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Baker and Larsen Win U.S. Amateur Championship Titles

Blake Baker

For some, the very best, it’s an annual pilgrimage of sorts.  For others, it’s an opportunity to truly showcase their arrival on the amateur pool scene.  For all of them, the U.S. Amateur Championship is something unique that appeals to the most passionate player. Whether they come to cement a legacy, or just to test their skill against some of the best amateur players in North America, there is no denying that to experience the U.S. Amateur Championship is to experience something truly special. Pool tournaments come and go, but securing the title of U.S. Amateur Champion is something you carry with you forever, literally, when your name is forever added to the Trophy of Champions for generations to come.

That’s what drove more than 2,100 of North America’s top amateur players to try and qualify for the 26th Annual event.  That’s what brought 128 men and 42 women to Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, Fla., in early November to compete in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Of course, there are worse places to be than the sun-soaked skies of the Tampa area, one of the premier vacation destinations in the world, at a time when most of the country is getting its first taste of winter.

Winners of each division also receive an all-expenses paid trip to a pro event next year courtesy of the APA.

And, of course, the championship trophy – a combination of marble and bronze that more closely resembles a piece of art than something won in a pool tournament.

Baker Wins Title in First Appearance
Over the first quarter-century of the U.S. Amateur Championship, the event, in many ways, came to be defined by a list of seasoned veterans, who, year after year, left their mark on the event.  Certain names you came to expect to see on the qualifier list each year, names like Brisbon, Brodt and Parks. Now in its 26th year, a youth movement seems to have taken hold at the U.S. Amateur Championship, with a new crop of young amateur players looking to leave their mark on the event and the sport, much like their predecessors.  It began in 2018, when a previously unknown 26-year-old from Peoria, Ill., named Abe Schaad took home the title.  This year, it was another 24-year-old newcomer making his mark after being inspired by the defending champion.

Blake Baker of Las Vegas went undefeated in his first U.S. Amateur Championship appearance and secured his place in amateur pool history. Baker defeated 65-year-old Bobby Stovall of Cumming, Ga., 11-5 in the championship match.

Baker controlled the finale from the get-go, taking a 4-0 lead in the 9-Ball set before Stovall finally got on the board.  The players traded wins the next two games, making it a 5-2 match.  Baker would win five of the final six games in the 9-Ball set and held a commanding 10-3 lead as the players began the 8-Ball set with the newcomer on-the-hill needing one final game.

Stovall managed to stave off elimination in the first two games of the 8-Ball set, making the score 10-5, but Baker’s bid for the title would not be denied.  In the 16th and final game, he pocketed the 8-ball and the win.

Baker will move on to compete in a 2020 pro event courtesy of APA, and more importantly, his name will be added to the Larry Hubbart Trophy.

Stovall finishes as the Runner-up, his highest finish in the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Defending champion Abe Schaad finished in 3rd, dropping matches to only Baker and Stovall in the process.

One hundred and twenty-eight players competed in this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Tina LarsenLarsen Wins Record Third Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship

Tina Larsen of Westwell, Ind., defeated Nathalie Jacob of Montreal, Quebec in a seesaw battle by a score of 9-7.  The victory earned Larsen her third Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship victory, and her first since 2007.  She surpassed Tammie Jones and Amy Chen, both two-time champions, for most Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship career titles.

Before securing her third title, Larsen had to go through a strong newcomer in Jacob, whose previous playing career consisted primarily of 9-Ball, with little experience playing 8-Ball.  Despite her lack of proficiency in 8-Ball, Jacob gave Larsen all she could handle in the final.

Jacob got on the board first in the 9-Ball set, with Larsen taking the next two games and a 3-2 lead.  Jacob took the next rack, before Larsen secured the next two, one by way of a 9-on-the snap.  With Larsen leading 4-2, Jacob showed some fight, battling back to win the next two games and even the match at 4-4.  Larsen regained the lead, before Jacob again evened things up at 5-5.  Larsen took the final game of 9-Ball as the match moved to the 8-Ball set.

Larsen took the first game of the 8-Ball set and the players traded wins over the next three games.  In the fifteenth game of the match, the ladies engaged in a showdown of defensive shots.  It was here that Jacob’s lack of experience in 8-Ball hindered her, as Larsen won the safety battle and eventually the match, 9-7.

Jacob finished as the Runner-up, the highest finish ever for a Canadian in the Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Stacie Bourbeau of Orange, Mass., finished in 3rd Place.

Forty-two ladies competed in this year’s Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

Larsen moves on to compete in a Pro Event in 2020, courtesy of APA.

Both championship matches can now be viewed for free the APA YouTube channel at in addition to dozens of other matches that were lived streamed from this year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.  Streaming for the U.S. Amateur Championship was sponsored by

The entry window for the 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship is now open with the Preliminary Rounds scheduled across North America in mid-September.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is conducted by the APA, and is the only tournament produced by the APA open to both members and non-members.  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-September.

As Champions, both Baker and Larsen will return next year to defend their coveted titles.

The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.

The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out more than $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!

The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues, Pool Dawg and Valley-Dynamo.

To register for next year’s U.S. Amateur Championship, visit  For more information on the American Poolplayers Association, visit

Corr dominates North American Pool Tour’s Coupe du Quebec

Karen Corr not only went undefeated at the North American Pool Tour’s (NAPT) Coupe du Quebec, she damn near went unscored upon. Through seven round robin flights and five rounds in a double elimination final bracket, she gave up only 11 games of the 88 she played to claim the event title. She shut out four of her round robin opponents and three of the five she faced in the final double elimination phase. She was the only player to go undefeated in both phases of the event. The Division 1 Pro event drew 32 entrants to Dooly’s in Quebec, Canada on the long weekend of October 24-27.

The Round Robin phase of the event split the field of 32 into four flights of eight players each. At the end of seven rounds in each of the four flights, the top four in each flight (based on win/loss records and point differentials for ties) advanced to the double elimination bracket of 16.

Corr’s flight in the round robin phase pitted her against (among others) fellow J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour player, Nicole King, as well as Nathalie Chabot, and Chantal Bergeron, all of whom finished with 4-3 records to advance to the final 16.

California’s Callado sisters played in separate round robin flights. Eleanor finished with a 5-2 record, as did Nathalie Jacob, Amanda Soucy and Marie-France Blanchette; all advancing to the double elimination bracket. Sister Emilyn finished with a 6-1 record and was joined in the double elimination bracket by Toni Sakamoto, Farla Salmonovitch and Judie Wilson. The woman who’d defeated Emily Callado, Dorah Cornell, did not advance; Emilyn being the only opponent she defeated.

Veronique Menard was at the top of her round robin group and finished with a 6-1 record. Joining her in advancing were Roxanne Ryan Aucoin, Fanny Giroux (Menard’s only loss), and Sandra-Line Michel.

Corr wasn’t scored upon until she reached the hot seat match, downing Sandra-Line Michel, Nathalie Jacob and in the winners’ side semifinal, Emilyn Callado by shutout; thus spoiling any hope for a Callado sister hot seat match. Eleanor Callado’s path to the hot seat match went through Farla Salmonovitch 7-4, Marie-France Blanchette 7-3 and in the other winners’ side semifinal, Veronique Menard 7-4. Corr gave up her first rack of the double elimination phase defeating Callado 7-1 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Emilyn Callado picked up Blanchette, who, after her winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Eleanor Callado, had defeated Judie Wilson 7-5 and Fanny Giroux 7-2. Menard drew Nathalie Jacob, who, after her quarterfinal loss to Corr, had defeated Toni Sakamoto 7-5 and shut out Roxanne Aucoin.

Emilyn Callado and Blanchette locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Callado to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Menard, who’d defeated Jacob 7-1.

With the hope of a Callado sister semifinal looming, Menard spoiled that with a 7-3 win over Emilyn in the quarterfinals and turned for a second shot against her sister, Eleanor in the semifinals. Menard downed her 7-4 and got a shot at Corr in the hot seat.

To her credit, Menard chalked up more racks against Corr in the finals than all four of Corr’s previous opponents, or any one opponent in both the round robin and double elimination phases. But it wasn’t nearly enough, as Corr finished the proceedings with a 7-4 win.

NAPT President Adrianne Beach thanked Elvis Joubert and his staff for their hospitality, as well as event sponsor, Turtle Rack.