loss side 9-5, as Bryant took care of Bautista 9-3. In a surprisingly good-natured hot seat match (Woodward and Bryant can each be feisty at times), Woodward dominated 9-2.
 
Lurking on the loss side, as Saez and Bautista slid over, were (among others) Jones, Olinger, Joey Gray, Jonathan Pinegar and Justin Bergman, who, after being sent to the loss side by Woodward in the third round, was working on what turned out to be a seven-match, loss-side run. Wins #5 and #6 came at the expense of Jundel Mazon 9-2 and Pinegar 9-5, which set Bergman up against Bautista. Saez drew Gray, who'd eliminated Olinger 9-4 and Brian Sanders 9-5.
 
In two polar-opposite matches battling for advancement to the quarterfinals, Saez drew the 'double hill' card that finished Gray's weekend. In a somewhat surprising turn of events (though not to everyone), Bergman shut Bautista out. Following that victory, very few would have predicted the double hill quarterfinal that followed, and at a guess, it would have been even money for the result, that was 9-8, Saez.
 
The semifinal between Bryant and Saez (who won this event, four years ago) was a re-match from last year's final, at which, on the hill and shooting at the 9-ball, Saez scratched, giving Bryant, in the hot seat, the opportunity to tie and then, break and run, to capture the 2014 title. In the steady, and not overly dramatic re-match, Bryant defeated Saez 9-5 for a second, and potentially necessary third shot at Woodward.
 
It looked, in the early going of the opening set, as if Bryant was going to cruise to a second set. Woodward, who won the lag, was looking at a separate, private payout of $500 if he could break and run the set; a bargain that fell apart on his opening break, when he sunk a single ball, but couldn't see the 1-ball. He rolled out, launching a series of back and forth safety shots that made it look as though it were going to be a longer night than it actually was. Woodward untangled the safety mess by sinking the 4-ball, but he scratched, turning the table over to Bryant, who promptly ran out, and then (winner breaks), chalked up four more in a row, the last of which saw Woodward scratch again, shooting at the 5-ball. 
 
Skyler regrouped to win the sixth rack, but it looked to be a temporary reprieve, when, in the seventh rack, Woodward completely missed a shot that gave Bryant ball in hand. Bryant, though, joined the 'scratch' parade and gave the table back to Woodward, who finished that rack and chalked up three break and runs to tie things at 5-5.
 
Skyler took his first lead at 6-5. Bryant promptly tied it up and added three more to force a second set.
 
Things started a little slower in the second set, with the two trading racks to a 2-2 tie. It was at this point, that in the words of assistant tournament director, and competitor (17th) John Palmore, Woodward "caught a gear," chalking up six straight to reach the hill ahead, way ahead of Bryant. And then, it was Bryant's turn. With the sword of defeat hanging over his head, Bryant chalked up four in a row, which, but for a single shot at the 9-ball, could have been five in a row. 
 
It was, as they say, too little, too late. Woodward closed it out by the same score he'd been defeated by in the first set – 9-6 – to become the second youngest player to win the 42-year-old tournament (by a matter of months, the youngest was Sylver Ochoa; 2007).
 
A final note: Many of the details in this report would not have been possible, had it not been for the as-always professional live stream, offered by Ray "Big Truck" Hansen and his PoolActionTV crew, along with continually-updated, online brackets and regular, graciously-offered conversations with assistant TD and competitor John Palmore. 

Olinger goes undefeated, downs roommate Thorpe in finals of White Diamond’s 9-Ball Open

Alex Olinger (Photo courtesy of Alex Olinger)

Roommates Alex Olinger and Billy Thorpe weren't favored to face each other in the finals of the White Diamond Billiards 9-Ball Open on the weekend of November 15-16. Among those who were favored to be the last two standing were (in order) Skyler Woodward, Chip Compton, Joey Gray, and Robb Saez. Also in the 'favored' mix were former champions of the event Jamie Baracks and Shane McMinn, along with Manny Chau, Cliff Joyner, and former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy. But Olinger and Thorpe it was; Olinger completing an undefeated run with a victory over Thorpe in those finals. The $1,000-added bar box event drew 128 entrants to White Diamond Billiards in Lafayette, Louisiana.
 
"We'd played in the finals of a few smaller tournaments," said Olinger of his regular touring partnership with Thorpe, "but this was the biggest one we'd ever been in that we made it to the finals."
 
"It was a tough field," he said of his victory, "but I played well all weekend."
 
He started early, defeating Dalton Riley 7-3, before running into the top-favored player on the list, Skyler Woodward. He downed Woodward 7-4, which sent the youngster on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that ended in the tie for 7th/8th. Olinger went on to defeat Cheddy Brown, Eric Brown and Chip Compton, before running into Thorpe for the first time in a winners' side semifinal. Baracks and Matt Armstrong squared off in the other. Olinger downed Thorpe in a double hill battle, and in the hot seat match, faced Baracks, who'd sent Armstrong west 7-3. Olinger got into the hot seat 7-5 and waited on Thorpe's return.
 
On the loss side, Thorpe picked up Josh Roberts, who'd defeated Robb Saez 7-4 and ended Woodward's run 7-5. Armstrong drew Robert Dennies, who'd eliminated a couple of favorites; Jonathan Pinegar 7-4 and Chip Compton, double hill. Thorpe and Armstrong advanced to the quarterfinals; Thorpe 7-2 over Roberts and Armstrong 7-3 over Dennies.
 
Thorpe defeated Armstrong 7-4, and then earned his second shot at Olinger with a 7-5 victory over Baracks in the semifinals. Olinger stopped Thorpe's three-match, loss-side run with a 7-4 win in the opening set of the true double elimination final.
 
The event was the work of Ashley and Chris Miller, owners of White Diamond Billiards. Selected matches were broadcast throughout the weekend by PoolAction TV, with commentary by Ray Hansen.

Archer goes undefeated to win Side Pocket 9-Ball Open Championship in Shreveport

Johnny Archer and Jonathan Pinegar

Johnny Archer put a stop to a nine-match, loss-side winning streak by Jonathan Pinegar to go undefeated and win the Side Pocket 9-Ball Open Championship on the weekend of October 25-26. The $2,000-added event, held three times a year in the final weeks of October, February, and June, drew 80 entrants to Side Pocket Billiards in Shreveport, LA. A 16-entrant Ring Game on Friday night was won by Gary Abood, with Charlie Bryant and Joe Barnes finishing second and third, respectively.
 
Archer and Zack Sanderson faced off in the hot seat match of the main event, after both had chalked up 7-5 wins over C.J. Wiley and Charlie Bryant, respectively. Sanderson put up a fight in the struggle for the hot seat, and forced a deciding game, which was won by Archer.
 
Over on the loss side, 'Hennessee from Tennessee' Pinegar was hard at work on his long trek back to the finals. He'd been awarded a bye in the opening round of play, and then defeated Jerry Moore, before Shawn Putnam sent him to the losers' bracket 7-5. On the loss side, he eliminated Derek Cantu, Clint Freeman, Yang Yim and Chris Brown to advance into the money rounds (9-12). Victories over Wesley Barnes (7-5) and Tony Barrington (7-4) set him up to face Bryant, coming over from the winners' side semifinals. Wiley drew Joe Barnes, who'd gotten by Gary Abood 7-3 and spoiled Pinegar's hopes for a re-match, with a 7-5 win over Putnam.
 
It was Wiley and Pinegar who advanced to the quarterfinals; Wiley 7-4 over Barnes, and Pinegar 7-5 over Bryant. Pinegar took the quarterfinal match 7-4 over Wiley, and got a shot at Archer with a 7-5 victory over Sanderson in the semifinals.  Archer, though, known to be never more dangerous than he is with a finish line in sight, took the opening set of a potential true double elimination final, giving up only three racks and claiming the event title.

WOW Matches All Day at Simonis/Aramith U.S. Open

Mike Dechaine

Thursday brought us another host of excellent matches at the 39th Simonis/Aramith U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships at the Marriott Hotel in Chesapeake, Virginia. With a field this strong we have many big names storming through the one-loss bracket. All of these are perform or go home matches and experience under pressure is proving its value here.

World number one Niels Feijen was behind in most of his match with Jin Hu Dang but came back from a two-game deficit to win the match 11-9. Johnny Archer had to face young sharpshooter Skyler Woodward but his composure and confidence won the day as he overcame the up and comer 11-5. Feijen next faces Jonathan Pinegar and he better be ready as Pinegar eliminated Johnny Archer (11-6) in his final match of the night. Upcoming Hall of Famer Jose Parica had his exit ticket punched today in a double-hiller with Le Quang Trun of Viet Nam and Imran Majid gave Oscar Dominguez a pass to the stands 11-7.

Justin Bergman doesn't ever seem to consider the possibility that he could miss. He plays with a solid and sure pace and just had his way today with a tough Danny Mastermaker. Mastermaker just could not stay up with the firepower of Bergman. Begman then went on to take out Brad Shearer (11-3). He ran a four pack against Shearer and that is the most racks anyone has been able to manage consecutively this week as the new racking rule of the 9 on the spot has really put a halt to long runs. The games are more about strategy this year and Bergman's main strategy is to smother opponents with firepower until they cannot lift their heads.

Chris Bruner had a match today he can put in the proud section of his memory banks. He showed no apprehension at all in his match against Russian great Konstantin Stepanov. He played what the table offered and ducked effectively when that was the proper option. The match was close but Bruner never showed any nerves as he took the bout 11-9.

Alex Pagulayan is the first to admit that his record against Ralf Souquet is less than stellar. But he must have forgotten about that in their match today. Pagulayan looked truly solid as he ended the run of Souquet 11-7. In the next round, however, Pagulayan ran into prospective Mosconi Cupper Justin Hall and Hall played well beyond his years as he dismembered Pagulayan 11-4. Whatever magic dust coach Mark Wilson is using on his charges seems to be working very well this week. Wilson has to pick five of the eight prospects to make the team and they are not making his choice easy.

Jeremy Sossei had a real hill to climb. He was matched up against Max Eberle and Max had already beaten the aforementioned World number one Niels Feijen earlier in the week. Eberle is in total control of the mental side of the game now and when you couple that with his considerable table skills you have a guy you just don't really want to play. But Sossei gets better every time we see him and he stayed calmly within himself throughout the match and took it down 11-9. The new table habits Sossei has picked up of late are certainly working for him. After the Eberle match he went on to take down Albin Ouschan (11-8) and Friday must face his fellow Mosconi Cup prospect Justin Hall. It will be curious to find which of these players will be afraid of making the first big mistake and which will put all that away and play aggressive 9-Ball.

On the winner's side Ernesto Dominguez just keeps setting them up and knocking them down. He beat Ralf Souquet earlier in the week 11-7 and today never gave Chris Futrell a chance as he rolled over him 11-5. His next opponent is Francisco Bustamante. Bustamante manhandled a clearly not on his game Thorsten Hohmann. Both men had a lot of trouble with the break shot and we witnessed six scratches on the break shot during the match as Bustamante managed Hohmann 11-5.

Former Mosconi Cup member Nikos Ekonomopoulos is threatening the field this week. He has already tromped Dennis Grabe 11-3 and Mario He 11-4 and today he showed his endurance as he never tired in his 11-10 win over another former Mosconi Cup member, Corey Deuel.

Nick Van Den Berg is here on a mission and he is getting there. Every match he has had has been against a champion and he just continued to prevail until Warren Kiamco put him over to the left side 11-9. Prior to that he had won over Stevie Moore (11-6), Matt Haines (11-5), and Mika Immonen (11-2).

Late evening matches of interest included a match between Shane Van Boening and Do Huang Quan where the pool gods showed their undying love for Van Boening. Quan had him in the vise twice and let him out. Quong was running out when he led the match 10-8 but dogged an easy 5 ball and then dogged another golden opportunity in the hill match to ran the victory to Van Boening 11-10.

Karl Boyes is a study in contrasts. Off the table he is gregarious and a lot of fun to be around. He has one of those personalities that easily charms and wins friends and he can be the life of the party. But when he gets on a pool table he flips the switch and focuses internally and does a fine job of living inside the rails. He showed off his true power Thursday night as he crushed none other than Darren Appleton 11-1. With that kind of performance on his record he will bring out the cautious side of his opponents and that advantage alone is worth a couple of racks.

There are now only eight undefeated players and they are going to provide us with a marvelous show today as Shane Van Boening must face Karl Boyes, Mike Dechaine takes on Dennis Orcollo, Nikos Ekonomopoulos challenges Warren Kiamco and Ernesto Dominguez does battle with Francisco Bustamante. Watch the best of the action on Accu-Stats and follow all of the action here on AZB.