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Jenny Lee Wins at On Cue

Jenny Lee

Jenny “The Asian Assassin” Lee marks her first major win this year by defeating Stacy Novack in the finals of the ‘Tiger So Cal Ladies Tour’. After two days of grueling play by some of California’s most talented female pool players, it was these two veterans to the Tiger SCLT who remained to battle it out in the race-to-9 final match.   

Due to WPBA player (and Tournament Director) Melissa Herndon‘s early promotional efforts plus several mini-qualifiers run by Raquel McCluskey prior to the event; and despite a rather stormy weekend looming in the skies of Southern California, On Cue Billiards in La Mesa remained in the crosshairs of 29 female gunslingers and a host of railbirds for this double elimination, race-to-7 event.   

Many expected to see more from some of our usual suspects, but the early upsets in this year’s first Tiger stop included Vicki Wade, Melinda Huang, Hiroko Makiyama, Brook Thomason, Shauna Madrigal, Barbara Lee, Shar Vanderstyne, Nellie Del Rosario and Fran Smith.   

Probably the longest journey made to play the event was that of Emilyn Callado‘s, hailing from San Francisco. Emilyn remained in the top 8 finishers, even after losing early to Stacy Novack.  She powered through three more matches against Shannon Powell, Brandy Pamintuan and Nellie Del Rosario on Saturday before falling to Melissa Morris in her one and only match on Day 2 of the event.  Emilyn’s close 7-5 loss against Melissa landed her tied for 7th/8th in the tournament.   

Despite the handful of talented veterans competing, two tough greenhorns, Dara Nakagawa and Lila Woodland found themselves in the top eight players on Day 2.  

Lila, from San Diego, defeated Dara in her first match, and then sent former WPBA player Melissa Morris to the loser’s side…showing her determination to do well in the event.  But she hit a wall with her first loss against Trinh Lu from Rosemead, CA.  

On Sunday, Lila finally met her fate, finishing in 5th place after a rematch against Melissa, where she just couldn’t gain the momentum she had against the “Cue-Maker’s Daughter” in their previous match on Day 1. Meanwhile, Fountain Valley’s Dara Nakagawa fought an uphill battle after losing her first match to Lila, trudging her way to 8th place by defeating Raquel McCluskey, Hiroko Makiyama and Wendy Chou.  Dara’s run to the finish was cut short by the very talented Tina Pawloski, who’s fast-paced play and pool knowledge was on display throughout their match.   

The reigning 2011 State Champion and eventual 2nd place finisher of this event, Stacy Novack earned her spot in the hot seat by defeating Verni Flauta, Emilyn Callado, Tina Pawloski, Jenny Lee and Trinh Lu. Jenny Lee won her first three matches of Day 1, beating Melinda Huang, Brook Thomason, Wendy Chou before suffering her first loss to Stacy. Jenny then came back on Day 2 to defeat Tina Pawloski, Melissa Morris and Trinh Lu, which earned her a rematch with Stacy and guaranteeing her a 2nd place award for this event.   But Jenny Lee had other plans… 

The final match between Jenny and Stacy was quite a contrast of styles. Jenny Lee had already played several matches on Sunday and was well  in-stroke for the final match.  She seemed to be playing faster and more aggressively than normal. Jenny has been known to play at a slower pace in the past, but today it seemed like she was moving in ‘fast forward’, giving few chances to Stacy and leaving her tough on most safeties; even playing some very good kick-shots and getting good rolls. 

Stacy’s demeanor remained consistent as she took her time to execute, but she seemed to play a bit tighter than normal and sometimes even a little hesitant. Capitalizing on this, Jenny jumped ahead early in the first half of the match to an impressive 6-1 game lead. A couple of sloppy breaks by Jenny, who sent the cue-ball flying off the table, could have been a good turning point for Stacy.  She had ball in hand and wide open racks, but unfortunately she failed to close them out. Those two missed chances, coupled with the already distant lead, proved to be an impossible climb back for Stacy, and the match finally ended in a 9-2 defeat by Jenny Lee.   

In a conversation with the 20-year pool veteran after the event, Stacy stated, “I haven’t sought out extra help or knowledge with my game for quite sometime, but now feel that I am in a place that is receptive to elevating my game to the next level.”   By day’s end, Jenny Lee was visibly exhausted and even stated at a break between games that she was enduring some physical pain and discomfort brought on by leg cramps, which started just before the match. Nonetheless she kept her mind on the game and showed no signs of weakness. Jenny’s laser-like focus cut through her opponents in her typical ‘Assassin’ style.   

Yet again, Melissa Herndon is to be congratulated for another seamless Tiger SCLT event, sponsored by Tiger Billiard Products, PoolDawg and Delta-13 and streamed live from On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, CA by Daniel Busch of POV Pool who stepped in for veteran streamer, Andy Chen. Congratulations also go Nellie Del Rosario, who won the second chance event undefeated in a field of 14 players…and to Shar Vanderstyne, the winner of the Tiger Classic Series, TC-1 Cue raffle. 

This marks the first Tiger SCLT event of the year, which served as an excellent warm-up for the following Tiger sponsored tour stops, also to be streamed live:   

April 14th & 15th  $1,000 Added ($1,500 added with 32 players) – Tiger So Cal Ladies Tour event at Hard Times Billiards, Bellflower CA   
April 21st & 22nd  Tiger West Coast Women’s Tour $1,000 Added / The 2012 Women’s 9-Ball California State Championship at California Billiard Club, Mountain View, CA

Fifth Hunter Classics Stop, Stops at Pool Sharks in Las Vegas

Ying-Ya Lin, Joe Cannella and Susan Mello

45 women came to compete at Pool Sharks in Las Vegas, NV September 8-9,2001.  20 of these women were in contention for the WPBA Qualifier, and Ying-Ya came out on top winning the event and the qualifier.  Women came from Texas, Arizona, California, Missouri, Minnesota, Taiwan, Florida, Washington, Colorado and of course Nevada.
 
Wes Hunter donated another beautiful Hunter Classics Custom Cue worth a whopping $2,400 this time!  This spectacular cue has a tiger maple forearm with 6 ebony points, a tiger maple butt with ebony band, black and light blue veneers and stitch rings.  Ebony and ivory inlays with a black with white linen wrap complemented the cue.  Congratulations to Clint Smith from Westminster, CO who won the cue that everyone wanted to win.
 
The Hunter Classics Tour would like to thank Joe Cannella and John Kutcha who were great hosts for this event, showing the ladies a good time in their spacious pool room.  The last three matches were held in the "pit" of the pool room, which was one table, on sunken ground, surrounded by four rails of fans.  Thank you also to Thumbs for refereeing and Al Lawrence for running the board.  Summer and Hector worked behind the bar for us ladies.  And we can't forget the hard work of Susan Conlee, our local representative, who worked diligently getting the stop ready.  Thanks to Debra Aarens-Cerchi, a local Las Vegas artist and great player, who donated a pool/Shakespeare poster which was won by Joe LeBeau (you can purchase the same painting in the new Meuller catalog that will be coming out soon).
 
After the smoke cleared on Saturday, 12 women came back for the fight on Sunday.  On the winners side, Susan Mello (from Arizona) was playing Mary Olson (from Seattle) and Katie Moses (from Las Vegas) was playing Ying-Ya Lin (from Taiwan).  Eventually, it would be Mary and Ying-Ya playing for the hot seat.  On the one-loss side, Brenda Plantz was playing Melissa Morris (who had just come down on Saturday after playing in the Albuquerque WPBA pro event) and Kristin Haney was playing Gail Lave.  The other four ladies playing on the one-loss side were Kim Shaw versus Angel Paglia and Jenny Lee versus Jean Vaillancourt.  Coming in 7/8 was Brenda Plantz and Jenny Lee, coming in 5th/6th was Gail Lave and Kim Shaw.  The 4th and 3rd places were earned respectively by Katie Moses and Mary Olson.
 
Gail Lave and Brenda Plantz went hill-hill in a match to determine not only who continued in the tournament, but also who the new Tour point leader would be.  Gail Lave won the match and is now in first place by 1 point.  Brenda is in second place with Leslie Rogers close behind in third.
 
Ying-Ya defeated Jane Fujinaga 7-5, Summer Gage 7-3, Angel Paglia 7-4, Gail Lave 7-1, Katie Moses 7-5 and then Mary Olson 7-5 for the hot seat.  Ying-Ya waited for Susan Mello to come through the one-loss side.
 
Susan Mello's road to the finals was defeating J'Lene Barnes 7-2, Norma Deitz 7-6, Debra Aarens-Cerchri 7-6 and Kim Shaw 7-4 before she was defeated by Mary Olson 5-7.  Then Susan defeated Gail Lave 7-6, Katie Moses 7-5 and Mary Olson 9-2 before playing Ying-Ya in the finals.  This match would be one race to 11 with Ying-Ya winning 11-2, collecting $750 and the WPBA Qualifier and Susan Mello placing second and collecting $575.
 
The always exciting second chance tournament, this time with 19 ladies, was being held at the same time on Sunday with Debra Aarens-Cerchi from Vegas coming in 1st, Leslie Rogers from Texas coming in 2nd and Helene Caukin from Florida coming in 3rd.
 
Thanks to Julie Stephenson, Lucille Donahue and Melinda Bailey who helped run this stop and thanks again to Wes Hunter for his continued support of this tour!
 
Come visit us at our next stop at G-Cue Billiards in Round Rock, TX (outside of Austin) October 13-14 and visit us on the web for all information: www.hunterclassics.com.  for more pictures from this tournament, please click here.