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Pair of Early Scares on Day One of FargoRate Ohio Open

Tyler Styer (Courtesy Matt Porinsky)

Last weekend, American Tyler Styer was battling Albania’s Eklent Kaci in the championship match of the inaugural Predator Austria Open, falling to the reigning World 10-Ball champion in straight sets.

Wednesday afternoon at the FargoRate Ohio Open, Styer had to fight and scrap to avoid an early upset, winning an overtime shootout to defeat junior upstart Payne McBride in the opening round of the four-day event being held at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington.

To say that the matchup appeared lopsided on paper would be an understatement. Styer, who has a Kremlin Cup championship along with two appearances on the United States’ Mosconi Cup team on his resume, carried a 761 FargoRate into the tournament compared to McBride’s 562. The gap appeared evident in the opening set, as Styer used a break-and-run paired with missed shots and a dry break from his opponent to paint a 4-0 whitewashing.

The 15-year-old McBride, who competed on the U.S. team in last week’s World Junior 9-Ball Championships, wasn’t deterred. He opened the second set by winning a safety exchange on the 1 ball and clearing the opening rack then added another game when his opponent scratched after pocketing the 8 ball. After Styer stole a game to cut the lead to 2-1, the young boy from Indiana used a combination shot on the 10 ball and a pair of misses by his opponent in the fifth rack to close out the set, 4-1, and force deciding spot shots.

Both players missed in their first attempts but pocketed the spotted 10 ball on their second try. Styer made the third frame shot while his opponent pushed the ball wide of the pocket and Styer secured victory when McBride missed for the third time in four tries.

Later in the day, Roberto Gomez Jr. found himself in a similar battle with American Jeremy Seaman, who rallied in the second set before falling to the Filipino in a shootout.

Gomez jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage in the first set thanks to a successful combination shot on the 10 ball in the opening rack and a break-and-run in the third game. Seaman cut the lead to 3-1 after winning a lengthy safety exchange on the 1 ball, but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the following game, allowing his opponent to close out the rack and the set, 4-1.

Gomez’s fortunes turned almost immediately in the second set when he scratched on the break of the opening game. His opponent cleared the table and appeared positioned to take a 2-0 advantage before missing the 10 ball. Gomez attempted a table-length bank of the ball but inadvertently pocketed the ball into a pocket he did not call, allowed Seaman to come back to the table and punch in the spotted ball to increase his lead to 2-0. After Seaman used a combination shot to pocket the 10 ball and build a 3-0 advantage, Gomez was able to claw out a win and cut the deficit to 3-1. The Filipino appeared positioned to cut the lead further in the fifth rack but missed the 4 ball in the corner pocket, allowing Seaman to clear the table and send the match to an extra frame.

The extra session mirrored that of Styer and McBride early on, with both competitors missing their shots in the first inning but pocketing the balls in the following frame. When each player again missed in the third inning the spot shot competition reached sudden-death, which Gomez won by pocketing the ball in the fourth inning.

In other matches from the day, Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski defeated Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov in straight sets, 4-0, 4-2, and reigning World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis of Greece fell to Japan’s Naoyuki Oi.

Competition resumes Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Styer meeting Filipino Warren Kiamco and Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski taking on Mohammad Ali Berjaoui of Lebanon. Tournament coverage begins at noon on Billiard TV and also will be broadcast on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

The FargoRate Ohio Open is the fourth and final stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features four open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $130,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition was played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. Watch replays on Billiard TV  or on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

US and Canadian Teams Announced For World Junior Pool Championship

Three members of Team USA, Sofia Mast, Aryana Lynch and Tiana Jiang (Photo courtesy Roy Pastor)

While the recent changes in requirements for travel to Europe, have the event in a sort of limbo, the Billiard Congress of America is still proud to announce the participants who are slated to travel to Austria on October 6th – 10th for the Predator 2021 WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships. 

The members of Team USA are:

Riley Adkins, Daniel Martin, Landon Hollingsworth, Joey Tate, Payne McBride, Kyle Yi, Jayden Liu, Niko Konkel, Harry Leinen, Aryana Lynch, Sofia Mast, Tiana Jiang, Savanna Wolford, Skylar Hess, Alice Adams, Hayleigh Marion and Kennedy Meyman

In addition to the seventeen players representing the USA, the BCA also announced that Arnaud Rakovich, Issac Yee and Haydar Ali Cappo are representing Team Canada at this event. 

As announced in a previous release from the BEF, “Allocations for the prestigious 2021 2021 WPA Predator World Junior Pool Championship, (…) will be provided to the highest placed finishers in the boys open 16 & Under and 18 & Under divisions, and in the girls open 18 & Under division”. With some candidates unable to travel to Austria, the BCA opened up invitations to the champions from the 14 & Under Girls, 16 & Under Girls and 14 & Under Boys Divisions. All three of these division winners are confirmed for Team USA.  

Some of these warriors are asking for help on social media to fund their trips to Austria, so if you see one of your favorite players on the list of players, check out their social media pages and help any way that you can. 

Billiards Sports Networks launches Dynaspheres Cup Series with Junior Championships

Nathan Childress, Jackson Hurst, Cameron Lawhorne, Kodi Allen, Joey Tate, Landon Hollingsworth

Raleigh NC’s Joey Tate and Shenandoah, VA’s Garret Vaughan win their divisions

There have always been junior players, far more of them than the numbers that have actually graduated to professional levels of competition. In an off-the-top-of-one’s-head category of examples, Johnny Archer was a junior player once. So was Shannon Daulton and a lot of other now well-known professionals like Billy Thorpe and Chris Robinson, to name just a couple. Events capable of accommodating the development of junior players have, however, lagged behind the increasing 21st century numbers of interested juniors.

Until recently, the only widely-known avenue for junior competition was the Billiard Education Foundation’s annual Junior National Championships, preceded by a number of nationwide qualifying events. Last month, January 7-9, On the Wire Creative Media launched a Junior International Tour, with five junior events held at Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA (see related article in our News Archive, dated January 13), with eight other events planned through October. On the weekend of February 20-21, the Maryland-based Billiard Sports Network (BSN) joined the list of organizations looking to promote further junior competition for the increasingly growing number of junior players interested in competing. Their efforts were initiated with the first of two planned junior events for this year, nestled in the midst of a broader “collection of tournaments,” all under the ‘umbrella’ title of the Dynaspheres Cups.

Originally engaged in streaming live pool events, BSN and its founders, Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield, had always projected that they would eventually start and run their own events. The pandemic brought those ideas to the forefront.

“We were going to start a collection of tournaments throughout the year,” said Lawson, “and we started reaching out to folks with whom we had relationships in the industry.”

This led BSN to Dynaspheres Balls, a subsidiary of Championship Fabric, LLC. Lawson also owns BreakOut Apparel (formerly LightsOut Apparel) and had a distribution deal with Dynaspheres Balls.

“When we decided to do this collection of tournaments,” said Lawson, “Dynaspheres came back and said they were interested in getting involved.”

Though the events were originally going to utilize the name, BSN Cups, the nature and commitment to the deal arranged with Dynaspheres Balls led Lawson and Setterfield to give them title sponsorship.

“It was the right thing to do,” said Lawson, adding that the decision to open their “collection” with a junior event was part of the ongoing response to the need for more of them. “There are just not enough junior events out there.”

This first Dynaspheres Cup Juniors 9-Ball Championship, this past weekend, crowned two champions; Raleigh, NC’s Joey Tate (15-18) and Shenandoah, VA’s Garrett Vaughan (14 and under). It was, in fact, a bit of a family affair for both of the winners. Tate’s younger sisters, Bethany and Noelle competed in the 14-and-under event, while Garrett’s brother, Grayson, competed with him in the 14-and-under event, as well. They met in the quarterfinals. The 15-18 year-old, $500-added event drew 27 entrants, while the 14-and-under $500-added tournament drew 22 to Brews and Cues on the Boulevard in Glen Burnie, MD.

Joey Tate and runner-up in the 15-to-18 year-old event, Landon Hollingsworth came to the event with a degree of Amateur tour experience, particularly with the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour on which they both play regularly. Tate has been playing on that tour since 2017, has cashed in eight appearances and won three times. Hollingsworth has cashed in 18 appearances on the tour since 2018 and like Tate, has won three times. All of Hollingsworth’s victories came last year. Tate chalked up his first 2021 victory at this Juniors event, coming from a one-match trip to the loss side to claim the title, when he downed Hollingsworth in the finals.

Tate followed an opening round bye with victories over Jeffrie Martinez and Brent Worth to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Cameron Lawhorne, another Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball alumnus (14 cash payouts on the tour since 2017, with two wins). Hollingsworth got by Jacob Kohl, Joshua Joseph and Kodi Allen to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Nathan Childress, who started appearing on cash payout lists just last year and chalked up six cash prizes, including two wins; one, at On the Hill Productions’ 9-Ball Fall Shootout and the other, with Shane Wolford in a Scotch Doubles event.

Tate downed Lawhorne 7-4 and was joined in the hot seat match by Hollingsworth, who’d sent Childress to the loss side 7-5. As might have been expected, Hollingsworth and Tate locked up in a double hill fight for the hot seat. Hollingsworth claimed it and waited in it for Tate’s return.

On the loss side, Lawhorne picked up Kodi Allen, who, after being defeated by Hollingsworth on the winners’ side, defeated Jeffrie Martinez 7-2 and Hunter Frazier 7-4. Childress drew Jackson Hurst, who’d shut out Richard Burch and defeated Brent Worth to reach him.

Childress got by Hurst 7-3. Lawhorne joined him in the quarterfinals, after defeating Allen 7-2. In another predictable event, Lawhorne and Childress battled to double hill, before Lawhorne prevailed for a second shot against Tate. That, too, turned into a double hill contest that eventually sent Tate back over to challenge Hollingsworth in the hot seat.

It’s likely that a third straight double hill match was expected from the second Tate/Hollingsworth meeting, but it didn’t happen. Tate completed the Dynaspheres Cup’s first Junior 9-Ball Championship and his first victory run of 2021 with a 7-4 win in the finals.

Adrian Prasad, Payne McBride, Garrett Vaughn , D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain, Grayson Vaughn, Niko Konkel

Vaughan comes from the loss side to win 14-and-under division

The brothers Vaughan almost met in the hot seat match of the 14-and-under tournament.

As the elder brother, Garrett (14), got his bye and then worked his way through the field, shutting out Dylan Moore and defeating Niko Konkel 7-1 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against D’Angelo “Jawz” Spain, younger brother Grayson (11) was doing his part by (without a bye) defeating Hayleigh Marion 7-1, shutting out Carley Tomaszewski and sending Adrian Prasad west 7-5, to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Payne McBride.

There they sat, one match away from drawing each other in the hot seat match of a tournament. Garrett and “Jawz” fought to double hill before “Jawz” prevailed. McBride downed Grayson 7-3, and the brothers had to settle for the possibility of meeting in the event quarterfinals. McBride, in the meantime, defeated Spain 7-3 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Garrett drew Adrian Prasad, who’d defeated Skylar Hess 7-2 and Hayleigh Marion 7-5 to reach him. Brother Grayson picked up Niko Konkel, who’d defeated Joey Tate’s younger sister, Noelle 7-1 and Jayce Little 7-3.

The stars aligned properly, although Grayson had his work cut out for him with a double hill battle against Konkel. He won it, eventually, and was joined in the quarterfinals by his brother, who’d come a game short of double hill in defeating Prasad 7-5. And the brothers locked up in a double hill fight that had to be of immense importance to both of them on a lot of different levels. Big brother Garrett won it, though, and advanced to face D’Angelo Spain in the semifinals.

With Grayson no doubt rooting for him all the way, Garrett shut Spain out and then, with Grayson rooting him on to defeat the player who’d sent him to the loss side, Garrett downed McBride 7-2 to claim the 14-and-under championship title.

Jake Lawson and Josh Setterfield thanked the ownership and staff at Brews & Cues for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Dynaspheres, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Gina Cunningham (Keller Williams Integrity), East Coast Prime Meats, Center Pocket, Courtyard by Marriott Bowie, Maryland, Luke Thompson Photography, MB Cues/Mike Burton, Integrity Cues, Break Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Premier Billiards and CueScore.com. They also thanked Tour Director Steve Fleming, and their staff of Tracy Gebhard, Kim Huff and Robbie Hess.

The next tournament in The Dynaspheres Cup series, scheduled for May 1-2, will be the $5,000-added Open/Pro Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball Championships, to which Shane Van Boening, James Aranas, Fedor Gorst, Kristina Tkach, Brandon Shuff and Shaun Wilkie, among others, have reportedly already signed up. The Dynaspheres Cup 8-Ball Championship is scheduled for June 5-6. The Dynaspheres Cup Double 8-Ball Championship is scheduled for July 31-August 1 and the second Junior Championship is set for September 25-26. The series finale, scheduled for November 6-7, will be The Dynaspheres Cup 9-Ball Championships. All events will be hosted by Center Pocket in Bowie, MD.

According to Lawson, plans are in motion to expand this first season’s four Open/Pro and two Junior events. BSN has a two-year-contract with Dynaspheres and is looking at planning for 12 events in 2022.