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Shaw wins final battle versus Appleton in Open NineBall Pro Players Championship

Jayson Shaw

Nearly 2,000 entrants, with some event crossovers, compete in Amateur events

As of March 31, three weeks before the Super Billiards Expo opened its doors, the Diamond Open NineBall Professional Players Championship was designated as an Official Nineball World Ranking event, and while it did not literally draw its entrance field from everywhere, there was a very evident sense of international competition. The final 16 featured representation from the US (five) and 11 competitors from seven foreign countries – Austria, Germany (2), Russia, the UK (2), Canada (2), the Philippines and Hong Kong (2). The international ‘feel’ of the event was most evident in what was easily among (if not “the”) most anticipated matchup of the four-day event, between the UK’s Jayson Shaw and Russia’s Fedor Gorst. The matchup, which occurred in the single-elimination quarterfinals, lived up to its billing, as the two battled to double hill before Shaw advanced. More on this later, along with the final matchup between Shaw and Darren Appleton, which waited until the 17th of its potential 21 games before Shaw pulled away to win the next two and claim the title. 

There were quite a few “wish I coulda been there” matches throughout the event’s four days, up to and including matches among the final 16, which were, for obvious reasons, witnessed by the SBE’s largest crowds in the Pro arena. Pre-single-elimination, there was the double hill battle between Shaw and Billy Thorpe, which moved Shaw into the final 16, the Fedor Gorst and Ralf Souquet (new school/old school) match that sent Gorst to the final 16, and Appleton’s two straight double hill matches; one win (Jeff Beckley) and one loss (Mhet Vergara), which sent “Dynamite” to the loss side, where a single win, over Bucky Souvanthong, sent him (Appleton) to the final 16. And, as always, any match featuring Earl Strickland as a competitor is always entertaining, whether because of exuberant antics or just plain rock-solid shooting.

The Shaw/Gorst match followed a Shaw “Sweet 16” victory over John Morra 11-6 and a Gorst win over Thorsten Hohmann 11-8. Gorst opened with two straight racks and kept that as a minimum lead until rack #17. By the 12th rack, Gorst was leading by four. Two straight racks that featured Shaw dropping a combination shot that dropped the 9-ball cut that lead in half. Gorst went three-up at 9-6, but Shaw came right back with a break and run that reduced it to two again.

Off a Gorst break, Shaw narrowed the lead to one until that 17th rack, when Shaw came within one. Shaw broke the 18th, but turned the table over briefly, before, with a second chance, he dropped a 3-9 combination that yielded the match’s first tie. Gorst dropped two balls on his break, but Shaw came through to get on the hill with his first lead of the match. Gorst, with a scratch-on-the-break assist from Shaw, made it interesting by winning the 20th, double hill rack.

Gorst broke dry in the deciding rack, but Shaw turned the table back over to Gorst, who promptly scratched shooting at the 2-ball. Shaw ran to the 8-ball and Gorst conceded the game and match. 

Moving into the semifinals, Shaw drew Mario He, who’d earlier defeated Jonathan Pinegar 11-7 and Oscar Dominguez 11-9. Appleton’s path to the finals from the final 16 started out against Earl Strickland. He got by him 11-6 and then downed Joseph Spence 11-3. In the semifinals, Appleton drew Billy Thorpe, who’d recently eliminated Robbie Capito 11-9 and Souquet 11-8. 

Shaw downed He 11-7, as Appleton was busy dispatching Thorpe 11-4. The all-UK battle was on.

In the early going of the finals, it appeared as though neither of them was going to win a rack off their own break. Appleton won the lag, broke dry and Shaw ran the table to take a 1-0 lead. Shaw broke, dropping two balls and scratching. Appleton set up a 1-9 combination to tie it up. They went back and forth like this, winning the other’s break to a single game lead for Shaw at 4-3.

Shaw broke the 8th rack, dropped one, and after giving the table back to Appleton briefly, won the rack, his first off his own break, to take the game’s first two-game lead. He made it a three-game lead (his first of two), before Appleton chalked up two in a row to make it 6-5. Shaw used a terrific jump shot at the 2-ball to maintain his run of rack #12. On Appleton’s break of rack #13, he dropped one ball, but almost immediately gave the table to Shaw, who missed hitting the 1-ball, completely. Shaw saw an obvious 1-9 combination awaiting Appleton’s arrival at the table, so, gentleman that he was, he picked up the cue ball and placed it in the position it needed to be for Appleton to make the combination. He did so without handling the cue ball Shaw had set for him.

Shaw dropped two balls on the break of rack #14 and used another terrific jump shot to jumpstart his third win off his own break and then, off Darren’s break, established his second three-rack lead at 9-6. Appleton fought right back, winning the next two and including his own terrific jump shot at the 1-ball that started his 8th game win.

Ahead by a single rack at 9-8, Shaw broke and ran the 18th (his fourth win off his own break) to reach the hill first. Darren broke the 19th rack, sinking one ball, but couldn’t see the 1-ball. He pushed (the one and only time that happened all match) and Shaw finished the game to claim the event title. 

Amateur events draw 35 shy of 2,000 entrants

Not including the two junior events for ages 17/Under and 12/under, the total entrants for which were not recorded, the nine amateur events of the 2022 SBE drew a total of 1,965 entrants (with some crossover between events). This brought the total number of participating pool players to 2,101. The two Pro events (73 Open and 63 Women) thus represented just 6% of the total number of players who competed this year. Trying to detail 9 events, especially the 996-entrant Open Amateur would be unwieldy, so we offer some information about and congratulations to the 94% percent who were the largest participating contingent of pool players at the 2022 SBE.

6-Ball Amateur Players Championship (200) – 1st Danny Mastermaker, 2nd Fred Goodman III, 3rd Jared Demalia/Daniel Dagotdot

Early Bird Super Seniors (58) – 1st Ike Runnels, 2nd Martin Ciccia, 3rd Al Muccilli/Flaco Rodriguez

Open Amateur (996) – 1st Chris Bruner, 2nd Pat McNally, 3rd Jomax Garcia/Derick Daya

Senior Amateur (364) – 1st Raymond McNamara, 2nd Chris Sutzer, 3rd Javier Perez/Efrain Morales

Super Seniors (149) – 1st Gene Rossi, 2nd Ed Matushonek, 3rd Frank Sorriento/Ace Aughty

Women’s Amateur (166) – 1st Tina Malm, 2nd Ashley Benoit, 3rd Nicole Nester/Bethany Tate

Junior (12 & Under) – 1st Jim Powell, 2nd D’Angelo (“Jaws”) Spain, 3rd Noah Majersky, 4th Evan Demelo

Junior (18 & Under) – 1st Brent Worth, 2nd Payne McBride, 3rd Landon Hollingsworth, 4th Yan Pena

ProAm BarBox (32) – 1st Joe Dupuis, 2nd Alan Rolan Rosado, 3rd Bart Czapla/Joey Tate

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Van Boening Pulls Off Historic Comeback To Book Last 16 Spot

A drained Shane Van Boening (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Shane Van Boening produced a comeback for the ages as he came from 10-3 down to defeat Hall of Famer and former World Champion Mika Immonen 11-10 to reach the Last 16 of the 2022 World Pool Championship at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes. Coverage live on Sky Sports in the UK/Ireland, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria as well as Viaplay and networks worldwide.

Scores and Bracket

Van Boening will face Chinese Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi who downed Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw in a hill-hill finish as action heated up dramatically. Shaw had taken the early lead, but it was Pin Yi who hit back to lead 8-6 before reaching the hill first at 10-7. The Brit was never down and out though after a huge fluke on the 9 ball after he kicked the 2 ball into it and in. Pin Yi though is a former World Champion, and he showed the qualities that won him that title in 2015 to beat Shaw by a slender margin to meet Van Boening next.

Elsewhere, last year’s runner-up Omar Al Shaheen made a remarkable comeback from 10-1 down to beat Daniel Guttenberger in the last rack in the Last 32 before making lightwork of Masato Yoshioka in the Last 16 to set up a clash with Oliver Szolnoki who reached the semi-finals in 2021.

Two-time champion Thorsten Hohmann will meet fellow two-timer Albin Ouschan in the opening Last 16 match tomorrow morning on Table 1 after Hohmann knocked out Live 2023 Nineball World No.1 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz in the afternoon and Ko Ping Hang in the evening. Ouschan meanwhile got the better of Nicholas De Leon and Norweigan Mats Schjetne who gave Ouschan one of his toughest matches of the tournament so far sneaking through 11-8.

Darren Appleton keeps rolling back the years overcoming Tomasz Kaplan and Lo Ho Sum only dropping three racks in the process. The former World Champion will face his sternest test to date though tomorrow against the Killer, Joshua Filler. There was drama wherever you looked at the Marshall Arena and Naoyuki Oi‘s match with Oscar Dominguez for a place in the Last 16 delivered.

Oi had cantered in front against Oscar Dominguez at 8-1 before it was the American who reached the hill first with Oi trailing by two racks at 10-8. The Japanese stalwart though showed why he renowned as one of the world’s best to book a Last 32 spot against the last remaining Pole, Konrad Juszczyszyn. Juszczyszyn proved no match for Oi who had found his groove though and now meets Chang Jung-Lin who slew Niels Feijen.

Feijen, a previous winner of the tournament himself, was frozen to his chair and 6-0 before he knew it after losing the lag, but he fought back to 6-4. It did prove to be all in vain though as Jung-Lin pushed back to make it two Chinese Taipei players in the Last 16.

SATURDAY 10, APRIL 11 am 

Table 1 – Where to Watch 

Albin Ouschan vs Thorsten Hohmann

Shane Van Boening vs Ko Pin Yi

Table 2 – Live on Matchroom Pool YouTube 

Joshua Filler vs Darren Appleton

Naoyuki Oi vs Chang Jung-Lin

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

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Pehlivanovic Upsets Ko on Day Two of Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Sanjin Pehlivanovic

When it comes to the game of 10-ball, Sanjin Pehlivanovic has been a force to be reckoned with recently – especially in Europe.

Earlier this month, the 20-year-old Bosnian won the 10-ball division of this year’s European Championships and finished second to former World 9-Ball champion Fedor Gorst in the 10-ball division of the Midwest Open in Ohio. Last year, Pehlivanovic finished in the top of the Predator Austria Open while making his presence felt on the EuroTour, finishing in the top 10 of both the Lasko and Sankt Johann in Pongau Opens.

Tuesday, during the second day of play at Predator’s World 10-Ball Championships, the young Bosnian’s showed the versatility and perseverance which has helped him earn the junior European Pool Championship eight times, as Pehlivanovic gutted out a hill-hill victory against 2019 World 10-Ball Champion Ping-Chung Ko at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Bosnian will now face Qatar’s

Ali Al Obaidii today at 10 a.m. local time while Ko moves over to the one-loss side to face Ernesto Dominguez.

The two competitors played nip-and-tuck throughout the first half of the match, with neither player holding more than a one-game advantage. With the scored tied 5-5, Pehlivanovic broke and ran to climb ahead by a game, then returned to the table in the next game when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break. When the Bosnian misplayed a safety on the 4 ball, it appeared Ko was positioned to tie the match but left the object ball in the jaws of the corner pocket. Pehlivanovic used a tight cut shot on the 5 ball and a straight in draw shot on the 6 ball to clear the table, open up the first two-game lead of the match and pull to within a single rack of victory.

Except that Ko wasn’t in the mood to go quietly, using a safety exchange on the 5 ball in the next rack to pull to within a single game again at 7-6 then took advantage of a missed 5 ball by his opponent in the next rack to tie the score. When Pehlivanovic missed a combination shot on the 7 ball in the 15th and deciding game, it appeared that Ko was going to escape with a victory until he mangled cue ball position for the 6 ball, leaving a sharp cut shot into the side pocket. The young man from Chinese Taipei missed, handing the Bosnian a routine run out and an 8-7 victory.

While Pehlivanovic, who is still five months away from legally being able to drink in the United States, gave spectators a glimpse of the future, 73-year-old Jose Parica was showing that he still had plenty of game left as he battled Oscar Dominguez down to the wire before falling, 8-6.
Taking advantage of a couple of misses and adding a break-and-run, Dominguez built an early 5-2 advantage before experiencing some struggles of his own, missing a 4 ball in the eighth rack and failing to pocket a ball on the break in the following game. Parica, who was elected to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 2014, turned a three-rack deficit into a tie score but Dominguez regained the lead with a break-and-run in the 11th game. He appeared to be in position to add to his lead when Parica was unable to pocket a ball on the break until he scratched in the side pocket while working his way through the rack. Handed an open table, Parica was on the verge of tying the game again when he missed the game-winning 10 ball in the corner pocket and lifted his cue and staring at the ceiling in frustration. The Filipino continued to battle, using a bank on the 1 ball and a long straight-in shot on the 2 ball to run the rack and cut the lead to 7-6.

Standing at the table with the break and a chance to tie the score in the 14th game, Parica did not have a shot at the 1 ball and was forced to play a safety. After a lengthy safety exchange, the Hall of Famer left an opening which his opponent walked right through, running out the rack to secure the match.

In other notable matches, Shane Van Boening pitched an 8-0 shut-out against Jason Theron, only to have Theron move to the one-loss side of the bracket and eliminate Billy Thorpe, 8-3. BCA Hall of Famer Darren Appleton remained undefeated with an 8-4 victory over Sharik Sayed while Fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen defeated Corey Deuel, 8-4. Former International Open champion Jayson Shaw was upset in a hill-hill battle with Roman Hybler of the Czech Republic.

The third day of play begins at 10 a.m. local time with notable matches including Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait taking on Filipino Roberto Gomez and Shaw facing Marco Teutscher on the one-loss side while Van Boening meets Roland Garcia and Lee Vann Corteza squares off with Pin-Yi Ko on the winner’s side.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the events.

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Appleton Advances While Shaw Stunned on Day Two of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Darren Appleton

Of all of the vacation and convention destinations in the world, Las Vegas usually isn’t particularly kind to most of its visitors.

After all, most of the city’s legendary and luxurious casinos certainly aren’t able to stay open because visitors keep breaking them with big jackpots. “The house always wins,” as the saying goes.

But the city has been particularly unlucky as of late for Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton, who was winless in his two previous visits to Vegas, posting back-to-back two-and-outs before heading home.

Competing in the fourth annual Alfa Las Vegas Open this weekend, it appears his luck might be starting to change. Appleton survived back-to-back shootouts – including a sudden-death thriller against reigning United States Open Pool champion Carlo Biado – to remain unbeaten in the four-day, 192-player tournament being held at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

After an opening round bye and a 4-3 sudden death win against Duong Quoc Hoang, Appleton reached the third round where he faced off against Biado, who drew first blood when his opponent scratched on the break in the opening rack. The Hall of Famer tied the score when the Filipino failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next rack, then rattled off three more wins to seal the set, 4-1.

The following frame was practically a photo negative, as Biado capitalized on two openings left by his opponent to an early 2-0 lead before Appleton narrowed the deficit with a successful combination shot on the 10 ball in the third game. Appleton appeared to tie the set at two games each when he pocketed the 10 ball again on a combination shot, but he failed to call the 10 ball to be pocketed. What looked like a tied set resulted in Appleton essentially playing a safety on himself when the 10 ball was re-spotted, with the cue ball’s path to the 1 ball now blocked. After Appleton scratched during a safety exchange, Biado cleared the table and then added another rack to close out the set, 4-1.

After each player missed a ball in the first two innings of the shootout, both competitors executed back-to-back shots to send the set into sudden death. With the cue ball now moved back a diamond, Appleton again made back-to-back shots while Biado missed his attempt in the seventh inning to hand his opponent the victory.

Appleton will now face Pin-Yi Ko in the next round, who needed a shootout of his own to defeat Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski.

Hours earlier, Appleton’s friend and reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw wasn’t as fortunate.

Facing Dimitri Jungo of Switzerland, the two competitors battled throughout the first set, with Jungo taking an early 2-0 advantage after his opponent left openings in back-to-back games. Shaw snagged a pair of games to tie the score thanks to a successful combination shot on the 10 ball in the third rack and a Jungo miss in the next game, but handed the table back to his opponent when he scratched in the fifth game. Jungo had an opportunity to close out the set but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth game, as Shaw won back-to-back racks to seal the victory, 4-3.

The Scotsman climbed onto the scoreboard first in the second set when his opponent scratched, but Jungo would claim the next two games thanks to an unforced error by his opponent and a successful carom shot on the 10 ball in the third rack. Shaw tied the score in the fourth game after his opponent missed the 10 ball, but a missed 3 ball in the following game would relinquish the table to Jungo for the remainder of the set, as he cleared the table and then broke-and-ran to secure the set, 4-2, and send the match to a sudden death shootout.

After both competitors pocketed their opening shot of the extra frame, Shaw missed on his second attempt. Meanwhile, Jungo remained perfect throughout the deciding set, successfully executing four straight shots to pull off the upset.

In other notable matches that took place, Poland’s Wojciech Szewczyk fought back from an opening round 4-1 loss to Mika Immonen to claim the second set, 4-2, and beat the Hall of Famer in a shootout, 3-1. Spain’s Jonas Souto, who upset Shane Van Boening the day before, continued his hot play with a straight sets victory against Daniel Schneider, 4-1, 4-3. Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski defeated fellow countryman Konrad Juszczyszyn in straight sets, 4-1, 4-1 and Alex Montpellier took down Ping Han Ko in a shootout, 3-2.

Play resumes Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. local time with notable matches including Corey Deuel facing Juszczyszyn, Shane Wolford meeting Oscar Dominguez and Hunter Lombardo meeting Chris Reinhold in one-loss side matches.

Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and also on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Earl Strickland Booking Appearances Across The Country

Earl Strickland

Fans of five time US Open 9-Ball Champion, Earl Strickland, are getting more and more opportunities to hear his thoughts on the game and interact with him in their local rooms. 

In addition to his massively popular “Earl Strickland Presents” series of videos on the Billiard Network’s YouTube channel, Strickland has also been booking appearances all over the country. 

Strickland is recently back from trips to Pennsylvania, Montana, and Idaho where he appeared alongside Josh Brothers, Shane Van Boening and Oscar Dominguez. These appearances have included challenge and exhibition matches, Q&A sessions, autograph signings and private lesson opportunities from one of the top players that the game has ever seen. 

Strickland already has the following upcoming appearances booked:

March 23rd – Yale Billiards Wallingford, Connecticut
March 26th – Racks Billiards Vernon, Connecticut
August 13th – Keys Pool Hall, Winnemucca, Nevada

Earl is also scheduled to compete in the Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championship at the Super Billiards Expo, as well as the Earl Strickland Invitational Open in Montego Bay, Jamaica on July 25th – 27th.

Strickland thanked all of the fans that he has met out at the events. “I would like to take time to thank everyone involved in my exhibitions recently. It has been a blessing to me, especially after the disappointment of not being able to play for the Mosconi Cup last year. 

I also want to thank all the pool fans everywhere. Pockets billiards is a wonderful game and it excludes no one. I still play everyday and can’t get enough of it.

It’s great that I have the opportunity to work with these poolrooms because we need to help the pool rooms and pool in general. We all love this game and we have to do everything we can to keep it strong and thriving. 

Thanks again to all the pools fans.” 

If your local poolroom is interested in booking an appearance from Strickland, they can contact Diana Hoppe at (828) 674-6485. 

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Dominguez goes undefeated to claim 26th Annual ‘Swanee’ Classic at Griff’s in Vegas

Oscar Dominguez, Tim Kovacs and Ruben Bautista

In the absence of the event’s defending champion and runner-up, Shane Van Boening and Corey Deuel, the 26th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial’s 2022 champion was Oscar Dominguez, who went undefeated through a field of 64. Advancing to the hot seat against him was the 2019 winner, Max Eberle, who was ousted in the semifinals by runner-up, Ruben Bautista. The $4,000-added event was hosted by Griff’s in Las Vegas.

As is always the case, the annual memorial to someone who is remembered in the pool community, leads to conversations about him. Jay “Swanee” Swanson, referred to as a ‘Gentle Giant,’ was, by all accounts, one of the best ‘money’ players of all time, before he passed in 1996. In June, 2008, a Forum thread was initiated on AZBilliards, entitled “Tell me about Jay Swanson.” If you weren’t at the tournament and/or know nothing about the man, use the opportunity and read that thread, in lieu of a moment of silence in his honor, to learn what many in the existing pool community already know. 

As it turned out, Oscar Dominguez’ undefeated seven-match march to the finish line of the “Swanee” Memorial was not the longest string of wins at the event. Jordan Holman also had a seven-match winning streak, in between his opening match loss and his final loss in the battles for 5th/6th. The ‘most wins in a row’ prize went to Ronnie Wiseman, who finished 4th, also sandwiching his eight wins between an opening round loss and his last match.

Dominguez’ seven-match march to the finish line started out with a shutout and until the hot seat match, no one chalked up more than four racks against him in the races to 8. Tom Whitten was the opponent he shut out before he gave up three each to Richard Burns and Vilmos Foldes. It was Ernie Rivas who managed the four, which brought Dominguez to a winners’ side semifinal against Ian Costello. 

Eberle, in the meantime, opened with back-to-back 8-2 victories over Charles Joseph Jacques and Scott Bush, before James Davee threw a one-game-away-from-double-hill scare into him with six racks. The ‘scare’ appeared to inspire him, as he shut out his next opponent, Matt Hardwick, and moved on to a winners’ side semifinal against Ruben Bautista.

Dominguez got into the hot seat match with an 8-1 victory over Costello. Eberle joined him after downing Bautista 8-5 and sending him to the loss side from which he would return to challenge Eberle again, in the semifinals, and Dominguez in the finals. 

On the loss side, Bautista picked up Jordan Holman, who’d lost to Jeff Gray in the opening, winners’ side round and was six matches into his loss-side run, that had included recent victories over Ernie Rivas 7-2 and a shutout win over Tim Daniel. Costello drew Ronnie Wiseman, who was six matches into his eight-in-a-row, loss-side run. He’d eliminated Jeff Gray (for Holman), had recently handed Matt Hardwick his second straight shutout and sent Bret Huth home 6-2.

Bautista ended Holman’s loss-side streak, though not before Holman had forced a 13th deciding game. Wiseman, in the meantime, extended his streak to its eighth win, downing Costello 7-2. Bautista left Wiseman in the 4th place dust (7-2) and then, in a rematch, defeated Eberle 7-4 in the semifinals. 

Entering the finals, Oscar Dominguez was sporting a 73% game-winning average through six matches (48-17). Bautista stepped to the table with a 66% average through eight matches (58-29); his loss to Eberle and his first loss-side, double hill match versus Holman had dropped that percentage down from the 78% it had been before he’d run into Eberle. Dominguez won the game-winning percentage in the finals by a fair amount (66%). Bautista’s game-winning average in the finals was dramatically low at 38%, much more dramatic than the actual score. Dominguez completed his undefeated run with an 11-7 win over Bautista to claim the 26th Annual “Swanee” Memorial title.

Tournament director Tim Kovacs thanked Mark Griffin (“for adding the $4,000 and for all (he) does for pool) and his “always awesome” Griff’s Staff for their hospitality. He thanked Daniel Krupinski, as well, for filling in on short notice and doing a good job running the free stream. Kovacs also thanked Mike Moyer for helping things run smoothly ‘on the board.’ He broadened the scope of general thanks, to include any and all who’d supported the event.

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Final 16 Set at Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Billy Thorpe

In professional golf tournaments, Saturday’s third round is commonly referred to as “moving day,” as competitors attempt to post a low round to move up the leaderboard and into contention for the final round’s play.

Wednesday at the Predator World 10-Ball Championship could be referred to as the same, with players on the one-loss side of the bracket attempting to continue moving their names across the flowchart horizontally in the hopes of reaching the final stages. In all, 26 matches would be played on the loser’s side of the bracket on this day as competitors jockeyed for eight available slots in Thursday’s round.

As for the players on the winner’s side, well, they’re simply trying to avoid the one-loss side completely.

By the end of the day, the 64 competitors who has started the event Monday morning at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino had been whittled down to 16, with a few big names out, a couple of unknowns in and a player or two turning back the clock for a day. The tournament now moves into the single-elimination knockout phase with a re-drawing of the brackets, as competitors from the winner’s section are matched up against players who have battled to remain in the event on the one-loss side. Additionally, races will be lengthened from a race-to-8 to a race-to-10.

Three of the final 16 competitors hail from the United States, with Billy Thorpe and Oscar Dominguez remaining undefeated as they head to the knockout stage, while Shane Van Boening battled into second phase from the one-loss side.

Thorpe, who opened the event with a victorious hill-hill thriller against Chang Jung-Lin, qualified for the final 16 with matching 8-4 victories against Ariel Casto of Argentina and Poland’s Oliver Szolnoki. Thorpe’s former Mosconi Cup teammate Dominguez defeated reigning World Pool Championship champion Albin Ouschan in his first match then survived Diamond Las Vegas Open winner Wu Kun-Lin in a hill-hill battle and took down Sullivan Clark, 8-5.

Another player who remains undefeated is Scotland’s Jayson Shaw, who capitalized on a handful of unforced errors to come from behind and defeat Albania’s Eklent Kaci 8-4. Kaci used two breaks and runs to build an early 3-1 lead and had a chance to increase the lead in the fifth game but missed a routine 9 ball in the corner pocket. Shaw took advantage, winning seven of the next eight games thanks in large part to his opponent’s continued unforced errors – including a missed 7 ball in the seventh game and a scratch in the 11th rack.

Kaci moved to the one-loss side of the bracket where he met Maximilian Lechner, who led the match the entire way until Kaci caught him in the 14th rack. Standing at the table with the break in the deciding game, Lechner spread the balls perfectly but also deposited the cue ball in the far corner pocket, handing Kaci ball-in-hand and the match.

Also advancing from the winner’s side were Al Awadi and Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait, Konrad Juszczyszyn of Poland, Filipino Carlo Biado and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan.

On the one-loss side, Van Boening took more of a scenic route into Thursday’s competition, having suffered a second-round loss to Kuwait’s Bader Al Awadi. He faced fellow American and former Mosconi Cup teammate Chris Reinhold Wednesday morning, playing in a nip-and-tuck match throughout with neither player holding more than a one-game lead. With the match all-square at 6-6, Reinhold had an opportunity to gain an advantage after his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break. However, Reinhold’s attempt at a one-rail kick shot on a 1 ball near the side pocket failed, allowing Van Boening to take a 7-6 lead.

Reinhold, who played on last year’s Mosconi Cup squad, had an opportunity to tie the score again but failed to land a ball on the break, allowing Van Boening back to the table where he closed out the match, 8-6.

After breezing Past Roland Garcia 8-4, the five-time U.S. Open champion capped off his day with a tussle with Mario He, who took advantage of a couple of uncharacteristic misses by the American and grabbed an early 3-1 advantage. The South Dakotan then used a pair of breaks and runs, a dry break from his opponent and a victorious safety battle to win four consecutive games and take a 5-3 lead. He continued to threaten, taking advantage of a Van Boening scratch on the break and another positional error to win two of three racks and stay within a game of the lead.

The Austrian had a chance to tie the match in the 12th rack but failed to convert a combination shot on the 2 and 5 balls. Van Boening ran out the rack then used a one-rail kick in of the 1 ball in the following game to close out the match.

Joining Van Boening and Kaci in the top 16 from the one-loss side of the bracket are Filipino Johann Chua, Cristopher Tevez Ocampo, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp, Naoyuki Oi of Japan, Gerson Martinez Boza of Peru and Marco Teutscher of the Netherlands.

Play will resume Thursday with the match schedule to be determined. Admission is free for spectators at the venue and live streaming of the tournament is available on YouTube and Billiard TV.

The World 10-Ball Championship is a proud part of the CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas. The CueSports International Expo is also home to the BCA Pool League World Championships, USA Pool League National Championships and numerous industry exhibitors. The 11-day billiard extravaganza attracts more than 6,000 pool players from around the world, consumes 150,000 square feet, and uses over 300 Diamond pool tables with the goal of always providing the greatest pool experience in the world.

This competition is played on Diamond Pro-Am pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights. Kamui and Omega Billiard Supplies are also partners of the event.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch Billiard TV  or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.

Americans Advance on Opening Day of World 10-Ball Championships

Joshua Filler and Skyler Woodward (Courtesy Predator Group)

Usually when a pair of pool’s most decorated young stars meet up in a major competition, the match occurs in the later stages, like during the quarter or semifinals.

Today, spectators at the Predator World 10-Ball Championship were treated to such a match in the opening round, with Joshua Filler and Skyler Woodward squaring off in the first batch of play this morning. Both have won their share of medals during the last five years, with Filler earning a World 9-Ball and U.S. Open championship, Woodward winning the 2019 Derby City Classic Master of the Table honors and two of them having three Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player awards among them.

The match would be everything pool afficionados would expect from two top quality players, as Woodward jumped out to a big lead early, then fought off a late charge to win, 8-5, Monday at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The victory was part of a rather successful day for the Americans, with Billy Thorpe, Shane Van Boening and Oscar Dominguez all winning their opening round matches to remain on the winner’s side of the double-elimination bracket.

The young man from Paducah, Kentucky was in stroke early, using a pair of breaks and runs as well as two missed shots by his opponent to build a 4-0 advantage. Woodward had the opportunity to add to his lead in the fifth rack but scratched on the break, which Filler used along with a break-and-run to cut the lead in half. After Woodward won back-to-back games to push his lead to 6-2, the young German used two missed shots from his opponent coupled with another break-and-run to slice the deficit to 6-5.

Standing at the table with the break in the 12th game, Filler had the chance to tie the score but scratched. Woodward cleared the table then tacked on a break-and-run to close out the match and advance to the round-of-32.

A few hours later, Woodward’s close friend and partner in hair styles, Billy Thorpe, was at the table taking on Chinese Taipei’s Chang Jung-Lin, winner of the 2018 International Open. Thorpe’s match would be the polar opposite of his friend’s. There wouldn’t be a big lead early. In fact, he had to overcome some early missed shots with some nifty one-rail kick-in shots to remain even through the first eight games. The Ohio native would gain a two-rack lead in the late stages thanks to a break-and-run in the ninth game and a run out that was propelled by yet another kick shot in the subsequent game. Chang claimed the 11th game to slice the lead down to a single game but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next rack, allowing Thorpe to climb onto the hill at 7-5.

Chang was down but far from out, using a table length bank shot on the 1 ball after a safety battle to clear the table and cut the lead to 7-6. He then cleared the table and tied the score in the next game after his opponent missed a kick attempt on the 2 ball. After breaking in the match-deciding 15th rack, Thorpe was faced with the 1 ball in the center of the table and the cue ball on the end rail. He calmly rolled the 1 down table into the opposite corner pocket and proceeded to run out the rack, with Chang conceding before the game-winning ball could be pocketed.

In other matches, Mika Immonen took advantage of a pair of late unforced errors to defeat Dennis Orcollo, 8-5 in a back-and-forth match which saw six lead changes through 13 games.

After Orcollo won the opening rack, Immonen took advantage of a missed shot and a dry break by his opponent to win back-to-back games. After Orcollo tacked on two games of his own to regain the lead, the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer won three straight thanks to a break-and-run and another dry break from his opponent. Orcollo again battled back to tie the score at five racks each but scratched in following game. Immonen cleared the table, broke and ran and capitalized on a missed jump shot by his opponent which left an open shot at the 1 ball to close out the match.

The day was not without its share of first-round upsets either, with Dominguez defeating reigning World 9-Ball champion Albin Ouschan, 8-6, and Thorsten Hohmann taking down reigning World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis, 8-5.

Competition resumes Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Carlo Biado facing Jeffrey DeLuna and David Alcaide meeting Omar Al Shaheen on the winner’s side as well as Tyler Styer facing James Aranas and Orcollo taking on Kazakis on the one-loss side. Admission to the event is free at the casino and live streaming of the tournament is available through YouTube and Billiard TV.

The World 10-Ball Championship is a proud part of the CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas. The CueSports International Expo is also home to the BCA Pool League World Championships, USA Pool League National Championships and numerous industry exhibitors. The 11-day billiard extravaganza attracts more than 6,000 pool players from around the world, consumes 150,000 square feet, and uses over 300 Diamond pool tables with the goal of always providing the greatest pool experience in the world.

This competition is played on Diamond Pro-Am pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights. Kamui and Omega Billiard Supplies are also partners of the event.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch Billiard TV  or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.

Gomez Survives Brave Ouschan Fightback At World Pool Championship

Albin Ouschan congratulates Roberto Gomez

Roberto Gomez defeated Albin Ouschan 9-7 to advance to the last 64 of the World Pool Championship at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, but only after a brilliant fightback from the Austrian, who had been 8-0 down.

Ouschan is still alive in the double elimination event and will now face a sudden-death play-off to qualify for the straight-knockout stage. After getting on the board at 8-0 down, Ouschan would have thought his fightback was brief until Gomez missed an 8, and from then the 2016 World Champion set to work on winning six consecutive racks before a missed 6 at just one behind gave his Filipino opponent the chance to win.

Also on the TV table on Sunday evening was US No.1 Shane van Boening, who got his tournament off with a 9-3 win over Petr Urban. He’ll now face fellow American Oscar Dominguez for a place in the last 64.

Germany’s Veronika Ivanovskaia shocked Greece’s Nick Malai with a 9-7 victory, the first win for one of the tournament’s eight female entrants. Ivanovskaia’s compatriot Joshua Filler also got off to a winning start, beating Belarsus’ Margarite Fefilova.

American female April Larson gave Chris Melling a scare before the Brit closed out a 9-7 victory, while Darren Appleton booked his place in the last 64 with a 9-2 success over Germany’s Christof Reintjes, who was on the winning side when the pair were on opposing teams in the World Cup of Pool final last month.

Defending champion Fedor Gorst is safely through to the last 64 after wins over Mark Magi and Mark Gray. Team USA’s Mosconi Cup star Billy Thorpe has also won through the groups stage, as had former World Champion Thorsten Hohmann.

The World Pool Championship continues at 12pm (UK) time on Monday, June 7 and is broadcast live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Live scoring as well as complete tournament results and match schedule can be found at www.matchroompool.com.

Rocket Rodney wins The Social Pool Network’s benefit tournament

They’ve been popping up on the landscape like weeds in a garden; pool competitions utilizing some variation of pool’s ‘ghost’ games in which individual players pit their skills against an imaginary opponent that wins every game that they lose. This past weekend (May 22-24), The Social Pool Network (TSPN) joined the party and hosted six top-notch pool players, competing against each other in a modified single-elimination tournament of what’s known as Rocket Runout, one of a series of games invented by “Rocket” Rodney Morris and a friend, Ed Glode.
 
“We created these games about 12 years ago and hammered out these rules,” said Morris, “right before (Ed) became mayor of Saratoga, Wyoming.”
 
According to Tanya Mapes-Stremler, TSPN’s Chief Operating Officer, it was Morris, in fact, in his role as TSPN’s Vice President of player relations, who “took the lead’ on the initiative that led to this weekend of tournaments.
 
“We all worked together,” she said, “and did this as one team, but it was Rodney who came up with this idea.”
 
And then, “Rocket” called five of his pool buddies – Johnny Archer, Tony Crosby, Tony Robles, Raj Hundal and Oscar Dominguez – and invited them to take part in a benefit tournament that would aid First Responders and Food Banks in the five states, represented by the six players; Georgia, Florida, New York (2), California and Hawaii. All six played on Friday, May 22. The four top scorers on Friday played on Saturday, and on Sunday, two of those four played in the finals of the event. Though Oscar Dominguez ended up scoring the two highest scores of all 12 matches, it was the “Rocket” himself, who downed Dominguez on Sunday to claim the first TSPN Cares benefit tournament title.
 
It should be noted that while the tournament did end on Sunday, and we’ve just provided you with the ultimate ‘spoiler’ alert, readers can still view the matches themselves on the TSPNCares page on Facebook. As of Monday night, donations were continuing to be accepted on the tspntournaments.com Web site, as well as entries for a number of raffles for pool-related, donated items. The matches themselves, streamed live and commentated by the team of Neight Mindham (from CueItUp podcasts) and Mike Demarco (with ShiptheCash stream) offer some entertaining play by the six professionals, playing a unique game.
 
Rocket Runout is one of a series of pool games, designated by Morris as the Saratoga series of games, which are a hybrid of 8-ball and 9-ball. In each of these Saratoga games, including the 9-ball variant played at the TSPN Cares benefit, the rack is divided up between the lowest stripes and the lowest solids and the 8-ball. In the TSPN Cares benefit that meant the balls numbered 1-4, 10-13 and the 8-ball were organized in a 9-ball rack. Played as a solo game, each player plays a rack in a race to a designated number; in the TSPN case, it was 20 racks. The game(s) could be played in a two-player matchup, as well. The object of the game is much the same as 8-ball; break the balls, select either stripes or solids, sink ‘your’ four balls (in rotation, low to high) and the 8-ball. Each pocketed ball is worth a single point and the 8-ball is worth 6, making the total points possible per rack, 10. There are ‘less point’ options available and rule specifics that would make this report longer than it really needs to be, like the ‘Salvage’ rule that states that if you’ve sunk a certain number of your designated solid or stripe balls and miss one, you may take ball-in-hand and try to run the other ones, which, if successful, will score you five points.
 
Thus, with the specific race-to-20 racks, 10-points-available per rack rule firmly in mind, we have a perspective on the scores that were recorded, beginning with Friday’s six matches. As noted earlier, Dominguez, who played last among the six, recorded the day’s highest (and event’s second highest) score point total of 152. Morris was second with 138 and Hundal checked in with 127. Though absolutely convinced that he wasn’t going to be advancing to day two of this event, The Scorpion (Archer) recorded 120 to make the cut.
 
“I don’t think I’ll be playing tomorrow,” he said, right after completing his 20 racks. “120 probably ain’t going to make it.”
 
But it did. As low men on the proverbial totem pole on Day One, the two Tonys (Crosby, 118 and Robles, 111) didn’t make the cut.
 
On Day Two, Dominguez showed up with his ‘A’ game again and recorded the event’s highest score of 166. For the second time, Morris came in second, this time with 122. Archer and Hundal, who chalked up 114 and 96, respectively, didn’t make it to Day Three.

In the finals of the event on Sunday, it was Morris who showed up with his ‘A’ game, chalking up the third-highest point total of the 12 (131) and defeating Dominguez’ effort by 12 points at 119.
 
In concept, the Saratoga series of pool games, especially the 9-ball variant, would appear to be easier than either of their hybrid forebearers; 8-ball or 9-ball. But like a lot of things, appearances can be deceiving.
 
“The (9-ball Saratoga) game seems easy, like all you have to do is run five balls,” said TSPN’s Mapes -Stremler, “but it’s very deceptive.”
 
“You not only have five balls, but you have to shoot them in rotation,” she added, “so with calling shots and the other balls in the way, this is a challenging game.”
 
“It improves everything about your game,” said Morris. “There’s a lot of strategy and a lot of thinking going on.
 
“In games, like 8-ball and 9-ball,” he added, “normally, it’s like connecting the dots. People like the creativity that comes into play with this game.”
As with its streaming ‘ghost’ game predecessors – The Ashton Twins, Roy’s Basement, and the WPBA (among others) – TSPN will likely be doing this again.
 
This one, it should be noted, is still happening, with the videos available on the TSPN Cares Facebook page and donations and raffle purchases still being accepted at http://www.tspntournaments.com. The raffle and donations are being extended for an indeterminate amount of time, based on site traffic. According to preliminary reports on the ‘views’ associated with the stream, around 12K people watched over the three days of the event. Sunday’s finals recorded views of 6.2K.
 
Donated money, by the way, will be divided up among all six players and donated to their respective states in the following way:
 
1st Rodney 28% for Hawaii
2nd Oscar 22% for CA
3rd 20% for Johnny, GA
4th 15% for Raj Hundal, NY
5th 10% for Tony Crosby, FL
6th 5% for Tony Robles, NY