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TK-FLA chalks up another one

(l to r): Tommy Kennedy, Mike Delawder and Ricardo Rodriguez

It’s been 25 years since Tommy Kennedy defeated Johnny Archer twice to win the US Open 9-Ball Championships in 1992. And he’s still bringing it, most recently, on November 11, when he chalked up his fourth win on his own J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, to go along with the two victories he recorded on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour this year. This most recent win came in a $1,000-added event that drew 34 entrants to Uncle Waldo’s in Daytona Beach, FL.
Kennedy had to come from the loss side, albeit for only a single match, to take this one, and split two matches against long-time, familiar adversary Mike Delawder. Kennedy had defeated Ricardo Rodriguez 9-4 to get into the hot seat match as Delawder was sending David Grossman over 9-2. Delawder claimed the hot seat 9-7 and waited for Kennedy to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Rodriguez picked up Anthony Meglino, who’d defeated Chris Argenta and Gary Gilsinan, both 7-2 to reach him. Grossman drew Jim Sandaler, who’d eliminated Omar Alli 7-1, and David Singleton 7-3.
Grossman punctuated his determination to move on with a shutout over Sandaler. Rodriguez, in the meantime, joined him in the quarterfinals with a 7-3 win over Meglino. Rodriguez then got the second shot against Kennedy that he was looking for with a 7-4 win over Grossman in that quarterfinal match.
TK-FLA, though, defeated Rodriguez a second time; this time, 7-3 to earn himself a second shot at Delawder in the hot seat. By mutual agreement, they agreed to make it a race to 7, and Kennedy won it 7-3 to claim the event title.
As tour director, Kennedy thanked the Condercuri family (father Tony, wife Patty and son, AJ), owners of Uncle Waldo’s for their hospitality, and sponsors J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Mueller Billiard Supplies and He also thanked Anthonies Fisher and Meglino for their assistance throughout the tournament. The next stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for January 20, 2018, will be hosted by Park Avenue Billiards in Orange Park, FL.  

Osipov stops a bid by O’Callaghan and goes undefeated on the Predator Tour

Abel Rosario, Chickie Romero, Gary O’Callaghan, Not pictured – Alex Osipov

Alex Osipov has spent most of his pool career alternating between stops on the New York-based Predator and Tri-State Tours. According to our records, he’s chalked up two wins on the Predator Tour and cashed in 32 events on both tours over the past six years. His last win was recorded in January, last year. He added a third win on the Predator Tour on the weekend of September 16-17, navigating his way through a field of 73, stopping a loss-side bid by Gary O’Callaghan, and going undefeated to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Advancing to a winners’ side semifinal, Osipov faced Brooke Meyer, who had just sent his eventual opponent in the finals, Callaghan, to the loss side. Chickie Romero, in the meantime, squared off against Kris Bisram. Osipov downed Meyer, double hill, and in the hot seat faced Romero, who’d sent Bisram west 7-3. Osipov sent Romero to a semifinal match against O’Callaghan 8-6, and waited in the hot seat for O’Callaghan to complete his loss-side run.
That five-match, loss-side run began with an 8-5 win over Omar Alli, and a double hill win over Mike Salerno, which set O’Callaghan up to face Meyer. Bisram drew Abel Rosario, who’d eliminated Xavier Romero 7-1 and Chris Kelly, double hill.
O’Callaghan and Rosario advanced to the quarterfinals; O’Callaghan, double hill over Meyer, and Rosario advancing by virtue of a forfeit by Bisram. O’Callaghan then downed Rosario 8-5 in those quarterfinals, before winning his third, loss-side, double hill fight, against Romero in the semifinals.
Osipov, though, stopped the run that would have given O’Callaghan his second September win on the Predator Tour (he won the September 2-3 stop at Steinway Billiards). Osipov claimed the event title with a 7-4 win in the finals.
The Predator Tour also hosted both a Second and Third Chance, single elimination tournament. The Second Chance drew 14 entrants and was won by Kevin Shin in a double hill final victory over Thomas Schreiber. Steven Molital and Eddie Kunz finished in the tie for third place. Mike Salerno picked up the win in the 12-entrant Third Chance tournament, downing Max Watanabe, double hill, in the finals. Erick Carrasco and Ambi Estevez finished in the tie for third place.  

Reyes stops loss side challenge by Villalobos and goes undefeated on Predator Amateur stop

Nayan Roy, Arturo Reyes, Riyadh Benghalem & Rene Villalobos

Arturo Reyes has chalked up a number of event victories on the Tri-State Tour over the past six or seven years, but until the weekend of March 5-6, this year, he had yet to win one (as far as our records indicate) on the Predator Tour. He came close last June, when he was runner-up to Tony Liang on a Predator stop, and had finished fourth in the 2015 Empire State Championships.
This past weekend, Reyes worked his way undefeated through of field of 72, on hand for the 'double (ranking) points,' $1,000-added event, hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside, NY. He was challenged in the finals by Rene Villalobos, who, following a defeat at the hands of Nayan Roy, won five on the loss side for the right to face Reyes in the finals.
Nayan Roy moved on from his defeat of Villalobos to a winners' side semifinal versus Irene Kim, as Reyes was challenged by Omar Alli.  Reyes moved on to the hot seat match after a 7-5 win over Alli. He was joined by Roy, who'd dispatched Kim to the loss side 8-4. Reyes claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Villalobos.
On the loss side, Kim drew Villalobos, who'd opened his loss-side trek with a double hill win over Adrian Daniel and 7-4 victory over Jessica Lynn. Alli picked up Riyadh Benghalem, who'd eliminated James Stevens 7-3 and Elvis Rodriguez 7-2. Villalobos and Benghalem handed Kim and Alli their second straight losses; Villalobos double hill over Kim, and Benghalem, almost double hill (7-5) over Alli.
Villalobos then downed Benghalem in the quarterfinals 7-3. Roy gave Villalobos a run for his semifinal, re-match money, forcing a case game, but Villalobos prevailed for a shot at Reyes. Reyes completed his undefeated run with a 9-7 victory in the finals to claim his first Amateur Predator title. 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Sammy An and his staff at the Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, National Amateur Pool League, Ozone Billiards, Delta-13 racks, Gotham City Technologies,, The DeVito Team, Billiards Press, AZ Billiards, Billiards Digest, and Pool & Billiard Magazine. He also thanked William Finnegan, Mandy Wu, and Irene Kim for their assistance with the tournament, as well as his wife, Gail Robles.

Youngster Rice goes undefeated to capture 1st Annual Gotham City Classic

Arturo Reyes, Dave Ascolese, Scott Simonetti, Owner Kevin Buckley and Thomas Rice

Thomas Rice, 15, must have been wondering whether by granting an interview to a reporter from Billiards Digest last October, whether he'd put a curse on his own fledgling pool career. He'd gone into the interview with wins on both the Tri-State Tour (May) and Predator Tour (September), and though he continued to be 'in the money,' regularly, on both tours, once his Tour Spotting profile appeared in the pages of Billiards Digest last November, the event victories stopped.
Until the weekend of November 15-16, when he went undefeated to win the 1st Annual Gotham City Classic in his home room, Gotham City Billiards. Held under the auspices of the Tri-State Tour, the Open/B Class event, which drew 64 entrants, was organized by room owners Kevin and Isabel Buckley, who added $6,000 to the purse, contributed green fees, and purchased four, 35" solid trophies for the event's top four finishers. 
Tour representatives described the Buckley's efforts as "one of the most generous contributions to a tournament" that they had ever witnessed.
"It exemplifies their support for the tour's amateurs," they said. "This is not like league organizations that make money off of players. It cost them to do all this. They contributed the entire room to the event and went first class for everybody."
Following victories over Stewart Warnock, Omar Alli, Miguel Laboy and Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Rice met up with Keith Diaz in a winners' side semifinal. Dave Ascolese faced Arturo Reyes in the other. Rice's eventual finals opponent, Scott Simonetti, had been sent to the loss side by Ascolese, and was already at work on the five-match, loss-side streak that would put him up against Rice.
Rice got into the hot seat match when Diaz forfeited. Ascolese sent Reyes to the loss side 7-3. Rice downed Ascolese 7-5 and waited in the hot seat for Simonetti to complete his loss-side run.
Simonetti, in the meantime, got by LaBoy 7-4 and Shivam Gupta in a double hill match, to draw Diaz. Reyes picked up Omar Alli, who'd defeated Greg Ackerman 7-5 and Delimelkonoglu 7-2. Simonetti and Reyes advanced; Simonetti by Diaz forfeit and Reyes with a 7-3 win over Alli. Simonetti then defeated Reyes 7-5 in the quarterfinals, and moved right into the finals against Rice, when illness caused Ascolese to forfeit the semifinals.
Rice took a quick 4-0 lead in the finals. Simonetti got on the board with a game, and they traded racks to 5-3. Rice completed his undefeated run 8-3, and chalked up his first Tri-State victory in over a year.
Tour representatives were effusive in their praise and thanks to Isabel and Kevin Buckley for their continuing hospitality and support of the tour and its players. They also thanked Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Bartron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel for their sponsorship. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for November 22, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, NY.

Alli dodges lady ‘bullets’ to go undefeated on Tri-State Tour

Kim Meyer-Gabia, Omar Alli and Rhio Anne Flores

Omar Alli faced five opponents and played six matches during his recent undefeated run through a field of 34 entrants, on hand for the August 23 stop on the Tri-State Tour. The first three were male, the last two were female – Rhio Anne Flores and Kim Meyer-Gabia; two of the tour's toughest, having finished fourth and sixth among the tour's top 36 women in the 2013-2014 season. The $1,000-added event on Saturday was hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 
Following victories over Juan Guzman, Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, and Lidio Ramierez, Alli ran into his first lady, Flores, in a winners' side semifinal match. The other (Meyer-Gabia), in the meantime, squared off against Tony Ignomirello. Alli prevailed over Flores 7-6, and in the battle for the hot seat, faced Meyer-Gabia, who'd defeated Ignomirello 6-5. Alli sent Meyer-Gabia to a semifinal matchup against Flores, and waited in the hot seat for her to return.
Flores had moved to the loss side and for starters, drew Ed Culhane, who'd defeated Ramierez 7-5 and Chumreon Sutcharitakul 8-4 to reach her. Ignomirello picked up T.J. Aguis, who'd gotten by Christine Pross 6-4 and Bob Toomey 6-5. 'Annie' gave up only a single rack to Culhane, and moved into the quarterfinals against Aguis, who'd eliminated Ignomirello 6-3. 
Two close, double hill matches followed, both of them won by the ladies. Flores downed Aguis in the quarterfinals and was defeated herself by the same score in the semifinals against Meyer-Gabia, who earned a second shot against Alli. It was a shot that wasn't fired. Alli and Meyer-Gabia opted out of a final match due to the lateness of the hour, and split the top two prizes. Alli, as the undefeated player, laid claim to the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of The Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Batron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for August 30-31, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan, NY.

Strickland takes Open Predator event; Alli takes Amateur title

Earl Strickland

Last weekend (March 29-30), Chris Derewonski came back from a loss in the hot seat match to defeat Mike Harrington in the finals of the Predator Amateur event at Gotham City Billiards. One week later (April 5-6), he was in the finals again, having followed the same path, only this time, he was playing in the Open/Pro event and his hot seat and finals opponent was Earl Strickland. Strickland defeated Derewonski twice to win the $500-added Open/Pro event that drew 12 entrants to Strickland's home room, Steinway Billiards, in Astoria, NY. On the $500-added Amateur side that drew 72 entrants, Omar Alli went undefeated to take home the top prize. 
Strickland, who'd finished third in the March 29-30 Predator stop, went undefeated through the short field, arriving at his first meeting against Derewonski, after a 7-2 win over Zion Zvi. Derewonski, in the meantime, defeated Jorge Rodriguez, who'd been the hot seat occupant and eventual runner-up in the March 29-30 stop, 7-3. Derewonski battled Strickland to double hill in the winners' side final, but the Pearl prevailed.
Zvi and Rodriguez moved to the losers' bracket, where they picked up Mike Yednak and Tony Robles, respectively. Yednak had eliminated Koka Davladze 7-3 and Steve Wright 7-5. Robles got by Jerry Tarantola 7-1 and survived a double hill fight versus Eddie Culhane. Zvi downed Yednak 7-5, and in the quarterfinals faced Rodriguez, who'd defeated Robles 7-2.
Rodriguez and Zvi fought tooth and nail to double hill before Rodriguez prevailed to get a shot at Derewonski. Derewonski and Rodriguez went double hill, too, but Derewonski came out on top for a second shot at Strickland, waiting for him in the hot seat. Strickland sealed the deal 9-4 to claim the Open/Pro title.
In the Amateur event, Omar Alli, looking to improve on his runner-up finish on the tour in early March, advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Enoch Hooper, as Eric Grassman was sending Billy Santiago to the losers' bracket 7-6. Alli dominated the winners' side final, winning it 8-1.
Hooper moved to the losers' bracket and picked up Kirill Safronoz, who'd defeated Ray Feliciano 7-2 and George Poltorak 7-4 to reach him. Santiago drew Miguel Laboy, who'd eliminated Shawn Sookhai 7-2 and Junior Sanchez 7-5. Hooper advanced to the quarterfinals 7-4 over Safronoz, and was met by Laboy, who'd defeated Santiago 7-5. Hooper took a page out of the Omar Alli 'hot seat book' and defeated Laboy 8-1.
Grassman ended Hooper's short, loss-side winning streak in a double hill semifinal, and then, put up something of a fight in his re-match against Alli. Alli, though, stayed on top and won it 8-5 to claim the Amateur event title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as New York City Grind, while welcoming Ozone Billiards to the sponsorship ranks. Selected matches on the tour stop were broadcast under the auspices of AZBTv.

Rochefort goes undefeated to win Predator Amateur stop

Vincent Rochefort

France's Vincent Rochefort won his first Predator Amateur tour event with an undefeated run through 71 entrants on the weekend of March 8-9. Rochefort had to stop a nine-match, loss-side winning streak by Omar Alli, looking for his second win on the Predator Tour, to complete the job. The $500-added event was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, NY.
Rochefort's trip to the winners' circle was almost derailed by Chris Derewonski in one of the winners' side semifinals. Derewonski battled him to the hill, before giving way to advance Rochefort to the hot seat match. Josh Friedberg, in the meantime, defeated Kapriel Delimelkonoglu 7-3 to join Rochefort in the winners' side final. Rochefort sent Friedberg to the semifinals 7-5, and waited on Alli.
Alli, sent to the loss side by Steve Callo, chalked up four wins before running into Callo a second time. He defeated Callo 7-5, and then, Joe Gibbons 7-4 to pick up Delimelkonoglu. Derewonski drew Laszlo Kovacs, who'd defeated Jimmy Acosta 7-5 and Brook Meyer 7-4.
Alli and Kovacs handed Delimelkonoglu and Derewonski their second straight loss in identical 7-4 victories and faced each other in the quarterfinals. Alli prevailed 7-5 and then, just did survive a double hill match versus Friedberg in the semifinals. Rochefort, though, was on his game and ended Alli's loss-side winning streak with a 7-3 win in the finals. 

Dy comes back from semifinals to win Empire State Amateur Championships

Like the concurrently-run Empire State Open Championships (see separate story), the 6th Annual Empire State Amateur Championships saw a player (Marco Dy) come back from the semifinals to defeat the hot seat occupant (Mike Hertz). Unlike the Open event, none of the Amateur event's final 12 players were among the final 12 in 2013. Like the Open event, the $1,500-added Amateur tournament drew the exact number of entrants it had drawn in 2013 (104), to the same location, Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
Advancing to the winners' side semifinals this year were Roberto Mendoza, who faced Dy, and Chris Brooks, who met up with Hertz. Hertz and Dy moved into the hot seat match with identical 7-2 wins over Brooks and Mendoza. Hertz claimed the hot seat with a 7-4 win and waited for Dy to come back.
On the loss side, Brooks met up with Randy Fisher, who'd defeated John Lazo 7-3 and survived a double hill fight versus Omar Alli, to reach him. Mendoza drew Romeo Singh, who'd defeated both Dave Shlemperis and Jimmy Acosta 7-5. Brooks and Mendoza got right back to work; Brooks downing Fisher in a double hill match, while Mendoza was busy eliminating Singh 7-2.
Two straight double hill matches followed, with Mendoza defeating Brooks in the quarterfinals, and Dy ending Mendoza's day in the semifinals. In the finals, Dy doubled the lead by which Hertz had defeated him in the hot seat (7-4), claiming the Empire State Amateur Championship title with a decisive 9-3 win.

Strickland downs Can twice to take Predator Open; Hagan wins Amateur event

Earl Strickland

Earl Strickland got by Wang Can twice; once in the battle for the hot seat, and again in the finals, to go undefeated on the January 19 stop on the Predator Tour (Open/Pro event). In a concurrently-run Amateur event, Tom Hagan came back from a defeat in the hot seat match versus Bryan Toolsee to meet and defeat him in the finals. The $500-added Open/Pro event drew 15 entrants, while the $500-added Amateur tournament drew 61; both to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY.
Strickland and Can's first meeting followed Can's shutout over Omar Alli among the winners' side final four, and Strickland's 7-2 over Tony Robles. Strickland got into the hot seat 7-4 and waited on Can's return.
Robles moved over and met up with Jayson Shaw, who'd defeated Emily Duddy 7-1 and Yuri Kisneresain 7-2 to reach him. Alli drew Zion Zvi, who'd survived two straight double hill matches, versus Mike Nikolaev and Mhet Vergara. Robles eliminated Shaw, double hill, while Zvi ended Alli's day 7-3. Robles then defeated Zvi 7-5, before having his loss-side bid for a Strickland re-match derailed by Can 7-4.
All business, Strickland took command of the final match against Can (who apparently couldn't). The Pearl gave up only a single rack to claim the Open/Pro event title.
In the Amateur event, like Strickland and Can, Tom Hagan and Bryan Toolsee met twice; hot seat and finals, only with a different result. They'd gotten by their winners' side semifinals opponents (Toolsee against Kapriel Delimelkonoglu and Hagan versus Victor Nau) by the same 7-4 score. Toolsee got into the hot seat 8-2, and waited on Hagan's return.
On the loss side, Nau ran into Dave Shlemperis, who'd gotten by Eddie Culhane and Annie Flores, both 7-4. Delimelkonoglu picked up youngster Thomas Rice, who'd defeated Dan Saraguna 7-5 and James Stevens 7-4. Delimelkonoglu got back on the winning track with a 7-2 win over Rice. Nau's day came to an end, when Shlemperis eliminated him 7-4.
Shlemperis then did likewise to Delimelkonoglu, eliminating him 7-4 in the quarterfinals. Shlemperis put up a fight, forcing a deciding 13th game in the semifinals, but Hagan prevailed for a second shot against Toolsee. He took full advantage, defeating Toolsee 10-8 to claim the event title.

Karmoeddien comes from the loss side to take down Kennedy and win first Tri-State

Dennis Kenedy, Akbar Karmoeddien and Marco Costello

Two weeks ago, Dennis Kennedy had to forego a finals re-match against Scott Bannon and missed an opportunity to chalk up a second Tri-State win. On Saturday, December 21, Kennedy was sitting in the hot seat, looking, once again, to chalk up a Tri-State win. This time, Akbar Karmoeddien, whom he'd sent to the loss side, came back and made him a runner-up for the second time this month. The $750-added event drew 24 entrants to House of Billiards in Staten Island, NY.
They met for the first time among the winners' side final four, with Kennedy advancing to the hot seat match 6-5. Joining Kennedy in that hot seat match was Marco Costello, who'd sent Matthew Harricharan west 7-4. Kennedy chalked up his final win of the day and got into the hot seat 9-5 over Costello.
Karmoeddien, in the meantime, opened up his three-match march back to the finals against Steve Persaud, who'd defeated Joe Varvaro 6-5 and Paulo Valverde 6-4.  Harricharan picked up Omar Alli, winner of the December 14 stop on the tour, who'd defeated Keith Adamik 7-5 and Basdeo Sookhai 7-3.
Karmoeddien advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Persaud, as Alli made it clear he was looking for a second straight win on the tour with a shutout over Harricharan.  Karmoeddien ended that bid with a 7-3 win in the quarterfinals and earned his second shot at Kennedy with a shutout over Costello in the semifinals.
Karmoeddien and Kennedy fought back and forth, trading racks to a 3-3 tie; Kennedy with the initiative, and Karmoeddien coming back to tie each time. Karmoeddien then won two straight to go ahead 5-3, before Kennedy came right back with two of his own to knot the score at 5-5. Karmoeddien ended it right there, winning three straight to complete his first win on the Tri-State Tour.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at House of Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State, scheduled for December 29, will be hosted by The Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.