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Davis comes from the loss side, and returns to NC State Open 9-Ball winners’ circle

Mike Davis, Jr.

Mike Davis, Jr. won the first three NC State Open 9-Ball championships from 2014 to 2016. After relinquishing the title for three years, to (in order) Shannon Fitch (‘17), Reymart Lim (’18) and Keith Bennett (’19), Davis returned to compete in the 7th Annual NC State Open 9-Ball tournament and in spite of having his path to victory re-routed through the loss side of the event’s bracket, returned to meet and defeat Justin Martin in the finals and reclaim the title. The $500-added event drew 43 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Davis advanced through the field to draw Justin Martin in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Barry Mashburn faced Brian Capps in the other one. Martin sent Davis to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Mashburn, who’d defeated Capps 7-5. Martin claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mashburn and waited on Davis’ return.

On the loss side, in the first money rounds, Davis picked up Josh Heeter, who’d shut out Kirk Overcash and eliminated Jeff Abernathy 7-3 to reach him. Capps drew Mackie Lowery, who’d eliminated Hank Powell, double hill, and Edwin Delacueva 7-3.

Capps sent Mackie Lowery home with some cash in a 7-5 win. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Davis, who’d survived a double hill battle versus Heeter. Davis then denied Capps a second shot at Mashburn by downing Capps in those quarterfinals 7-2.

Davis moved on to deny Mashburn a second shot at Martin with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. In the finals that followed, Davis was looking to regain a title he’d last held in 2016. His opponent, Justin Martin, was looking to break a three-year streak of being the NC State Open 9-Ball tournament’s runner-up.

Davis won his fourth NC State Open 9-Ball title and handEd Martin his 4th runner-up finish. Davis completed his run with a 9-4 win in the finals.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Randolph Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for March 7-8, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64+ entrants), hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Aranas comes back from semifinals to down Woodward and win Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open

James Aranas (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The finals of the 2019 Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open, held on the first weekend of June, was a rematch between the two finalists at the late January/early February 9-Ball division of the Derby City Classic in Indiana – the USA’s Skyler Woodward and Zoren “James” Aranas from the Philippines. At that earlier event, Woodward more or less swept the table (pun intended), winning not only the 9-Ball event (in which Aranas was runner-up) and the Bank Pool Ring Game, but he was the Classic’s Master of the Table winner, as well. Aranas came to the Beasley 9-Ball Open with a few impressive items on his 2019 resume, as well, including the runner-up finish in Indiana, a victory at the Pro Players Championship of the Super Billiards Expo in April, a victory at the Barry Behrmann Memorial and most recently, a 3rd place finish at the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial on Memorial Day weekend. That 3rd place finish necessitated the combined talents of Alex Kazakis in the hot seat match and Jayson Shaw in the semifinals to eliminate Aranas.
 
On the weekend of May 30-June 2, Aranas fell to Woodward in the hot seat match, but came back from the semifinals to defeat him twice and claim the Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open title. Though more were expected and no one could argue with the overall quality of the field, the $10,000-added event drew 66 entrants to Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
 
Aranas had much the rougher road on his way to the hot seat match against Woodward. Case in point: his opening round match against fellow countryman Dennis Orcollo, which went double hill before Aranas prevailed. He followed up with wins over David Tickle 9-4, and a somewhat surprising shutout over Dmitris Loukatos (who, like Aranas, had been knocked out of the Ginky Memorial by Jayson Shaw). In a winners’ side quarterfinal, Aranas defeated Brad Shearer 9-7 to draw (as if things weren’t tough enough) Francisco Bustamante in a winners’ side semifinal.
 
While pool does indeed operate with an “any given Sunday” kind of rule, meaning that at the highest levels of competition, almost anyone can be competitive and upset a generally stronger opponent, Woodward’s path to the hot seat match was, on paper at least, considerably less hazardous, and as the scores demonstrate, handled as might have been expected. He opened with a 9-1 victory over Michael Yingling, and followed with victories over Donald Williams 9-3, and Andrew Bruce 9-1, before running into arguably his toughest opponent to that point in a winners’ side quarterfinal – Omar Alshaheen. Again, the score told the story. Woodward prevailed 9-6 to draw Keith Bennett in the other winners’ side semifinal. 
 
As Aranas was busy defeating 784-Fargo-rated Bustamante 9-4, Woodward appeared to be a little less busy, handing the 566-Fargo-rated Keith Bennett a shutout (an uncharacteristic match for Bennett). Going into the hot seat match, Woodward had won 80% of the games he'd played (45-11). Aranas, on the other hand, won 45 of his 68 games for a 66% winning percentage. Their averages both went down at the end of the hot seat match. Woodward, sporting the lower Fargo Rate (788) downed the higher Fargo-rated Aranas (803) 9-4 to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, while there were quite a few recognizable names still standing as the bracket came down to its final eight, there were a few names missing, as well. Among them were Alex Kazakis, who lost to countryman Dmitris Loukatos to finish in the tie for 13th place. Home town (Raleigh, NC) favorite, 14-year-old Joey Tate, who is the reigning 14-and-under Junior National Champion got knocked out of the running by Dennis Orcollo and finished in the tie for 17th. Tony Chohan was missing at the end, as well, having been defeated on the winners’ side of the bracket by Mike Davis and falling in his second loss-side match to Orcollo.
 
Coming off the winners’ side semifinal, Keith Bennett picked up Mike Davis, who’d eliminated Brad Shearer 7-2 and Brandon Shuff 7-5 to reach him. Bustamante drew Omar Alshaheen, who’d finished Orcollo’s weekend 7-4 and eliminated Roberto Gomez 7-5.
 
“Busty” and Alshaheen fought a predictable double hill match before “Busty” prevailed to advance to the quarterfinals. Davis joined him after winning his fifth loss-side match, a 7-4 win over Bennett.
 
Bustamante made short work of Davis, eliminating him 7-3 in those quarterfinals. Aranas, though, very much ‘in stroke’ at this point, defeated Bustamante 7-4 in the semifinals and earned his re-match against Woodward in the hot seat.
 
Aranas dropped his overall winning percentage to 59% in the finals. He did so by defeating Woodward 13-10 to capture the 2019 Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open title.
 
Tour director Jon Brown thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap & Billiards, as well as title sponsor Beasley Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth, JB Cases, Aramith, and Outsville Accu-Rack. Selected matches of the event were live streamed throughout the weekend by Ray “Big Truck” Hansen and his PoolActionTV staff.

Bennett goes undefeated to capture 5th Annual NC State 9-Ball Championships

Keith Bennett

In the absence of defending champion Reymart Lim and 2015 champion Jeff Abernathy, it was left to former two-time champion Mike Davis (2016, 2017) and last year’s runner-up, Brandon Shuff to carry the flag (so to speak) into the 2019 North Carolina State 9-Ball Open (or Championships, if you prefer). Though Shuff would, for the second year in a row, do battle in the hot seat match, it was Keith Bennett, who finished in the four-way tie for 9th place last year, who claimed the hot seat. Shuff was subsequently denied the opportunity for a second shot at Bennett, when, in the semifinals, he was defeated by Justin Martin, who had lost to Bennett in the third round and won seven on the loss side to face him a second time in the finals. Bennett prevailed in those finals, however, to claim the 2019 NC State 9-Ball title. The $500-added event, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour, drew 41 entrants to Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh on this past Memorial Day weekend (May 25-26).
 
Bennett and Shuff’s only match, battling for the hot seat, followed Bennett’s 7-2 victory over Steve Page and Shuff’s defeat of Kelly Farrar 7-4 in the two winners’ side semifinals. In a double hill hot seat battle, Shuff scratched, shooting at the 7-ball in the deciding game and Bennett closed it out. Shuff, as noted, would not return.
 
On the loss side, where, for a while, Mike Davis, JT Ringgold, BJ Ussery and the 2017 Q City 9-Ball Tour champion Joshua Padron remained in the hunt for a win, Justin Martin continued his steady progress to a re-match versus Bennett in the finals. He chalked up loss-side wins #3 and #4 against Billy Fowler 7-3 and eliminated JT Ringgold, double hill to face Page. Farrar drew Mike Davis, who’d most recently defeated Ussery and Padron, both 7-5.
 
Martin downed Page 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced Farrar, who’d survived a double hill fight against Davis. Though Davis had reached the hill first, Farrar rallied to win it. Martin gave up just a single rack to Farrar in the quarterfinals and then spoiled Shuff’s bid for a second appearance in these NC State 9-Ball Open finals, by defeating him, double hill.
 
It was a hard fought battle for the 2019 title that fell a game short of going double hill. Bennett edged out in front at the end to claim the title 9-7.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Brown’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 (June 1-2) will be a $200-added event, hosted by a new venue on the tour; the Sunrise Saloon & Grill in Greer, SC.

Davis undefeated on Action Pool Tour’s ‘Back to the Beach’ 10-Ball event

(l to r): Mike Davis & Chris Bruner

While it conjures images of pool tables lined up along a sandy beach somewhere, with players in bathing suits, the Action Pool Tour’s 5th stop on the 2019 tour referenced the town’s name, not the beaches that are admittedly nearby. The tour stop, held on the weekend of May 18-19, drew 31 entrants to Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Mike Davis, making his first appearance on the 2019 tour, went undefeated to claim the title, but not before being challenged in the finals by Chris Bruner, who’d been sent to the loss side in the second round of play and won seven in a row for the right to face Davis.
 
As the event progressed from its opening rounds, Davis’ opponents kept getting closer and closer. Davis opened with an 8-1 victory over Anthony Vigliotti, an 8-3 win over Jimmy Bird, and an 8-5 win over Scott Haas to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Bernard Andico. Nilbert Lim, in the meantime, got by Ron Zampko 8-3, Keith Bennett 8-5 and survived a double hill match against Mark Lacson to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Kelly Farrar. Farrar, on her way to the matchup against Lim, was responsible for sending Chris Bruner to the loss side, and had also defeated the tour’s #3-ranked player, Steve Fleming.
 
Lim sent Farrar to the loss side and an immediate rematch against Bruner with an 8-3 win, as Davis sent Andico over 8-5. In the battle for the hot seat, Lim was able to chalk up more racks against him than any of his previous opponents, Davis prevailed to claim the hot seat 8-6.
 
On the loss side, Farrar ran into Bruner, four matches into his seven-match, loss-side streak, which had most recently resulted in the elimination of JR Avery 7-3 and Scott Haas 7-5. Andico picked up the tour’s #2-ranked competitor RJ Carmona, who, like Bruner had been defeated in the second round of play (by Scott Haas) and was in the midst of his own five-match, loss-side winning streak. Bruner and Carmona were about to meet in the quarterfinals.
 
Carmona got there with a 7-2 win over Andico and was joined by Bruner, who’d ended Farrar’s weekend 7-4. Bruner then ended Carmona’s loss-side streak 7-5 in that quarterfinal match.
 
Bruner completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 win over Lim in the semifinals. Davis completed his undefeated run with a 10-5 victory over Bruner in the finals.
 
A Second Chance drew eight entrants. It was won by Kelly Cox, who defeated Steve Fleming in the finals 7-5.
 
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Q Master Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Viking Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Kamui, Diamond Billiard Products, Cue Sports International (CSI), Chix Cabinets Direct, Grant Wylie (professional photographer), Brown’s Mechanical, LLC, and George Hammerbacher Advanced Pool Instructor. The next stop on the APT, scheduled for the weekend of June 15-16, will be the Brown’s Mechanical 9-Ball Open, hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.

West and Ussery split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Richard West

Next up – a $2K-added event in Spartanburg with $48K Shaw/Bergman matchup in the wings
 
Richard West and BJ Ussery are among of group of Southern-state pool veterans who’ve been competing for over a decade on a variety of Southern-based pool tours. Though they’ve been more or less absent over the past few years, they, and others like Keith Bennett and Phillip “Skibo” Britt have begun to re-emerge and compete on the clockwork-regular, Southern-state- based Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. On the weekend of February 2-3, at a $500-added event, hosted by Speak Eazy Billiards in Sanford, NC, they, along with Anthony Mabe, who won a stop on the tour in January, were the last five of 31 entrants standing; West in the hot seat, with “Skibo” facing Mabe, and Ussery preparing to battle Bennett in the first money round.
 
West would end up with the official event title, when he and Ussery, following the opening set of a true double elimination final, decided against a second set and chose to split the top two prizes. James McColl (aka Shaft) would finish in third place, “Skibo” in fourth and Mabe and Bennett finishing in the tie for fifth place.
 
Moving into the winners’ side semifinal of this one, it was McColl (Shaft) against Mabe and West against Ussery (in their first of two). Shaft downed Mabe 7-3 and in the hot seat match, faced West, who defeated Ussery 6-5 (Ussery racing to 11). West claimed the hot seat over Shaft 6-4.
 
Mabe and Ussery were automatically ‘in the money’ as they moved to the loss side. Mabe drew “Skibo” Britt, who’d defeated Tanya Parsley 9-2 and Brian Francis 9-3 to reach him. Ussery drew long-time adversary Keith Bennett, who’d eliminated Billie Spatafora 11-1 and Kelly Farrar 11-3.
 
“Skibo” and Mabe battled to double hill before “Skibo” closed it out 9-6 and advanced to the quarterfinals. The two Southern-state-tour veterans, Ussery and Bennett, in a match that could have featured 21 games in a straight-up race to 11, went 16, with Ussery advancing 11-5 to the quarterfinals.
 
Then it was Ussery and “Skibo”s turn; “Skibo” starting with ‘two on the wire’ in a race to 11. Ussery eliminated him 11-3 and turned to face Shaft (McColl) in the semifinals. Ussery gave up just a single rack to Shaft and advanced to his rematch against West in the finals.
 
Ussery commanded the opening set of the true double elimination final 11-1. At that point, he and West, tied 1-1 in matches, opted out of a second set and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Speak Eazy 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 will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC, this weekend (February 9-10). The Parkers have limited the field to 128 (“no exceptions”), which, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t happen. Normally, there’d be no need to enforce a 128-player field.
 
For further information about the Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour’s $2K-added event, call Tour Directors Herman and Angela Parker at 336-686-5360.

Heeter wins 11 on the loss side and double dips White on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Josh Heeter

Tournaments won by players who’ve lost a single match and have returned from the loss side of a double elimination bracket to defeat the undefeated occupant of the hot seat are fairly common; most common when the loser of the hot seat match plays one match on the loss side (in the semifinals) and earns a rematch against the undefeated occupant of the hot seat. Less common is the player who loses his first match early and has to win a significant number of matches, say 10 or more, before even getting the chance to meet the hot seat occupant. Even less common is the player who loses his opening match, wins 10 or more loss-side matches, and then defeats the hot seat occupant to capture his first-ever event title.
 
Meet Josh Heeter. According to our records, he has cashed in only two events on the Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour, finishing third in 2016, and runner-up to Scott Roberts in 2017. On the weekend of January 12-13, he signed on to a $1,000-added Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event, which drew 60 entrants to Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC. Heeter was awarded an opening round bye and lost his first match to Mark Duncan. He proceeded to embark on an 11-match, loss-side trip that propelled him into a final match against the tour’s reigning Bar Box Champion, Brian White, and defeated him twice (the second time, in a double hill fight), to earn his first-ever regional tour title anywhere by winning a total of 13 straight matches. We’ll catch up with him on the loss side in a minute.
 
In the meantime, while Heeter was busy on the loss side, chalking up his 11, White advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against June Bug. Mike Bumgarner and Blade Best squared off in the other one. Each had won, at this point, four matches. White downed Bug 11-1 and in the hot seat match faced Bumgarner, who’d defeated Best 7-2 (five matches each). White won his sixth by defeating Bumgarner 11-1 and claiming the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Best was the competitor who drew Heeter, eight matches into his loss-side run. He’d most recently eliminated veteran competitor Keith Bennett 8-6 (Bennett racing to 11) and Chris Tuten 8-4. Bug picked up Matt Harrell, who’d most recently shut out Jacob Brooks and then downed the tour’s most prolific event champion, JT Ringgold 6-6 (Ringgold racing to 11).
 
Heeter chalked up win #9, 8-2 over Best, as Harrell got by Bug 6-5. In the ensuing quarterfinals, Heeter sent Harrell home 8-2, as well. Heeter earned his spot in the finals and loss-side win #11 with an 8-5 win over Bumgarner.
 
With White racing to 11, Heeter (racing to 8) took the first set of the true double elimination final 8-3. Heeter jumped out to an early, commanding lead in the second set and reached the hill first at 7-2. White put up a furious charge and won eight straight games to knot the match at 7-10. Heeter, though, stayed calm (apparently) and chalked up the deciding game to claim his first regional tour title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Dayne Miller and his Steakhorse staff for their hospitality, 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 (Jan. 19-20), will be a $250-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

Bennett, Ussery and Worley split top 3 prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Keith Bennett

The quarterfinals of the Dec. 1-2 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour proved to be of particular significance, because it happened to be the last match of the event. There were, at the time, as there always are in the quarterfinals of any double elimination bracket, four competitors left; the two competing in those quarterfinals and the two who either had or were about to compete for the hot seat. Because, as it turned out, the last three players opted out of further competition, the two who squared off in the quarterfinals were battling for the right to share in a split of the event’s top three cash prizes.
 
Split evenly (and there’s no way to know if it was split evenly; the competitors’ negotiations are generally private), each of the event’s final three competitors was in line to collect $491.66. The prize for 4th place was $125. The difference between 3rd and 4th place was to have been $150 ($275 for 3rd, $125 for 4th), but with the final three splitting the top three prizes, the cash difference at stake in the quarterfinals more than doubled, from the original $150 to $366 (and change).
 
The two competitors who squared off in that quarterfinal match were BJ Ussery and Cameron Lawhorne. Sitting in the hot seat was Keith Bennett, while Ms. Jordyn Worley was waiting to compete in the semifinals against whoever won the quarterfinal match. It was Ussery who joined Bennett and Worley in the split disposition of the event’s top three prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Bennett claimed the official event title. The $500-added event drew 34 entrants to Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
 
The four had met in the winners’ side semifinals; Bennett vs. Ussery and Worley vs. Lawhorne. Bennett defeated Ussery 11-6, while Worley was sending Lawhorne to the loss side 4-4 (Lawhorne racing to 6). Bennett and Worley locked up in a double hill fight for possession of the hot seat, with Bennett prevailing (11-3; Worley racing to 4) in what was the last match for both of them.
 
On the loss side, Ussery picked up Anthony Mabe, who’d defeated Brent Kyles 7-5 and Solomon Pope 7-3 to reach him. Lawhorne drew Robert Ash, who’d eliminated Billy Ethridge and Zac Leonard, both 5-3.
 
Ussery earned his slot in the last-match-of-the-night quarterfinals with an 11-4 victory over Mabe. Lawhorne earned the right to join him with a 6-0 shutout over Ash. Lawhorne then battled to within a game of double hill before Ussery edged out in front to win those quarterfinals 11-4. Lawhorne claimed his $125, as Ussery joined the negotiations with Bennett and Worley to split $1475.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Speakeazy 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 (Dec. 8-9), will be hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

Bennett steps back into the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball winners’ circle

Keith Bennett

On Saturday, October 6, Keith Bennett chalked up his second victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, and for the second time, it came without benefit of a final match. Bennett advanced undefeated to the hot seat and was scheduled to face Don Williams, who’d won eight in a row on the loss side (including a bye) to meet him. They opted out of final match, leaving Bennett, undefeated in the hot seat, as the official winner. The event drew 23 entrants to Shotmakers in Garner, NC.
 
With Williams already at work on the loss side, Bennett advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Anthony Mabe, as Barry Mashburn faced Kristy Norris in the other one. Bennett downed Mashburn 11-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Mashburn, who’d defeated Norris in a double hill fight. Bennett claimed the hot seat 11-6 over Mashburn and waited for Williams to complete his loss-side run.
 
Williams, after an opening round loss to Billie Spatafora, was awarded a loss-side bye, and added three victories before downing Shaun Apple 8-4 and JT Ringgold 8-1, to draw Norris. Mabe picked up Kevin Ping, who’d eliminated Don Lilly 7-4 and James Blackburn, double hill (7-8). Mabe and Norris picked up their second straight loss and were eliminated; Mabe by Ping 7-5 and Norris 8-5 by Williams.
 
In the first money match, Williams downed Ping 8-5 in the quarterfinals. He completed his loss side run with an 8-6 victory over Mashburn. Williams and Bennett made the decision to forego a final match, allowing Bennett to capture his second straight Q City 9-Ball title in a little over a month.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Shotmakers, 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 (Oct. 13-14), will be hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.
 

Bingham double dips Vance to win his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Ricky Bingham

Fourteen years ago, Ricky Bingham finished in the tie for 33rd place at the 29th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships, sharing the spot with (among others) Charlie Bryant, Mike Davis, Keith Bennett and Ryan McCreesh. A year later, he showed up on one payout list (Stop #4 on the Viking Tour; 13th) and then, for all intents and pool purposes, he dropped out of sight for a dozen years. Last year he joined a growing list of veteran players (like Davis, like Bennett, like BJ Ussery) who’ve been stepping back up to the tables and signing on to the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. He finished 5th at a 2017 Q City 9-Ball Tour stop at Janet Atwell’s place, Borderline Billiards, in Bristol, TN. In July of this year, back again at Borderline Billiards, he chalked up another 5th place finish on the tour. On the weekend of September 8-9, at (you guessed it) Borderline Billiards, Bingham joined the ranks of Q City 9-Ball winners, coming from the loss side and double dipping Reid Vance to capture the event title. The event drew 41 entrants to Borderline Billiards.
 
Bingham and Vance played three matches in this event. The first was a winners’ side semifinal, while Steve Dye and Zac Leonard faced off in the other one. Vance sent Bingham to the loss side 5-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Dye, who’d sent Leonard over in a double hill match. Vance claimed the hot seat 5-1 over Dye and waited for the veteran to get back from a three-match, loss-side run.
 
Bingham’s loss-side trip back began against Dustin Coe, who’d defeated Alex Boles 6-1 and Mike Staubes, double hill (7-8; Staubes to 9) to reach him. Leonard drew Ikey Maynard, who’d eliminated room owner and pool veteran Janet Atwell and (heeeere’s) Johnny Carson, both 7-2.
 
Leonard downed Maynard 7-3, while Bingham was busy eliminating Coe 5-3. Leonard and Bingham battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, before Bingham advanced to down Dye, double hill as well, in the semifinals.
 
In straight-up races to 5, Bingham took the double elimination opening set over Vance 5-3. He got even stingier in the second set, allowing Vance only a single rack to claim the event title; his first on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, 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 (Sept. 15-16), will be hosted by 21 Poolroom in Charleston, WV.  

Bennett goes undefeated to take Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Keith Bennett

Two ‘old hands’ battled for the hot seat. Had it not been for a decision to split the top two prizes, one of those ‘old hands’ would have battled a (borderline) junior player in the finals. It was Keith Bennett and BJ Ussery who squared off in the winners’ side final of the Sept. 1-2 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. It was Bennett and 19-year-old Justin Martin, recently chosen as a member of the USA’s Atlantic Cup Challenge team, who would have met in the finals. Martin will be the oldest member of the team and the only one not to have claimed a BEF Junior Nationals title. When the decision to split the top two prizes was made, the undefeated Bennett was declared the official winner of the $500-added event that drew 46 entrants to Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
 
All three of them competed in the winners’ side semifinal; Bennett against Martin, and Ussery versus Josh Shultz. Both matches went double hill before advancing Bennett and Ussery to the hot seat match; Bennett 11-9 over Martin, racing to 10, and Ussery 11-5 over Shultz, racing to 6. Bennett won what proved to be his final match 11-7 over Ussery to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Martin picked up Scott Roberts, who’d eliminated Chad Weachter 8-1 and Mike Mullins 8-3 to reach him. Shultz drew another ‘old hand,’ Larry Faulk, who’d advanced with a forfeit by Rashad Brooks and downed Zac Leonard 7-2.
 
Martin defeated Roberts 10-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Shultz, who’d defeated Faulk 6-1. Martin then dominated that quarterfinal match, defeating Shultz 10-2. Ussery put up more of a fight in the semifinals, but Martin defeated him, as well, 10-7, to earn himself a re-match against Bennett, which, of course, never happened.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Speakeazy Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, 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 (Sept. 8-9) will be Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.