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Bryant comes from the loss side to defend WPBA Blue Emu title at Borderline Billiards in TN

Crowning achievements for (l to r) Kyoko Sone & Brittany Bryant with Janet Atwell

It began on Thursday, May 30 with a preliminary tournament made up of 30 lower-ranked players from the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) and ended on Sunday night, June 2 with the crowning of defending champion Brittany Bryant, who had to come from the loss side (five matches) to meet Kyoko Sone in the finals of the WPBA’s Signature Tour Stop, the Blue-Emu Southern Open. The $10,000-added event drew a total of 62 entrants, including Janet Atwell to her venue, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

The event was not exactly a proverbial ‘walk in the park’ for the WPBA’s #4-ranked player. Bryant won the event, having won less than 60% of the games she played in it (70-49; 58.8%). The seven opponents she faced in races-to-8 chalked up an average of five racks against her. She got by Kelly Cavanaugh, Jessica Barnes and Mary Rakin by an aggregate score of 24-7, but against her other four race-to-8 opponents (LoreeJon Hasson, Allison Fisher, Melissa Little & Jennifer Baretta) she chalked up an aggregate of 32-26, or 55%. Not surprising necessarily, given the upgrade in the competition over those four matches. And then, of course, there was the third-round, 4-8 loss to Gail Eaton, which really did a job on the ‘numbers.’ Without that loss, Bryant would have finished with an overall game-winning average of just over 60% (62.8), rather than less.

“I go to every event to win it,” said Bryant, “but I didn’t go with any expectations this year. “There were actually a few more players who were higher up (in rankings) than there were last year when I won it.”

The ‘First Stage’ double elimination bracket yielded 16 players who advanced to the Final Stage; eight from the winners’ side and eight from the loss side of that bracket. Among those who emerged from that bracket was runner-up Kyoko Sone, who lost her opening round match, double hill to Mary Rakin. Rakin advanced to defeat Kelly Isaac 7-5 and become one of the eight winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage. Sone moved to the loss side, where she defeated Toni Esteves and Janet Ritcey, both 7-2, to become one of the eight loss-side competitors to advance to the final stage.

The other winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage were Jennifer Berzinski, Jessica Human, Hiroko Makiyama, Ashley Burrows, Stephanie Mitchell, Kia Sidbury and Billie Billings. The other loss-side competitors to advance were Autumn Duncan, Kelly Isaac, Susan Wilbur, Julie Cooper, Angela Janic, Stephanie Goens, and Catherine Tschumper.

Moving into the Final Stage, beginning on Friday, May 31, the 16 arrivals from the preliminary bracket faced 16 players more or less in the middle of the WPBA rankings (approximately #17-#32). The winners in this opening round of Final Stage play advanced to meet the WPBA’s top 16 players, who had been awarded opening round byes.

Of the WPBA’s top 16 players who waited until Friday evening to begin competing, only three failed to advance on the winners’ side past their opening match; Jessica Barnes (WPBA-ranked #16) was defeated 8-2 by Kyoko Sone, Gerda Gregerson (#8) lost to Mary Rakin 8-6 and Emily Duddy (#10) joined them on the loss side following an 8-3 defeat at the hands of Naomi Williams. Among the more notable matches in this round of play, and the only one to go double hill was the battle between Allison Fisher and Russian teenager Kristina Tkach, who, a week earlier, had been the only female to compete in the Open/Pro event of the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial in New York City (she finished in the tie for 5th place). She was defeated by Fisher here and went on to win two loss-side matches before being eliminated by Line Kjorsvik.

A final round on Friday night brought the field down to the winners’ side quarterfinals. Kyoko Sone had sent Line Kjorsvik to the loss side and on Saturday night, faced Mary Rakin, who, after her victory over Gregerson, had sent hostess and WPBA-ranked #9 Janet Atwell over. Brittany Bryant, who’d defeated Loree Jon Hasson was to meet up with Gail Eaton, who’d gotten by Melissa Little. Fisher followed up her win over Tkach with a victory over Jia Li and on Saturday night, faced Naomi Williams, who had just survived a double hill battle against Helena Thornfeldt.  The last of the winners’ side quarterfinals pitted Jennifer Baretta against Monica Webb.

These matches elicited the winners’ side semifinals, which began immediately afterwards. Sone, who’d downed Rakin 8-5 met Eaton, who’d sent Bryant to the loss side 8-4, as Fisher, who’d defeated Williams 8-3 met Baretta, who’d gotten by Webb 8-5.

“I have to give Gail so much credit,” said Bryant of her only loss in the tournament. “I have never seen her play that well. I was down 7-1, took a break, composed myself and got it to 7-4.”

“I wasn’t disappointed,” she added. “I didn’t play poorly and Gail took control when she needed to.”

Sone advanced to the hot seat match 8-3 over Eaton. Fisher and Baretta, almost predictably, fought to double hill before Baretta prevailed to join Sone in the hot seat match. Sone downed Baretta 8-4 to claim the hot seat and waited on what turned out to be Bryant’s fateful return.

Meanwhile, back at the loss-side ranch, Bryant and Melissa Little were laying in wait for Fisher and Eaton, respectively. Bryant had defeated Jessica Barnes 8-2 and Mary Rakin 8-3 to draw Fisher. Little had won four loss-side matches, including a double hill win over Naomi Williams and an 8-4 victory over Kjorsvik to draw Eaton. Little made it five in a row with an 8-5 win over Eaton and advanced to the quarterfinals. Bryant joined her after surviving a double hill fight against Fisher.

“I expected to go back and forth with Allison,” she said. “It was actually the first time I had ever beaten her. I ended up breaking and running at double hill to win it.”

Bryant followed her double hill win over Fisher with a double hill win over Little in the quarterfinals and for the second time, she finished with a break and run. In the semifinals, Jennifer Baretta came within a game of giving Bryant a third straight, double hill challenge, but Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 8-6.

“I was up 6-2 in that match and she came back (to almost tie it),” Bryant said. “And then, there was a big game swinger, when she could have tied it at 6-6, but I won to go up 7-5. She won a game and I won the next game to win the match.”

The finals between defending champion Bryant and Sone came within a game of going double hill, as well, but for the second time in a row, Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 10-8 and claim the 2019 Blu-Emu Southern Open.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Bryant of the final match. “She broke and ran the opening game and we had a few safety battles. I was up 6-2 and she started to make a comeback.”

As with the semifinal match against Baretta, Sone had the opportunity to tie things up at 6-6.

“She missed a key 8-ball to tie it up (at 6-6),” she said, “so it was 7-5 and I won the next three.”

WPBA representatives thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for hosting the event, as well as sponsors Simonis Cloth, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products and Outsville.com. The next WPBA event, scheduled for August 8-11, will be a $10,000-added Signature Event, to be held in Fairfield, IL. Further details will be available soon. Bryant said that she plans to be in attendance.

Corr goes undefeated to win NAPT Coupe de Quebec in Canada

Karen Corr (Photo courtesy of NAPT)

In the two years between January, 2017 and the soon-to-be January of 2019, Irishwoman Karen Corr has chalked up nine major titles (so far). She’s split her competition between wins in WPBA events and with the North American Pool Tour (NAPT), while also cashing in two successive Turning Stone events (XXVII & XXVIII). Last year, she won the WPBA’s Rivers US Open, three events on the NAPT and a stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT). This year, she’s added three wins on the JPNEWT and a victory at the Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s Championship to her growing and continuing to be impressive resume.
 
On the long weekend of Nov. 1-4, she added another NAPT win to the list. Corr went undefeated through a field of 42 entrants, on-hand for the $5,000-added NAPT Women’s Division 1 Pro event, held at Dooly’s in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 25 miles southeast of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.
 
The event was preceded by a pro-am charity event in which Division 1 players were matched up with a local amateur player for a modified single elimination, blind draw Scotch Doubles tournament. A $20 donation by the amateur players will be used by the venue, Dooly’s, to fund a charity of their choosing.
 
Following an opening round bye and victories over Krista Walsh, Maria Juana and Laura Semko, Corr moved into the first of what would be two against Canada’s Brittany Bryant in a winners’ side semifinal. Eleanor Callado, in the meantime, having defeated Anick Cadorette, Nathalie Chabot, Denise Belanger, and Veronique Menard, squared off against her own sister, Emily Callado, in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Eleanor downed sister Emily 7-5, as Corr was busy defeating Bryant 7-4; the first opponent to chalk up that many against Corr. Corr gave up only a single rack to Callado and sat in the hot seat awaiting what turned out to be the return of Bryant.
 
On the loss side, Bryant picked up Naomi Williams, who’d been defeated by Maria Juana in the opening round of play and was in the midst of a six-match, loss side winning streak that was about to come to an end. Williams had most recently eliminated Teruko Cucculelli 7-4 and Menard 7-1. Emily Callado ran into Jia Li, who’d lost a double hill fight to Bryant in a winners’ side quarterfinal and on the loss side, shut out Marilou Therrien and eliminated Denise Belanger 7-4.
 
Bryant ended Williams’ loss-side run, but not before Williams forced a deciding 13th game in the race to 7. Li joined Bryant in the quarterfinals following a 7-3 win over Emilyn Callado.
 
Bryant downed her next two opponents 7-4; Jia Li in the quarterfinal and Eleanor Callado in the semifinal for second shot at Corr in the hot seat. Among many things Bryant may not have expected in the event’s final match, a shutout would have been high on the list. But that’s how Corr punctuated her undefeated run, shutting Bryant out to claim the event title.

Fisher goes undefeated for the second time in a month, winning WPBA Ho-Chunk Classic

Ga Young Kim and Allison Fisher (Photo courtesy of the WPBA)

Fresh off her August 16-19 victory at the NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic, Allison Fisher proved once again that age is just a number, and a fairly insignificant one at that. On the long weekend of September 13-16, Fisher joined what turned out to be 63 WPBA entrants in a multi-stage/bracket format at the Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin Dells, WI and went undefeated through that field to capture her second title in a month. Fisher had to get by Korea’s Ga-Young Kim twice to claim that title.
 
The multi-stage format of this event created preliminary, 32-entrant rounds of play for 64 invited and seeded players, based on current WPBA standings going into the event. The lower-ranked invitees faced off against each other on Thursday, Sept. 13, in a standard 32-player bracket. Sixteen players, eight on each side of the bracket, emerged and advanced to play against a group of 16 players already selected to compete on Friday. When that Friday bracket came down to a final 16, those 16 advanced to compete against the WPBA’s top 16 players on Saturday (chosen from among the invitees who were able to attend). It was in this third, Saturday bracket that Fisher began her quest for the title.
 
On Thursday in races to 7, Kaylin Wikoff, Caroline Pao, Tonya Wiser, Naomi Williams, Kristie Bacon, Cathy Metzinger, Jia Li, and Jenna Bishoff won two matches each to advance to Friday’s bracket. In her second match, Jia Li downed LoreeJon Hasson 7-5 to get into that winners’ side final eight. Metzinger was among the final eight as the result (in part) of a forfeit by Jeannette Lee in her opening round of play. Lee came back through two rounds of loss-side play to become one of the 16 that advanced to Friday. Hasson won her only match on the loss side of the Thursday bracket and advanced, as well, along with Maria Juana, Lisa Cossette, Susan Wilbur, Sonya Chbeeb, Bonnie Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell.
 
On Friday in races to 8, Pao, Metzinger, and Arnold made it through their second day, winning two matches each to become one of the winners’ side final eight advancing to Saturday. Joining the event for the first time and winning their first two were Maureen Seto, Siming Chen, We Tzu Chien, April Larson and Kia Sidbury. Sidbury was originally scheduled to start on Thursday but a no-show for the tournament led to the 63-entrant field and an opening on Friday, into which she slipped. On the loss side of Friday’s bracket, Juana, Bishoff, Williams, Li, and Jeannette Lee advanced to their third day of competition. Lee had been defeated by April Larson, double hill, in Friday’s opening round and won two to join everybody on Saturday. Also winning two on the loss side and advancing to Saturday were Janet Atwell (defeated by Pao, double hill, in Friday’s opening round), Sara Miller and Robin Parker.
 
On Saturday in races to 8, Fisher said ‘hello’ to everybody and opened with an 8-1 victory over Juana, before running into Jeannette Lee (first of a series of classic women matchups during the day). Lee had defeated Kim Newsome 8-5 to start her day. Fisher defeated Lee 8-4 and then picked up the Texas Tornado, Vivian Villareal, who’d defeated Jennifer Barretta 8-2 in the previous round. An 8-2 win over Villareal sent Fisher to a winners’ side semifinal against Siming Chen, who’d defeated Line Kjorsivik 8-4 and Caroline Pao 8-3 to reach her. Melissa Little and Ga Young Kim squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Fisher defeated Chen 8-2 and arrived at the hot seat match with an aggregate score of 32-9 (78%). Kim sent Little to the loss side 8-2, as well, and she came to the hot seat with an aggregate score of 32-14 (69%). Allison claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Kim and waited on her return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Chen picked up Barretta, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had included victories over Jeannette Lee (8-5), Jia Li (8-4) and Brittany Bryant 8-5. Little drew The Grinder, teenager April Larson, who’d been defeated by Jia Li on the winners’ side of the final bracket, and was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that would take her as far as the semifinals. Larson had most recently eliminated Vivian Villareal and Caroline Pao, both 8-3.
 
Larson advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-5 win over Little, and was joined by Chen, who’d defeated Barretta 8-2. Larson took the quarterfinal match over Siming Chen 8-5.
 
Larson’s remarkable run ended in the semifinals, when Kim defeated her 8-5. Kim’s second shot against Fisher, waiting for her in the hot seat, was a tightly contested, double hill battle. Fisher closed it out to claim the WPBA’s 2018 Ho-Chunk Classic.

Corr goes undefeated through field of 53 at North American Pool Tour Freedom Classic

(l to r): Briana Miller & Karen Corr

Karen Corr, the Irish Invader, chalked up her second North American Pool Tour (NAPT) Division I Pro event victory on the weekend of September 30-October 1. Following her victory at the NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic at Shooter’s Sports Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL in August, Corr went undefeated at this past weekend’s $6,400-added NAPT Freedom Classic, that drew 53 entrants to Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA.

 
Corr had to get by Briana Miller twice in this event; a chore rendered more significant by an earlier meeting between the two, which took place in June, during the fourth stop on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour in Frederick, MD. Looking to secure a second straight win on the 2107 JPNEWT, Miller defeated Corr, double hill, in the third winners’ side round of that event. Corr came back through the loss side to defeat Miller in the finals to win her first 2017 JPNEWT title. It was a match Corr remembered when Meredith Lynch interviewed her for the NAPT, following the Summer Classic and asked her about the influx of young female guns.
 
“There’s a lot of great talent out there,” Corr said at the time. “Briana (Miller) – I played her there in Frederick. She beat me in the one side and we had a close match in the final. It’s challenging for me, too, you know?”
 
They had two close matches in this Freedom Classic. The first one came in the battle for the hot seat. Victories over Denise Belanger, Krista Walsh, Brittany Bryant (5th in the NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic) and Naomi Williams set Corr up to face April Larson (7th in NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic) in a winners’ side semifinal. Miller, in the meantime, having worked her way through Alex Calabrese, Teruko Cucculelli, Nathalie Chabot, Jenna Blahoff, faced veteran LoreeJon Hasson in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Corr downed Larson 7-3, whiLe Miller sent Hasson to the loss side 7-4. As might have been expected, Miller and Corr locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Miller to the semifinals and put Corr in an NAPT Division I hot seat for the second straight time.
 
On the loss side, Larson picked up Bryant, who, after her defeat by Corr, was in the midst of a four-match loss-side streak that included recent victories over Jenna Blahoff 7-3 and Stacie Bourbeau 7-4, and was about to come to an end. Hasson drew Naomi Williams, who’d gotten by Janet Atwell 7-4 and Veronique Menard 7-5 to reach her.
 
Larson defeated Bryant 7-4, and was joined in the quarterfinal match by Williams, who’d eliminated Hasson 7-4. Larson and Williams locked up in a double hill quarterfinal that eventually sent Williams to the semifinals against Miller.
 
Miller got her second shot at Corr with a 7-4 win over Williams in the semifinals. The true double elimination final amounted to one set. As they had done battling for the hot seat, Corr and Miller fought to a deciding game, before Corr closed it out to claim her second straight NAPT title.
 
The next NAPT Division I Pro event – The Desert Shootout – scheduled for November 2-5, will be hosted by Griff’s Pool & Billiards Hall in Las Vegas, NV.
 
 

Corr Wins Rivers Casino Open

Karen Corr and Si Ming Chen

Karen Corr defeated Siming Chen in a heart-pounding, sudden death finale, capping off a four-day competition featuring the top 48-ranked pros of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association. The event ran April 19th-23rd, bringing back the final four players for Sunday’s performance. Brittany Bryant (Canada) and Line Kjorsvik (Norway) also made the cut, tying for third place.
 
The 2017 Rivers Casino Open, held April 19th-23rd, proved very exciting for the spectators in attendance and those who tuned in via the WPBA live stream. With the click of a mouse, fans could tune in to live matches on any one of six tournament tables, which included live scoring updates.
 
The Charity Pro-Am kicked off Wednesday afternoon, with 8 teams, each team paired with a Pro. After three fast and furious rounds of play, it was determined that “Team Brittany Bryant” and “Team Monica Webb” scored the most game wins in each round, and would face each other in a head-to-head final. Team Webb overcame Team Bryant for the win, and a great time was had by all participants! There was also a “Challenge the Pro” session with all proceeds going to charity. Top ranked players took on all comers, offering their fans not only an opportunity to play their favorite pros, but a chance to autograph billiard memorabilia and snap photographs.
 
Thursday morning began the trek to Sunday’s semi-finals. Chen claimed the first semi spot with wins over Kristina Grim, 9-3, Naomi Williams, 9-0, Helena Thornfeldt, 9-3, and Line Kjorsvik, 9-4. The second semi spot was claimed by Karen Corr, with wins over Julie Kelly, 9-6, Jessica Barnes, 9-6, Janet Atwell, 9-6, Monica Webb, 9-7, and Brittany Bryant, 9-3. Challengers were grinding it out on the west side of the chart, hoping to make Sunday’s show. Brittany Bryant bested Kelly Cavanaugh, 9-4, Robin Parker, 9-1, and Jennifer Barretta, 9-7, before losing to Corr. Bryant went on to beat Julie Kelly, 9-6, for an opportunity to face Chen in the first semi-final. The 2017 WPBA Masters Champion and new number one ranked WPBA player, Line Kjorsvik, beat Suzanne Peters, 9-6, Teruko Cucculelli, 9-3, and Sandy Badger, 9-3, but fell to Chen. From the one-loss side, Line went on to eliminate Monica Webb, 9-6, earning herself a shot at Corr in the second semi-final. Chen overcame Bryant both sets, 4-1 and 4-2, to reach the finals. Corr experienced another sudden death match with Line, but this time, she prevailed. Corr won the first set 4-1, and Line answered back, taking the second set, 4-1. Corr responded, winning the sudden death game to face Chen in the finals.
 
Siming played lights out all week, with a stable of opponents who could score no more than four games against her. In the first set, she cruised to a 4-0, but Karen fought back and won the second set, 4-3. Even on sets, players lagged for the break in the sudden death decider. Corr won the lag, broke, and made a ball on the break. Siming never made it back to the table. Corr made a nerve-racking out, flirting with the side pocket while playing position from the 6-ball to the 7-ball. The crowd watched and gasped in horror as the cue ball settled on the rail with perfect shape on the 7-ball. In true, champion form, Corr completed the run, earning herself a brand new title, 2017 Rivers Casino Open Champion!
 
The WPBA would like to thank its sponsors for this event, Rivers Casino and their staff who provided a fabulous venue and outstanding service, Diamond Pool Tables who provided the playing equipment and set-up for the event, Simonis Cloth who provided the cloth for the playing surface, and Aramith Pool Balls who supplied the brand new balls sets. Thanks go out to Dave Jacoby for building the WPBA 40th Anniversary Custom Cue for which raffles tickets were sold during the week, and given away on Sunday.
 
For more information about the Women’s Professional Billiards Association, please visit www.WPBA.com.

Larson wins first pro event, goes undefeated to take second stop on North American Pool Tour

Tara Williams and April Larson

When 16-year-old April Larson first arrived at Shooter's Sports Bar & Billiards in Greyslake, IL on the weekend of August 18-21 to compete in the second stop on the North American Pool Tour, she got a glimpse of the winning trophy. She reportedly got very excited and mentioned to her traveling companion that she didn't care about the winning prize money. She wanted that trophy.
 
Four days, six opponents and seven matches later, she'd won her first pro event – the $5,000-added Summer 10 Ball Classic that had drawn 58 entrants to Shooter's Sports Bar and Billiards. Proving the point, Larson accepted the trophy and walked away without collecting the $3,400 check that went along with it. NAPT Predidant Adrianne Beach, a fellow competitor and regular on the Northwest Women's Pool Association Tour, chased her down and handed it to her. Larson glanced at it once, and then, a second time, at which point, according to Beach, her eyes went wide, her mouth dropped open, and she was rendered, literally, speechless.
 
"Is it the most you've ever won?" Beach asked her.
 
All the youngster could do was nod. It had been a busy summer for Larson. In July, she'd represented the USA at the Atlantic Cup Challenge. Two days after the conclusion of that event (won by Team EUROPE 11-3), Larson won her fifth straight Billiards Education Foundation Junior Nationals Championship. A week or two after that, she traveled to Las Vegas for the BCAPL Championships, competing in three events. She was part of the Women's Gold Scotch Doubles team that finished ninth, finished fifth in the Women's 9-Ball Singles Platinum division, and third in the Women's 8-Ball Singles Platinum Division, having defeated (on the loss side) Briana Miller and Eleanor Callado before being eliminated by Vivian Villareal in the semifinals.
 
In Illinois, Larson opened her winning campaign with a 7-3 win over Beth Fondell, and then, shut out Adrianne Beach, who would later present her with the winning trophy and even later, the winning check.
 
"She wasn't missing," said Beach. "Her fundamentals are so solid, and they don't change. It's like her heart rate never increases. She plays without fear."
 
"She's very steady, very composed and very solid," Beach added, noting that she'd never seen anything like Larson before. "Not at that age, no, especially with her composure."
 
Larson advanced, sending Jacqui Schroeder and JPNEWT veteran Jia Li to the loss side, both 7-5. This set her up to face Bonnie Arnold in a winners' side semifinal, as Tara Williams and Cassie Francois squared off in the other one. Larson defeated Arnold 7-2, and in the hot seat match, faced Williams, who'd downed Francois 7-1. In their first of two, Larson defeated Williams 7-4 and sat in the hot seat awaiting her return.
 
On the loss side, Arnold picked up Naomi Williams, who'd eliminated Janet Atwell, double hill and Briana Miller 7-2 to reach her. Francois drew another junior champion Taylor Hansen, who had, a week or so earlier, defeated Vivian Villareal in the finals of the BCAPL's Women's 8-Ball Singles (Platinum Division), in which Larson had placed third. Sent to the loss side by Bonnie Arnold, Hansen defeated Sarah Rousey and Jia Li, both 7-5, to reach Francois.
 
Hansen advanced to the quarterfinals over Francois 7-2, as Williams spoiled a potential Hansen/Arnold re-match with a 7-1 victory over Arnold. Williams took the subsequent quarterfinal match 7-5 over Hansen, and was then, herself, eliminated 7-5 by Tara Williams in the semifinals.
 
Larson, though, really wanted the winning trophy for this event. She punctuated her undefeated run in her first pro event by shutting Williams out in the finals to claim the event title.

Corr goes undefeated on debut North American Pool Tour (NAPT) Women’s 10-Ball Invitational

Karen Corr

Amidst a blend of familiar faces and new challenges, Karen Corr faced seven opponents during the inaugural North American Pool Tour's (NAPT) 10-Ball Women's Invitational Tournament, held on the weekend of June 3-5. Those opponents averaged just over two racks against her, leading to her undefeated run through the field of 56. The $5,000-added inaugural event was hosted by Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA, and in addition to women invited from regional tours all across the country, featured a strong, familiar (for Corr) contingent from the regionally nearby J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour (JPNEWT), whose director, Linda Shea, coordinated this event.
 
The brainchild of its president, Adrianne Beach, in consort with women from the JPNEWT, the Northwest Women's Pool Association, the OB Cues Tour, the Northern Lights Tour, and the North Star Tour (to name just a few), this North Americanl Pool Tour was set up to offer women more opportunities to play; opportunities that were not being offered by the WPBA.
 
"We're not trying to compete with the WPBA," said Beach from Boston, the day after the event. "We just want to provide more opportunities to play. We learned a lot from the WPBA, and (competitors) can play on both.
 
"We think," she added, "that we're building a good system that's going to be beneficial to everyone."
 
According to Beach, while the first few events produced under the auspices of this North American Pool Tour will be for women, plans are already underway to include Open events that will accommodate men, as well. Beach is quite pleased with how the inaugural effort played out, including her own finish in the eight-way tie for 25th.
 
"I'm thrilled with the way it turned out," she said. "We got positive responses from all of the players, and didn't hear any complaints.
 
"There were minor issues," she added, "but there always are."
 
Five of the seven opponents that Corr faced over the weekend were veterans of the JPNEWT, including fellow finalist, Jia Li. Last year, when Corr was winning eight of the 11 stops on the tour, she and Jia Li matched up in a final in August. Corr had to get by her twice at this event to claim the title.
 
They met first in a winners' side semifinal. Corr had gotten by Nicole King, Kia Sidbury, Eugenia Gyftopolous and Canadian Sara Miller, to draw Li. The other winners' side semifinal featured two Canadians who'd competed in the finals of the Canadian Cue Sports Championships (Women's Open 9-Ball) in May; Naomi Williams and Brittany Bryant. Corr took her first against Li 7-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Williams, who'd sent Bryant to the loss side by the same score. Corr dominated the hot seat match, denying Williams so much as a single rack.
 
On the loss side, Li and Bryant walked into two immediate double hill matches. Li picked up Tara Williams, who'd eliminated Brianna Miller 7-2 and Atlantic Cup Challenge team member and teenager April Larson 7-5. To reach Williams, Larson had defeated and thus, eliminated Janet Atwell, double hill. Bryant, who'd been sent to the loss side by Larson in the fourth round,  drew Sueyen Rhee, who'd defeated Sara Miller 7-3, and Meredith Lynch, double hill, to reach her.
 
Li and Bryant advanced, double hill, to the quarterfinals over Williams and Rhee. For a variety of different reasons, match progress was noticeably slowing down, particularly as the loss side opponents took the extra time that they often do, when elimination is possible, and every shot is analyzed just a tad more carefully. Comments began circulating almost immediately about the need for a shot clock. 
 
Li took the quarterfinal match over Bryant 7-5, denying Bryant the opportunity to play her fellow Canadian in the semifinals. Li and Williams then locked up in a double hill semifinal that at midnight, officially turned the proceedings into a four-day event. And it looked, in the early going of the true double elimination final, as if it were going to get even longer.
 
With a $1,000 differential between winner and runner-up, Li opened the first set of the finals with three straight. Corr responded with five straight. Li closed the gap to within one, before Corr chalked up her sixth, putting her on the hill. Corr used a 3-10 combination that finished it.
 
The next event on the North American Pool Tour, scheduled for August 19-21, will be hosted by Shooters Bar & Billiards in Grayslake, IL, just outside of Chicago.

2016 Canadian Championships

Naomi Williams, John Morra, Alex Pagulayan and Brittany Bryant

From May 5th to May 10th, le Tapis Vert in Quebec City hosted the Canadian Billiards & Snooker Association’s (CBSA) 21st annual Canadian Pool Championships.  The six-day event consisted of 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball tournaments open to any person holding a Canadian passport. The CBSA is affiliated with the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), through the WPA’s North American affiliate, the Billiard Congress of America (BCA). With these affiliations, it grants Canada the opportunity to be represented at all World Pool Championships, and most other major International pool events.
 
The restructured CBSA Board of Directors made a wise decision this year in selecting Quebec as the host province for 2016.  The Province of Quebec has a great attitude towards billiards, they produce a great number of top calibre players, and there was a significant increase the attendance from previous years.
 
Women’s Events
Naomi Williams and Brittany Bryant continue to dominate this sport in the Women’s Canadian field.  Year after year, these ladies share titles and this year was no different.  Brittany and Naomi played each other in the finals of both events (9-Ball and 10-Ball).  After losing to Brittany in the A-side finals, Naomi returned from the B-side to win her forth Canadian 9-Ball title with an 11-6 win.
In the 10-Ball event, it was Brittany’s turn to shine.  Both players traded racks for the first 8 games and the score was tied 4-4.  All of a sudden, Brittany took control and went into dead stroke winning the next 6 games in a row to take the 10-Ball title.  Well done girls.
 
Open 8-Ball
Earlier in the year the organizing committee for the 2016 World 8-Ball Tournament announced that the event would be held in Toronto at The Corner Bank.  It was disappointing to recently learn that the event was moved from Toronto to China.  A large number of players had high hopes of competing at the international level in front of their fellow countryman.  In any event, the show must go on.
In the Canadian event, the crowd favourite, Alex Pagulayan looked unstoppable only losing 6 games in his first 4 matches.  Alex outscored his opponents 36-6.  Alex’s then faced 3-time Canadian 8-Ball Champion Jason Klatt.  Klatt was also having a good day with wins over Jason Thomas, Alain Martel, Sylvain Gingras and John Morra.  A very focussed Klatt got the 9-5 win over Alex in their 5th round match.
In the finals, Jason faced Alex Pagulayan for the second time.  Both players traded racks in the alternate break format and the score remained close until the end.  With the score tied 10-10, Jason broke and ran the final rack to take the match and the title.  An impressive start for Klatt as he went undefeated to claim his fourth Canadian 8-ball title.
 
Open 9-Ball
A few weeks before this event, it was announced that the 9-Ball would be racked on the spot.  This rule was implemented to follow the lead of the World Pool-Billiard Association which will be enforced at the World Championships.  All participants needed to adapt to this break format on short notice.
 
Although Alex fell one game short in the 8-ball event, “The Lion” reigned in the 9-ball.  Three days into this event, Alex was well adjusted to the conditions of the room.  Alex dominated his opponents and reached the finals with wins over Jeff Blais, Danny Hewitt, John Morra, Sylvain Grenier and Alain Martel.  It was John Morra who had the last opportunity to dethrone Alex.  John has been travelling the planet and is currently ranked 5th in the world rankings.  Unfortunately for John, the break shot was not cooperating with him and he had very few opportunities to gain any momentum.  Pagulayan stayed in control the entire match and won the 9-ball title with a solid 15-6 performance.
 
Open 10-Ball
In this event, “The Dancing Bear” Alain Martel proved he still has what it takes to compete with the best players in the country.  His gentle, finesse style put him in the A-bracket semi-finals with wins over Randy Bagot, Charles Castonguay, Shannon Ducharme and Stephan Doiron.  Alain continued his clinic against Alex Pagulayan and mounted a 6-2 lead.  Unfortunately for Alain, no lead is safe against Alex.  Pagulayan somehow managed to comeback and win 10-9.  Martel was eventually eliminated by John Morra and settled for a respectable 4th place finish.
The final match would see John Morra face off against Alex Pagulayan.  This was a rematch of the 9-ball finals and John wanted revenge.  Morra got off to a great start winning the first 4 games.  In the 5th rack, John committed an early foul and Alex pounced at the opportunity to get on the scoreboard 4-1.  John scratched on the next break in this alternate break format and Alex ran out again to bring the score to 4-2.  From there, the smooth stroke of John Morra took over.  John kept the pressure on Alex as he won 9 of the next 10 racks to clinch the title with a dominating 13-3 score.  A fabulous finish to a great tournament.
 
“The CBSA very much needed a bounce-back year, and the numbers were big enough to say that this event should help pave the way for better things in the future”, said Randall Morrison President, Canadian Billiards & Snooker Association.  Check out their website for full brackets from the event – http://www.cbsa.ca
 
A special thanks to all the special people that made this event happen.  The CBSA Secretary, Candace Campbell, did an excellent job as tournament director and had a great time doing it.  Volunteers Barry Hetherington and Alain Parent were gracious to offer their assistance in helping conduct the bracket, calling matches and officiating shots.  Acknowledgement should also be given to the sponsors for contributing to the costs associate with running these national events:  Tiger, Simonis/Aramith, Kamui, Chalk-Cube, F.G. Bradley’s, Think Green Industries and Jostens.
 

John Morra Sweeps Canadian Championships

John Morra (Photo courtesy of thepoolscene.com)

The 2015 CBSA Canadian Professional Pool Championships ran from March 30 to April 4 at the Hilton in Mississauga, Ontario. This event was held in conjunction with the Amateur CCS Nationals. This is the second year that the CBSA and CCS have joined forces to put together this combined Canadian Championships. Players from across the country entered these events with the hopes of being titled the next Canadian Champion.
 
VenueThe venue was equipped with 8 Diamond tables which allowed for the timely scheduling of matches. The entire event was streamed live via Randall Morrison from Calgary, Alberta. There were always plenty of spectators throughout the week which created a fitting environment for a national event.
 
In the Women’s events, Naomi Williams reached the 10-ball finals with victories over Hanna Kwon (7-3), Joanne Ashton (7-2) and Brittany Bryant (7-5). In the B-side finals Brittany Bryant earned a rematch with Naomi after she eliminated Joanne Ashton. In the finals, Brittany managed to stay ahead for most of the match. With a chance to go up 9-7, Bryant missed a difficult cut shot on the 10-Ball. Naomi seized the opportunity and tied the match at 8. They traded the next two racks before Naomi sealed the deal in the case game with a 10-9 win. This is Naomi’s fourth 10-Ball title in 5 years.
 
In the Women’s 9-Ball event, Brittany Bryant was eager to defend her title once again. In the finals, Brittney trailed Kayla Jones early in the match (4-1). As the match went on, it looked like Canada would have a new champion. However, a few opportunities slipped away from Kayla and experience prevailed. A reputable second place finish for Kayla and another feather in the hat for Brittany with her 11-8 win.
 
In the Men’s Open events, some fresh faces decided to test their skills competing in this national event. Dan Lewis proved that he was more than “just a hack”. Dan finished in the top 8 of the 8-ball division and looked very sharp doing so. Unfortunately, there were no prizes for the best dressed player. Another player getting a lot of attention was Sumon Sarker. The part time singer has recently been playing plenty of challenge matches all throughout southern Ontario. He is known as a fierce competitor with a strong desire to improve. Sumon finished in the top 6 of the 9-ball division with wins over some of the top players in the country.
 
“I learnt a lot from this tournament, I will be playing better as soon as I employ them and get my errors minimized”, said Sumon.
 
It was John Morra who certainly stole the show this week. John became the first player in Canadian history to capture all three titles (8-Ball, 9-Ball, and 10-Ball). John’s only loss happened in the 8-Ball event against Erik Hjorleifson. John came back strong to avenge his loss, winning 11-4 in the finals. Erik also had a great week finishing second in two events 
 
In the 10-Ball event, John dominated Adrian Fragoso and Jesse Piercy by the same score (10-2). John’s next encounter was against his father Mario Morra. This thrilling match went right down to the wire. In the last game, Mario executed a perfect break only to witness the cue ball getting kicked into the pocket. John promptly ran the table and went on to beat Tom Theriault (10-5) and Erik Hjorleifson (13-8) for the title.
 
The last event was the 9-Ball event which drew the highest number of entries at 33. Shannon Ducharme, the 28 year old from Winnipeg, Manitoba added plenty of excitement to this event with his aggressive style. Shannon was sent to the B-Side after a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Jason Klatt in the fourth round. Shannon held his composure and played great to recover as he had wins over Jason Kisheyinew (11-10), Tom Theriault (11-2), Sumon Sarkar (11-5), Andy Aupin (11-4) and Mario Morra (11-8). The finals were now set against John Morra.
 
The contrasting styles between Morra and Ducharme set the stage for an electrifying match. After a week of competition, both players were well adjusted to the conditions as they were making plenty of balls off the break. John held the lead for most of the match while Shannon kept it close with his banking skills and fine cut shots. In the end, a break and run in the 27th rack for John Morra ended Shannon`s run. It was truly a great performance by both players.
 
Steve Cooper, president of the CBSA, added the following, “I understand that there are some hurdles to improve on for future years, such as lighting and low entries, especially in the 10-ball, but I feel that the positives of these championships did out way the negatives. Our stream was very well received by most. CBSA Vice President, Kyle Richard has put a lot of effort into the sponsorship committee this year, & his work is starting to show results. A very special thanks to our major sponsors for the event, CCS, Diamond Billiards Products, Simonis Cloth & Tiger Cues.”
 
See you all again next year.

 

The Elite 8 at Andy Cloth Women’s International Pool Championship

Jennifer Barretta – Photo courtesy of Eli Ceballos CryFoto.com

New York City-  Eight players have survived the first day of single knockout. Six countries are left which are Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden, USA, and Canada.  The pro tournament is the longest women's billiard event of any kind with 6 days of heavy pool action with a round robin event that evolves into a final single elimination chart where players will start out races to 10 in 10-Ball and eventually rise to races to 11,13, and 17 in the finals.  All activities are taking place at Steinway Billiards Cafe and sponsored by Andy Cloth,  J.Pechauer Cues , Viking Cues,  Steinway Billiards.  , Olhausen Balls, Pool & Billiard Magazine , the NAPL & Focused Apparel . Patron sponsors include Dr. Greg Diehl, Tom Gleich, and Dr. Michael Frank.  Media partners include PKE Partners, IB Sports, NYC Grind, Gotham City Technologies, Nona Photography, and Charles Eames Photography.  7 days of live pool will be filmed and streamed by Inside Pool TV.   Pay per view on www.Dragonpromotions.com  for the live marquee matches Andy Cloth Women's International Pool Championship  taking place December 16th-21st at the same venue.

 

The day was full of upsets with alot of damage coming from the qualifier winners. Arizona's Bernie Store had played in 2 qualifiers in California and Washington, losing in both. She received a wild card and has made good use of it with easily qualifying in her group with a huge win over top 3 American pro Jennifer Barretta of NY. "She played amazing against me. She made every tough shot", said Barretta. Bernie then moved on and knocked out Canadian top pro Veronique Menard 10-5 and then faced Hiroko Makiyama of Japan. Ironically, Makiyama defeated Bernie in the Los Angeles qualifier and though Store held an early 4-2 lead in the sweet sixteen, she succumbed to Makiyama 10-6. Still, a very well deserved 9th place at her first major pro event and getting some good cash as well!

 
On that note, Makiyama also was utilizing her free entry from her qualifier win and knocked out #6 seed Li Jia from China 10-7. She faces #1 seed Vivian Villarreal of TX, USA in today's quarter-finals. By far it's the biggest accomplishment of her career so far. 
 
Another qualifier winner Naomi Williams of Canada continued her outstanding play with a hard fought 10-8 win over Tara Williams of Texas. Williams finishes 9th in the money which included her 10-4 dominant win over local pro Erin McManus of NY.
 

In the biggest marquee match of the day, Jennifer Barretta played her best match of the event so far with a huge win over fellow top ranking American Jeanete Lee. Barretta came out with a 2-0 lead, and though Lee tied it at 2-2, Barretta took over from there and ended with a 10-6 victory to move into the elite 8. " I couldn't find my break and kept scratching. You can't do that against Jen. She played good behind my errors and deserves it", said the Black Widow who ends the event at 9th place.

 

Ga Young Kim of Korea barely broke a sweat with 10-1 and 10-3 wins over USA's Samantha Barrett and Japan's Akiko Kitayama. Her roomie Vivian Villareal of Texas dismantled Jeannie Seaver of Florida 10-3 to move to the quarters as well.
 
The most thrilling match of the day came from two players who came the furthest away. New Zealand's Denise Wilkinson trailed Taiwan's Jennifer Chen the entire match and at one point was down 3-8. Chen took a bathroom break, and the young Denise sheepishly smiled and admitted good naturedly to some fans she wasn't playing so well. She got a bit of encouragement back, and before you know it Denise stormed back with 5 straight games to tie the match at 8-8! Chen was visibly rattled and could not take advantage of the open table and hooked herself on the 7-ball. She made a great 2 rail kick but Denise made a nerve racking length of the table 7-ball and ran out to take the 9-8 lead. Chen came back and held steady on a 10-ball combo to tie 9-9. In the final rack both players showed nerves especially when Chen missed a ball in hand! Safety play engaged with Chen the more experience player winning the exchange but missed a very makeable 4-Ball. A ray of hope for Chen when Denise snookered herself on the 5-Ball , but she made a terrific rail first to make it and completed a difficult and pressure pounding runout to the delight of her aunt and uncle who accompanied her on this long trip! Wilkinson plays in the final quarter finals today against Canadian champ Naomi Williams. 
 
See all the brackets can be found and full schedule of play times at www.dragonpromotions.com
 
Action continues on Day 5 Single Elimination with this TV lineup that can be ordered on www.dragonpromotions.com  
The Finals is scheduled for Sunday December 21 at 1:00pm.  See right side buttons.
 
Day 5 TV Schedule Race to 11 Quarter Finals . Watch on www.dragonpromotions.com click 12/20 $15 for entire day 
 
11:00am Vivian Villarreal USA vs Hiroko Makiyama JAPAN
1:15pm Ga Young Kim KOREA vs Helena Thornfeldt SWEDEN 
3:30pm Naomi Williams CANADA vs Denise Wilkinson NEW ZEALAND
 
Semi-Finals Race to 13
6:00pm Villarreal/Makiyama vs Williams/Wilkinson
8:00pm Barretta USA/Bryant CAN vs Ga Young Kim/ Helena Thornfeldt 
 
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