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Meglino and Kennedy split top prizes on Stroker’s Masters Classic

Tommy Kennedy, Anthony Meglino and Raymond Linares

It was all of that.

Labeled as a “Masters Classic,” the August 20-21 stop on the Florida Pool Tour featured (among others) Anthony Meglino, Tommy Kennedy, Ray Linares, Mike Delawder and 28 other pool Masters. It concluded with Meglino, Kennedy and Linares finishing 1, 2 & 3, although when the hour hand on the clock was in the vicinity of 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, Meglino and Kennedy opted out of a final and split the top two prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, Meglino claimed the $1,500-added event title, which had drawn its (capped-at) 32 entrants to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL.

In effect, the hot seat match between Meglino and Kennedy became the championship match. As it turned out, Meglino’s ‘toughest’ opponent (based on racks against him) was Kim Dyer, who faced him in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Meglino had opened with a 7-2 win over Dave Stern and followed that up with a victory over Tim Barron 7-4, before meeting up with Dyer, who scored five racks against him. Meglino advanced to draw the 14-year-old ‘phenom’ Konnor McFadyen in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kennedy, in the meantime, downed Stroker’s owner, Jose Del Rio 7-4 and Linares 7-2 to draw Jimmy Garza in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Meglino downed McFadyen 7-3 and was joined in what turned out to be that championship hot seat match by Kennedy, who’d sent Garza to the loss side 7-5. Meglino claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Kennedy.

The ‘kid’ McFadyen drew Linares, who’d followed his loss to Kennedy with wins over Mike Delawder 7-3 and Jamison Daniels 7-2. Garza picked up Lee Heuwagen, who’d lost to McFadyen 7-5 in the other winners’ side quarterfinal and then eliminated Del Rio and Michael Xiarhos, both 7-5.

Saturday was slipping into Sunday as Linares finished McFayden’s day+ with a shutout. Garza joined him in the quarterfinals after ending Heuwagen’s day+ 7-4. Linares and Garza locked up in a double-hill semifinal fight that did eventually give Kennedy the chance for a rematch against Meglino, waiting for him in the hot seat.

Didn’t happen. Dawn was coming at the time and the two Florida vets were done, literally and figuratively. They split the top cash and headed home.

Tour representatives thanked Del Rio and his Stroker’s staff as well as sponsors Aramith Balls, Outsville, Simonis Cloth, Salotto Pro, DigitalPool, FargoRate, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts Supply, Straight Shooter Gear, propatchlab.com and XLPress Co. The next stop on the Florida Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 5-6, will be the $A1,500-added Capone’s Winter Classic Championship, hosted by Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

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Burgos goes undefeated to take Sunshine State Pro Am Tour stop

(l to r): Anthony Meglino, Jose Baez & Julio Burgos

On the weekend of July 13-14, Julio Burgos added a sixth cash payout to his page in the AZBilliards database, dating back to January, 2018. It was his third entry as a tournament winner, having won a stop on the AllOutPool Tour in June of last year, and a stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour in January of this year. His third tournament win, an undefeated run through a field of 64 entrants at the $1,300-added, 8-ball Bar Box Open on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, was hosted by Racks Billiards and Sports Bar in Sanford, FL.
 
Burgos launched his run to a third tournament win against Mike Delawder, downing him 6-4. He then defeated George Saunders 6-2, Bobby Garza 6-1 and Anthony Meglino 6-3 to draw Nathan Rose in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jose Guerra Baez, in the meantime, searching for his first tour win took a path to the hot seat that went through Julio Delpozo 6-2, Ameet Kukadia 6-4, and two straight double hill wins, over Milton Strack and David Singleton, to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Ricardo Joel Rodriguez.
 
Burgos and Baez advanced to the hot seat match on the heels of two, double hill matches that sent Rose and Rodriguez to the loss side. It was Burgos’ double hill match of the tournament. It was Baez’ third straight double hill win. Burgos claimed the hot seat with a 6-2 win over Baez and waited on his return.
 
Over on the loss side, Rose picked up Chris Gentile, who’d defeated Chad Rhodes and Bobby Garza, both 4-2, to reach him. Rodriguez drew Meglino, who, following his defeat at the hands of Burgos, had shut out Serafin Serrano and eliminated Kim Dyer, double hill (4-3).
 
Rose and Gentile locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Gentile home and Rose to the quarterfinals. Meglino, in the meantime, gave up only a single rack to Rodriguez and joined Rose in the quarterfinals. Meglino took the quarterfinal match 4-2 over Rose, and then had his four-match, loss-side winning streak snapped by Baez 4-1 in the semifinals.
 
With Burgos looking to chalk up his third win of six cash payouts and Baez already at his best finish, to date, and looking for his first major tour win, the finals had a lot at stake for both of them. Burgos completed his undefeated run, downing Baez 8-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Janene Phillips thanked Racks’ owners Anthony Digiacomo and Pedro Botta, as well as Predator Cues, Kamui, Cyclop Balls, USA Pool League, Diamond Products, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, AZ Billiards and Cue Sports Studios (for the event’s live stream). The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 7-8, will be the 2nd Annual Battle of the Billiards Scotch Doubles Tournament, to be hosted by Strokers in Palm Harbor, FL.

Rose and Sheerman split top prizes at Stop #8 on Sunshine State Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Jason Sheerman & Nathan Rose

In spite of working to win 10 loss-side matches for the right to face hot seat occupant Nathan Rose at Stop # 8 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, Jason Sheerman (and Rose) opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes, leaving Rose, as the event’s official winner.  The $1,000-added event, held on Saturday, July 14, drew 64 entrants to Strokers Sports Bar & Grill in Palm Harbor, FL.
 
Nathan Rose navigated his way through the full field, downing Jack Remsen 7-3, and everybody else – Jason Richko, Angel Martinez, and Matt Menes – 7-2, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Bobby Garza (ranked #2 on the tour). Chris Gentile, in the meantime, got by Chris Piper-Wang, Will Smith, Mike Delawder (double hill), and the event’s top female finisher, Stephanie Mitchell, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal to face Sam Kantar.
 
Rose got by Garza 7-2, and in the hot seat match, faced Chris Gentile, who’d sent Kantar to the loss side 7-3. Rose played what proved to be his last match and claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Gentile.
 
On the loss side, it was Kantar who picked up Sheerman, seven matches in to his loss-side streak; a streak that began when he faced and shut out his wife, Julia. Sheerman had most recently eliminated Kim Dyer 7-4 and Matt Menes 7-5. Garza drew Dale Stanley, who’d been sent to the loss side, double hill, by Kantar in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Stanley defeated Alec Saputo 7-3 and shut out Stephanie Mitchell to reach Garza. Sheerman chalked up loss-side win #8, defeating Kantar 7-3, as the tour’s #3 player (Stanley) downed #2 (Garza) 7-3.
 
Sheerman, who, to date, has not been ranked on the 2018 tour, downed Stanley 7-4 in the quarterfinals, and then gave up only a single rack in defeating Gentile in the semifinals. Sheerman and Rose opted out of the final match, allowing Rose, as the official winner, to chalk up 150 tour ranking points and move up from 9th place to a 4th place tie with Tommy Kennedy. Sheerman jumped from tour obscurity to join 16 other players with 100 points and settle into the 56th through 71st slot on the tour rankings.
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Jose Del Rio and his staff at Stroker’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Play The Game Clothing Co., Jacksonville Roofing, USA Kamui Tips, AZBilliards and Alvin Nelson with Inside Pool TV. Stop #9 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for August 4-5, will be a double event, featuring a $175-added Amateur event and a $1,000-added Pro event. Both will be hosted by Park Avenue Billiards in Orange Park, FL.