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Kennedy and Meglino split the top two prizes on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour

Tommy Kennedy, Anthony Meglino and Justin Gilsinan

They were the last two standing at the season finale of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour in December, 2019 and this past weekend (March 5-6), they were the last two standing at the $1,000-added, second stop on the 2022 Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, which drew 38 entrants to Cue-Phoria Billiards and Café at Winter Park, FL. Neither of the events featured a final match because at the end, reported as 3 a.m. in both cases, Tommy Kennedy in the hot seat and Anthony Meglino, coming back from a few matches on the loss side (both times), opted out of a final and split the top two prizes. Kennedy, in the hot seat, was the official winner both times.

It was, thanks in part to the pandemic, Kennedy’s first win since that 2019 event on the same tour. He’d won an event on his own Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour in August of that year. Meglino, on the other hand, had chalked up six event victories in that time frame, four of them on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, and three of them in 2021, which turned into his best recorded earnings year, to date. Meglino is well on his way to making 2022 better than last year at the tables.

Kennedy opened his campaign with wins over Michael Anderson, David Nguyen and Raymond Linares, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against former tour director of the New York City area’s Predator Pro Am Tour and now, transplanted Floridian competitor, Tony Robles, who, in the preceding winners’ side quarterfinal, had sent Meglino to the loss side, double hill. In the meantime, Justin Gilsinan, winner of this past January’s Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championship, had defeated Michael McGuire, Brent Mireles and KC Donahey to meet up with Justin Toye in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kennedy sent Robles to the loss side 7-5 and in the hot seat match, was joined by Gilsinan, who’d survived a double hill battle over Toye. Kennedy claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Gilsinan.

On the loss side, Robles picked up a rematch against co-tour director of the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, Bobby Garza, who, after that 7-1 loss had embarked on a five-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Donahey 5-3 and Monthep Hongsyok, double hill. It was Toye who picked up the battling-back-to-the-finals Meglino, who’d followed his loss to Robles with wins over Orlando Dixon 5-1 and Raymond Linares 7-3.

Garza and Robles locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Garza to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Meglino, who’d defeated Toye 7-3. Meglino allowed Garza just a single rack in those quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals against Gilsinan.

Gilsinan didn’t give up his potential second shot against Kennedy in the hot seat easily. He fought for it right down to the 13th deciding game, but Meglino closed out what proved to be the last match of the event. He and Kennedy agreed on the split as the sun was painting thin, early colors in the horizon skies over Winter Park, FL.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Faheem Zia and the staff at Cue-Phoria Billiards and Cafe for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Diamond Billiards Products, Kamui Brand, Stitch It To Me Embroidery, AZ Billiards, Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, Central Florida USA Pool League, Jamison Daniels, Eastern Billiards and Andy Cloth. Phillips went on to thank her co-tour director Garza for providing the Lights Out Streaming, sponsored by Jacksonville Roofing and Andy Cleary for his graphics. She also noted and thanked Brent Mireles, Jimmy Antonietta and Tony Robles for their commentary on the stream.

The next event on the Predator Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 9-10, will be a $1,500-added event hosted by Brewlands North in Lakeland, FL.

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Beal wins five on the loss side, downs Dixon in finals of Sunshine State Predator Pro Am stop

Dale Leonard, Gwen Sharpton and Kaylee McIntosh

McIntosh goes undefeated to win 2nd stop on Ladies Tour

The June 12-13 weekend on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour featured a regular stop (#5) on the tour, which allowed only players with a Fargo rate of 575 or less, as well as a second stop on the recently-instituted ladies tour. The $750-added ($350 from a Predator raffle) 5th stop on the tour was won by Nate Beal, who advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal before being sent to the loss side, from which he mounted a five-match winning streak that took him into the finals. He defeated Orlando Dixon in those finals to claim the event title. The event drew 64 entrants to QBall Billiards in Jacksonville, FL.

Not content with her runner-up finish (to Jeannie Seaver) in the first stop of the Predator Pro Am Ladies Tour back in March, Kaylee McIntosh returned for the tour’s second stop, run concurrently with the tour’s regular stop, and went undefeated to win it. The $400-added ladies event drew 29 entrants to the same location.

McIntosh lost only three racks to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Nicolle Cuellar (one of four women who competed in the ‘575 or less’ event, as well). McIntosh gave up no racks to Carolyn Tews, two to Alana Sanchez, and one to Karen Pluto. Her opponent in both the hot seat match and finals, Gwendolyn Sharpton, gave up seven to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match versus Stephanie Payne. 

McIntosh got into the hot seat match without giving up a rack to Cuellar. Sharpton gave up five to Payne and joined her. McIntosh claimed the hot seat with a third shutout and a 92% game-winning average.

On the loss side, Cuellar picked up Alana Sanchez, who followed her loss at the hands of McIntosh with four loss-side wins, including recent victories over Christina Lobello 5-3 and a double hill battle versus Jenn Berzinski. Payne drew Dale Leonard, who was also in the midst of a four-match, loss-side streak that had just mirrored Sanchez’ efforts by eliminating Alyssa Howell 5-3 and surviving a double hill fight against Lisa Anderson.

By identical 5-3 scores, Cuellar and Leonard advanced to the quarterfinals, where Leonard took a step further, ending Cuellar’s run 5-3. Leonard, in turn, was defeated by Sharpton 5-2 in the semifinals. Sharpton then chalked up as many racks against McIntosh in the finals as all of McIntosh’s previous opponents combined, but it wasn’t enough. McIntosh completed her undefeated run with a 9-5 win in the finals.

Nate Beal, Darren Frost and Orlando Dixon

Beal wins stop #5 with a 62% game-winning average

In contrast to what looks (on paper) like an easy time at the tables for Kaylee McIntosh in the Ladies tournament, was quite the opposite for Nate Beal in the regular 5th stop on the tour. Beal won three matches on the winners’ side of the bracket, downing Benjamin Tuck 7-5, Rob McLaren 7-3 and Robert Goolsky, double hill, before being defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Darren Frost 7-5. Beal moved to the loss side, sporting a 55% game-winning percentage. Frost advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Marcos Bielostozky. Orlando Dixon, in the meantime, got by Jenn Wilson, Justin Lamont, Jimmy Ripley and James Marcum to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal versus Nicolle Cuellar.

Frost and Bielostozky fought to double hill before Frost advanced to the hot seat match. Dixon joined him after downing Cuellar 7-4. It was Dixon who claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Frost.

On the loss side, it was Cuellar who had the misfortune to run into Beal, who was two matches into his five-match, loss-side trip to the finals. Bielostozky picked up Logan Lane, who was working on a seven-match loss side streak that would take him as far as Beal.

Lane downed Bielostozky 7-5, as Beal was dealing with Cuellar 7-1. Beal put a stop to Lane’s loss-side run 7-3 in the quarterfinals and then, defeated Frost 7-3 in the semifinals. He came into the finals having improved his game winning average from the 55% it was when he moved to the loss side to 62%. It served him well, as he completed his first major event victory 9-6 over Dixon.

Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the ownership and staff at QBall Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Northeast Florida USA Pool League, Triple G Fence Company, Stitch it to me Embroidery and AZBilliards. They extended special thanks to Poison Cues for a raffle cue for the ladies event and to Leah Nusbaum for her assistance at the dual events. 

The next stop on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 26-27, will celebrate the tour’s 5th anniversary with a $1,600-added event, hosted by Brewlands Carrolwood in Tampa, FL.