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Flores Wins First AWBT Tour Stop

Final eight players (minus one)

With tour points leader Amanda Pulley (as well as Leandrea Gaff and Sara Miller) in Illinois for the NAPT’s Summer 10-Ball Classic, the AWBT’s stop at Pockets on August 18th and 19th was a prime opportunity for one of the other top points list players to make a move on first place.

 

Those players would find out quickly that even without Pulley, Gaff and Miller, the field of 38 players was still going to be a tough one. “A” players started dropping to the one loss side in the first round with Claudia Morado’s 5-4 win over Justine Bishop. Bishop would be joined by a handful of top players in the second round with Tammy Holben, Pearl Ortiz, Tracie Hamman, Rae Evans and Michelle Trevino all suffering early losses.
 
As the winner’s side narrowed, the final four players only contained one “A” player in the person of Susan Williams. Williams was joined by Pati Martinez, Diana Leon and Mary Helen Mondragon.
 
The one loss side was no more kind to top players as Bishop finished tied for 25th place with such notables as Hamman and Jordyn Flores. The top players would keep falling as Saturday play went on and the day ended with Sonia Flores, Stephanie Benavidez and Carmen Osenton joining Rae Evans for Sunday play.
 
Winner’s side action on Sunday saw Martinez score a 5-4 win over Williams and Mondragon with a lopsided 4-1 win over Leon. Mondragon then went on to capture her first ever AWBT hot-seat with a 4-2 win over Martinez.
Sonia Flores had lost a late Saturday match to Martinez on the winner’s side and she wasn’t going to go away without a fight in this one. A 5-1 win over Terri Johnson-McCauley on Saturday night was followed up by a 5-3 win over Benavidez early Sunday morning and then back to back 5-1 wins over Leon and Evans. Flores would then get her revenge against Martinez with a 5-2 win in the semi-final match.
 
The final match between Mondragon and Flores was an extended match with players adding another two games to their individual races. That left Flores going to seven and Mondragon going to six. Mondragon came out early with a 2-0 lead, but Flores then took control and won four straight racks. Mondragon fought back to 4-4, but Flores then regained control and won three straight for the 7-4 win and first place.
 
In addition to the main event, a second chance tournament was played on Sunday with Sara Sorg going through the field undefeated for first place. A “Balls Only” event was also held on Saturday with 29 guys competing. That event saw AJ Jones and Chris Paradowski split first and second place.
 
The AWBT will take September off, but will be back in Phoenix on October 13th – 14th for 9-ball on the 7’ tables at Bullshooters.

Pulley Tops AWBT Stop 4 And Points List

Susan Williams and Amanda Pulley

Amanda Pulley bounced back from a late Saturday loss to win her second AWBT tour stop of the season and jump to the top of the tour’s point list. Pulley was just one of the early favorites in the field of 53 players at Main Street Billiards in Mesa on July 7th – 8th. 

 

Pulley was joined in the field by such notables as Susan Williams, Sara Miller, Pearl Ortiz and Justine Bishop.
 
Things were going well for Pulley early Saturday with wins over Tonya Kurtz and Ilyana Flores but her path took a detour late Saturday after a 7-5 loss to Pearl Ortiz. A 7-2 win over Kristi St Ange was enough to earn Pulley her place in Sunday’s matches.
 
Ortiz came back on Sunday morning for a lopsided 7-0 win on the winner’s side over Sara Sorg, who had a great weekend of matches. The other half of the bracket saw AWBT veteran Susan Williams scoring a 7-1 win over Pati Martinez, who also turned in an outstanding performance all weekend long. The hot-seat match saw Williams with a convincing 7-3 win over Ortiz.
 
On the one loss side, Pulley had wins over Tommy Holben, Martinez and Dawn Polotto before a rematch with Ortiz in the semi-finals. “I wasn’t thinking revenge,” said Pulley, “but I felt strong during the match and this (plus an energy drink) empowered me”. Pulley was definitely empowered as she eliminated Ortiz 7-3 to earn her spot in the finals against Williams.
 
The final race to 9 was a true back and forth battle. Williams took an early 2-0 lead, but Pulley quickly knotted things at 2-2. The players stayed close until Williams was able to pull ahead for a 7-4 lead and she got to the hill at 8-6 but wasn’t able to put Pulley away. Pulley clawed back to 8-8, leaving the ladies playing one game for the title. The pressure of the final game appeared to get to both players as they both had problems pocketing the final 9-ball. After a missed bank by Williams though, Pulley cut the final ball into the heart of the pocket for the win. “I just told myself that I know how to make this shot, and I wasn’t going to give Susan another chance at the table,” Pulley said.
 
Sunday saw 29 players come back for the second chance tournament where Gigi Callejas took first place and Heather Cortez finished in second. Ed Scott and Evans Bishop split the men’s event that was ran alongside the main event. The AWBT will take it’s annual trip to Tucson on August 18th – 19th for an event at Pockets Pool & Pub.

Tagley Returns To AWBT Winner’s Circle

Nina Tagley and Heather Cortez

She had knocked on the door all season, but Nina Tagley finally broke through into the winner’s circle at the AWBT’s 3rd stop of the season at Kolby’s on June 2nd – 3rd.

 

The field of thirty-two players held it’s usual assortment of monsters, but an unusually large number of those monsters found themselves on the one loss side early as four former tour stop winners (Susan Williams, Jaye Succo, Amanda Pulley and Bernie Store) dropped their first-round matches. Of those monsters, Succo was out in two rounds while Store would only make it one more round as she lost in three rounds.
 
Back on the winner’s side, Tagley had her work cut out for her as she scored wins over April runner-up Justine Bishop, Windy “Five Rounds Deep” Breck, Pearl Ortiz and Rae Evans. As if that wasn’t a tough enough draw, Tagley then had to face “The Torpedo” Heather Cortez. Tagley would drop the match to Cortez 7-3.
 
The left side of the board came down to Evans and Ortiz, who were both looking to avenge their early losses to Tagley and then take on Cortez. Evans got past Ortiz 6-5, but Tagley then made quick work of Rae Evans, beating her by the same 7-2 score that she beat her on the right side of the board.
 
The extended final set between Cortez and Tagley saw Tagley score a hard-fought 9-6 win for her first tour stop win in well over 10 years.
 
Tagley credited home field advantage with helping her get back to the winner’s circle in this one. “I’ve played at Kolbys for nearly 30 years, and last year it was Heather and I 1st and 2nd at this event at Kolbys” Tagley remembered. She also pointed out how close she has been in recent stops. “If you look at the last six events, I’ve scored 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishes. I think my focus level has changed a bit recently, I’m a bit more disciplined now than I used to be.” she said.
 
Eleven players came back on Sunday to compete in the second chance tournament, with Mary Walczak defeating Justine Bishop for the hot-seat, and then Sandi Wilson in the finals, for first place.

Pulley Wins Freezers’ AWBT Tour Stop

Amanda Pulley and Justine Bishop

They came out in droves at the 2nd stop of the Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour, with a field of 56 players at Freezer’s Ice House on April 28th – 29th.

 

Surprisingly in a field of that size, early rounds held their fair share of marquee matchups with #3 ranked Amanda Pulley starting her tournament off with a 6-3 win over #1 ranked Bernie Store and Las Vegas’ Mary Coffman scoring a first round 7-2 win over Sara Miller. While those matches were not necessarily upsets, junior player Tory Conley’s 5-5 win over Jaye Succo was an eye opener and just went to show how much the junior player’s games are improving.
 
The top half of the board saw Pulley score wins over Windy Breck, Pearl Ortiz and #2 ranked Heather Cortez to earn her place in the hot-seat match on Sunday. The bottom half of the bracket was all about Justine Bishop as she dominated her matches, not allowing an opponent more than three games against her. As if that performance wasn’t strong enough already, Bishop then went on to beat Pulley 6-1 for the hot-seat.
 
On the one loss side, Susan Williams was on a run. After a first-round loss to Store, Williams won seven straight matches on the left side of the board, including over such notable opponents as Cathy Kelley, Conley, Tracie Hamman and Cortez. Williams’ run was finally brought to an end by Pearl Ortiz who had put together a four-match winning streak after the earlier loss to Pulley. The win over Williams earned Ortiz another shot at Pulley, but she wouldn’t fare any better with a 6-3 loss.
 
Bishop won the first two games in her first AWBT finals appearance in more than a decade. Pulley pulled the brakes on her and won the next 8 games in a row to clinch the match
 
When asked about this tournament – her 4th tour win – Pulley commented on the tough field. “In this tournament, each time I discovered my next opponent, I was like, “Awww, man, another monster?” And each time with luck and skill, I found a way to work through the match. I was calm after the initial anxiety, and without expectation; that helped a lot.”
 
Twenty-two players came back for Sunday’s second chance tournament, where Veronica Poore defeated Jaye Succo in the finals for first place.
 
The AWBT will next be in action on June 2nd and 3rd at Pockets in Tucson.

Wagner Wins AWBT Tour Stop

Rebecca Wagner (Photo courtesy of Nick De Leon)

Rebecca Wagner made it a perfect “two for two” with her second win in as many appearances on the Arizona Woman’s Billiard Tour in 2015. 
 
After a shaky 7-5 start over Claudia Justus, Wagner was untouchable as she won her next two matches by a combined score of 14-2 to advance to Sunday play on the right side of the board. Matching Wagner match for match, was Fort Worth’s Tara Williams. Williams had wins over Marcy Thomas, Bernie Store and Sara Miller on Saturday to remain undefeated. 
 
Joining Wagner and Williams on the winner’s side after one day of play were Nina Tagley and Susan Williams.
 
On the one loss side, Store was mowing down the competition with her sights set on Sunday play. Wins over Sandi Wilson, Claudia Justus and Amanda Pulley were enough to get her there. Sara Miller, Jaye Succo and Justine Bishop would also make it to Sunday play on the one loss side.
 
Sunday matches saw Wagner and Tara Williams keep pace with each other as Williams beat Nina Tagley 7-5 and Wagner beat Susan Williams 7-2. Wagner and Tara Williams would face each other for the hot-seat, which was won by Wagner 7-4.
 
Sunday play on the one loss side saw Sara Miller eliminate Jaye Succo in 7th place, and then Susan Wiliams in 5th place. Meanwhile Bernie Store eliminated Justine Bishop in 7th place and then Nina Tagley in 5th place.
 
The rivalry continued between Miller and Store, with Store pulling out a 7-5 win this time. Miller had a chance to tie the score at 6-6, but missed a 9-ball that gifted the match to Store. 
 
The semi-final match, between Store and Tara Williams, looked to be on its way to a quick finish with Williams cruising to a 5-0 lead. That was when things took a bad turn for Williams. Williams missed a couple of balls that she would have made early in the match and all of a sudden her “can’t miss” confidence was shaken. Store was more than happy to take advantage of the opportunities and the match was eventually tied at 6-6. Both players struggled in the final game, but a miss on the 7-ball was all that Williams could take as she unscrewed her cue and congratulated Store for the win.
 
The extended final match started out close. Store took an early 2-0 lead, but Wagner came back to a tie at 3-3. The score would be tied again at 4-4 and 5-5 before Wagner took control and climbed to the hill at 8-5. A great 6-9 combo by Store brought her back within two racks at 8-6, but it was just delaying the finish as Wagner broke and ran the next rack for the 9-6 win.
 
The second chance tournament on Sunday saw Amanda Pulley bounce back from a loss in her first match to run the one loss side with five match wins and then defeat Tami Hathcock in the finals for first place.
 
The Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour will be back in action on October 17th and 18th at Pockets Pool & Pub in Tucson.
 
Assistant Tour director Tres Kane gave his thanks to Mike and Julie Bates, and the staff of Bullshooters for hosting and adding $300 to the main event and $100 to the second chance event, Jose Gonzales of Las Glorias Grille for adding $100 to the main event and his partner Kristie Ortega for running another fine event.

Amanda Pulley Wins AWBT Tour Stop

Amanda Pulley

The Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour drew a field of twenty four ladies to Stingers on May 22nd – 23rd for their annual Bar Table 8-Ball event, where Amanda Pulley put together an undefeated run for her second career AWBT tournament win.
 
The field was filled with the usual group of top Arizona ladies talent, including previous event winners Pulley. Bernie Store, Susan Williams, Sara Miller and Jaye Succo.
 
Saturday matches were not kind to the points list leaders, as both Store and Williams were not able to earn spots in Sunday’s matches. #1 ranked Bernie Store turned in a “three and out” performance, with losses to Pulley and Susan Williams. Williams didn’t fair much better, with losses to Sara Miller and Justine Bishop, for a 9th place finish.
 
After a 5-3 win over Succo early Sunday, Pulley faced off against tournament surprise Sarah Geoghan. Geoghan turned in her best AWBT performance yet, with four wins on the winner side and a combined games record of 20-5. Unfortunately, she had no answer for Pulley in a 5-1 loss for the hot-seat.
 
Geoghan was one game away from a rematch with Pulley in the finals, as she led Succo 3-2 in the semi-final match, but found herself unable to put the former event winner away. Succo came back to win that match 4-3 to set up a rematch between her and Pulley in the finals.
 
The final race to seven, between Pulley and Succo, couldn’t have been much closer as neither player was able to take any control in the match. Succo held multiple small leads, but could never put any distance between her and Pulley. A 5-4 lead by Succo would be her last, as Pulley dug down to win three straight games for a 7-5 victory and first place.
 
The second chance tournament on Sunday saw Sophia Morquecho, who was unable to compete in the main event, go undefeated for the win. Morquecho defeated Jamie Goodwin twice, for the hot-seat, and in the finals.
 
Assistant Tour director Tres Kane gave his thanks to Dale Hanson, and the staff of Stingers for hosting and adding $300 to the main event and $50 to the second chance event, Jose Gonzales of Las Glorias Grille for adding $100 to the main event, “friends of the AWBT” for adding $200 to the main event, and his partner Kristie Ortega for running another fine event.

Wagner Wins AWBT Stop #2

Rebecca Wagner (Photo courtesy of Nick De Leon)

Rebecca Wagner wasn’t even planning on making the trip from Vegas to Phoenix for the AWBT’s second tour stop at Bullshooters on April 25th and 26th. It was only when she was able to get the weekend off work, that she agreed to accompany road partner Ashea Erdahl to the event. Wagner would end up mowing down a field of twenty eight players to earn first place in her first event of the new season.
 
Wagner would not have an easy path to the win however. Matches against Cynthia Haeffner and Tracie Hamman on Saturday were followed by equally tough matches against Jaye Succo and Bernie Store on Sunday. Wagner did not allow an opponent to the hill against her, and won two of those four matches 7-1. 
 
Wagner’s opponent for the hot-seat, Store, would not have a path any easier. Store scored wins over Alicia De Leon, Jodie Villegas, Susan Williams and Erdahl before dropping the hot-seat to Wagner 7-4.
 
The one loss side on Sunday was a “who’s who” of top female talent, including Williams, Amanda Pulley, Justine Bishop and Susan Mello. After Susan and Susan scored wins over Pulley and Bishop, they were joined on the left side of the board by Erdahl and Succo. Susan Williams would keep her winning ways going, with a 7-2 win over Succo, but Mello would drop a hill-hill decision to Erdahl.
 
Things were not looking good for Williams in her next match, against Erdahl, as she trailed 5-2 in the race to seven. Williams had been in that position before though, and she drew on that experience to mount a great comeback for the hill-hill win.
 
The semi-finals between Williams and Store started out well for Williams, as she took an early 2-0 lead, but then it was time for Store to mount a comeback and she won seven of the next nine games for the 7-4 win and a rematch with Wagner in the finals.
 
The single race to nine extended final was closer than their earlier battle, but it ended in the same result, as Wagner defeated Store 9-6 for first place. 
 
The win moves Wagner to second place on the AWBT points list, with Store still holding a comfortable lead over the rest of the list in first place. Williams, Haeffner and Barbara Lee fill out the top five positions on the list.
 
Although this event worked out well for Wagner, she still doesn’t see herself able to compete in many events this season due to work conflicts. 
 
The AWBT has been forced to change their schedule, and the upcoming Stinger’s event has been moved to May 23rd and 24th. 
 
The second chance event on Sunday saw Cynthia Haeffner beat Diana Leon for the hot-seat and then beat Tami Hathcock in the finals for an undefeated victory.
 
Assistant Tour director Tres Kane gave his thanks to Mike and Julie Bates, and the staff of Bullshooters for hosting and adding $300 to the main event and $100 to the second chance event, Jose Gonzales of Las Glorias Grille for adding $100 to the main event and his partner Kristie Ortega for running another fine event.

Bernie Store Wins AWBT Season Opener

Bernie Store and Heather Cortez

The AWBT kicked off their 2018 season on March 10th – 11th at Bullshooters with a field of 43 players and Bernie Store coming back from the one loss side to win and stake early claim to the AWBT points list. 

 

Store’s path through the brackets started off with wins over Stephanie Woodman, Carol Strong and Sandi Wilson before running into Heather Cortez in the final eight. Cortez, the 2017 points list winner, sent Bernie packing to the one loss side in a hill-hill match. 

 
After her win over Store, Cortez went on to defeat Nina Tagley in the final four and then Amanda Pulley for the hot-seat 7-3.
 
On the one loss side, Store got down to business with wins over Justine Bishop, Beth Orth, Jaye Succo (a hill-hill nail biter), Tagley and then Pulley in the semi-finals.
 
As is always the case on the AWBT, the finals were an extended race to 9 and Store cruised to a comfortable 9-5 victory for first place.
 
Sixteen players came back to Bullshooters on Sunday to compete in the second chance event, where Pearl Ortiz defeated Justine Bishop in the finals for first place. 
 
In addition to the ladies events, the AWBT also held their first “Balls Only” event where Jason Melm completed an undefeated run with back to back wins over James Main in the finals for first place and $310 in prize money.
 
The AWBT will be at Freezer’s for the second stop of the season on April 28th – 29th where they will be playing 9-ball on the 9 foot tables with $500 in added prize money.

Jaye Succo Wins Her First AWBT Event

Final eight players (minus Susan Wilbur)

The Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour held their June event at Skip & Jan’s Sports Bar in Tempe, Az on June 8th – 9th – and Jaye Succo showed the field of twenty players why matches aren’t decided on paper.
 
The field included the usual selection of top talent from Arizona, Las Vegas, New Mexico and Wisconsin; with top seeds that included Bernie Store, Susan Williams, Sara Miller and Vegas’ Stacy Allsup
 
Bernie Store looked like the player to beat early on this weekend as she scored day one wins over Tracie Hamman, Susan Wilbur and Sara Miller. On the opposite side of the board, Jaye Succo had day one wins over Lynor Johnson, Beth Orth and Amanda Pulley to remain undefeated going into Sunday play.
 
Two favorites that didn’t escape day one were Susan Williams and Stacy Allsup. After a first round bye, Williams dropped a hill-hill decision to Susan Wilbur and was eliminated two matches later by Tracie Hamman. Allsup’s day was even worse with a “two and out” performance.
 
Play got underway on Sunday with Bernie & Jaye being joined by six players on the one loss side. That number would be cut to four players on the one loss side with Orth defeating Hamman 7-6 and Wilbur defeating Justine Bishop 7-4.
 
Sara Miller would then end Orth’s day with a 7-1 scoreline, and Wilbur kept her tournament hopes alive with a 7-2 win over Amanda Pulley. 
 
The final four players would then be in action with Sara Miller snuffing out Susan Wilbur’s tournament hopes 7-3, while Bernie faced off against Jaye for the hot-seat.
 
On paper, the hot-seat match should have been a no-brainer. Bernie hasn’t finished lower than 2nd place all season and this would be Succo’s first time playing for an AWBT hot-seat. The race to seven match saw Bernie making her way to the hill first with a 6-3 lead. Neither player looked to be enjoying fighting with the tough pockets at Skip & Jan’s, and Bernie appeared to tighten up a little when she got to the hill. Jaye showed that she was more than capable of taking advantage of Bernie’s uncharacteristic careful play as she won the next four games to take the hot-seat 7-6.
 
On the one loss side, Bernie looked like the player we are all used to watching as she broke open a close 2-2 match to quickly dispatch Sara Miller 7-3 and earn the chance to redeem herself against Succo in the finals.
 
The final match was a race to nine and it would go all the way to the 17th game to determine a final winner. A 2-0 Store lead was tied up at 2-2. Bernie would then surge ahead 5-2, but Jaye clawed back to 5-4. It was then that Bernie took control of the match and raced to the hill at 8-5. Jaye would need to win four games before Bernie won one more. Jaye took the next rack, and then the next. Before the fans knew what had happened, Succo had erased another three rack deficit and tied the match at 8-8. The final game would be decided quickly when Store hung the 9-ball in the corner pocket and left an unmissable 1-9 combo. Succo did not miss the combo as she celebrated her first AWBT tour victory.
 
While fans who were not in attendance might have been surprised by these results, tour director Tres Kane showed no surprise at all. “Jaye is playing up to her ability today”, he said. “I have watched her playing Sunday night league against some of the top players in Phoenix and she has learned a lot over these last few months” he commented.
 
Succo definitely looked at the tournament as an accomplishment. After the event, she said “I’m ready for any challenge thrown my way. I knew I had to work my way up, as far as the standings and actually winning a stop, but I didn’t think it would happen this fast – especially against someone who shoots as well as Bernie.”