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Pao stops Miller’s four-event winning streak, comes from loss side to win JPNEWT stop in NJ

Briana Miller and Caroline Pao

Next up, WPBA qualifier to inaugural Helena Thornfeldt Memorial – The Sledgehammer Open 

As Briana Miller began the process of assimilating duties she will be performing as full-time tour director of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour in January, she signed on to compete in its latest event, looking to chalk up her fifth straight win since the 2022 season began in March at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD. Current tour director Linda Shea won the only 2022 event in which Miller did not compete back in May. This past weekend (July 30-31), Caroline Pao, who’d been runner-up to Miller in the March season opener, battled her twice this time out, hot seat and finals; Miller, winning the first and Pao, claiming the title by winning the second. The event drew 19 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

During her absence from JPNEWT events since March, Pao had not been idle. She cashed in five events elsewhere, one per month, including three WPBA tournaments (Northern Lights Classic, Ashton Twins Classic and WPBA Masters), a stop on the Joss Tour and a 5th place finish at the SBE’s Women’s 9-Ball Pro Players Championship. She was looking for her first 2022 victory and found it in New Jersey. 

Pao opened her bid for that win with a 7-1 victory over Carol V. Clark and a 7-2 victory over Melissa Jenkins to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Kris Consalvo Kemp. Miller, in the meantime, got by Kathy Croom 7-3 and in a present/future TD match downed Linda Shea 7-4, to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against the tour’s #3 competitor, Kia Burwell.

Pao got into the hot seat match with a 7-1 victory over Kemp and was joined by Miller, who’d defeated Burwell 7-3. Miller claimed the hot 7-3.

On the loss side, Burwell picked up Kathy Croom, who’d lost her opening match to Miller and went on to defeat Ginny Lewis 7-2, Melissa Jenkins 7-5 and Susan Kimble 7-2. Ada Lio, who’d lost her opener to Shea and following victories over Anna Marks 7-2, Sheila Joner 7-1 and Alyssa Solt 7-3, won her rematch versus Shea 7-3 to draw Kemp.

Lio advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Kemp and was joined by Burwell, who’d eliminated Croom 7-4. By the same score, Burwell defeated Lio in those quarterfinals. Both semifinalists – Burwell and Pao – were looking for a second shot at Miller in the hot seat and predictably, the battle that ensued went double hill. Pao prevailed.

With that pool-player’s friend ‘momentum’ in play, Pao came into the finals looking for her first 2022 title. She edged out in front of Miller in those finals, eventually extended the lead to four racks and claimed her first JPNEWT and 2022 title 9-5.

Shea and Miller thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor, Baltimore, MD). The next stop on the JPNEWT (#8), scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 13-14 at Triple Nines in Elkridge, MD, will be a WPBA qualifier. The winner will receive entry to the WPBA’s $10,000-added Sledgehammer Open, a tribute to the late Helena Thornfeldt. That event, scheduled for Oct. 19-23, will be hosted by Janet Atwell at her Borderline Billiard’s room in Bristol, TN.

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Ng goes undefeated, downs Velez in finals on Garden State Pool Tour

Richard Ng

Richard Ng returned to a winners’ circle on Sunday, April 10, when he went undefeated at a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour. The $350-added, ABCD 9-Ball event drew 29 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.  

Last seen in the winners’ circle as the undefeated winner of a 2015-2016 stop on the Tri-State Tour, before it became the Predator Tri-State Tour, Ng had to battle through his opening matches to get to the hot seat. He went double hill in his opener against Tri Chau, before winning two straight games that came within a game of double hill, versus Mikhail Kim and, in the winners’ side semifinal that punched his ticket to the hot seat match, Tae Chang. Facing him in that match was Sung Lee, who’d had his own struggles getting there, facing two straight double-hill matches, against Ron Litchenberger and Frank Kasseta, before downing Mike Strassberg, and in the other winners’ side semifinal, Kervin Santamaria. 

Ng and Lee fought back and forth to a 4-4 tie, before Lee surged ahead by two racks. Ng responded with four in a row to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Velez picked up Tae Chang, downing him in what was described by tour officials as a cliff-hanger win. Velez followed with victories over Satamaria in the quarterfinals and Lee in the semifinals, both 7-4.

Ng allowed Velez only a single rack and claimed the event title.

Tour representatives noted that while not among the top four finishers, Kathy Croom “battled her way to a stunning, 5th place finish.” Croom had failed to win a set in her previous five events and hadn’t won a game in her last outing. Congratulations were extended for her 3-2 showing and first cash winnings at this stop on the tour.

Tour representatives thanked Vincent Sauro and his Clifton Billiards staff, along with all of the event’s participating players. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour will be its 4th Annual NJ State Amateur Championships. The two-day event, scheduled for the weekend of April 30-May 1, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

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