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Top Amateurs Crowned U.S. Amateur Champions

|8973|The top amateur poolplayers in the country came to the Gulf Coast of Florida in early November to compete for the coveted U.S. Amateur Championship title.

After three days of intense competition, Suzanne Smith of Edgewood, Wash., and Ernesto Bayaua of Houston, Texas, emerged as the 2011 U.S. Amateur Champions.   This year’s event took place Nov. 4-6 and was held in two locations: Strokers in Palm Harbor, Fla., and the Crooked Cue in Clearwater.  The Men’s Division began Fri., Nov. 4 at Strokers, while the Women’s Division got underway the following day at the Crooked Cue.

In the finals the of the Women’s Division, Smith defeated local favorite Jamie Toennies of Largo, Fla. The match opened in the 8-Ball set, with Toennies jumping out to a 2-0 lead.  Smith came storming back, closing out the 8-Ball set with four straight wins, and opening the 9-Ball set with two more.  Finding herself down 6-2, Toennies didn’t give in.  She took the next three games to pull within a game of Smith.  Finally, Smith managed to close out the match by taking the next three games for a 9-5 victory.

Smith moves on to compete in the WPBA U.S. Open next year.  Toennies finished as the Runner-up in her first U.S. Amateur Championship competition.  Finishing in 3rd Place was Lenore McCarthy of Bolingbrook, Ill.

In the Men’s Division, Bayaua bested former champion Ron Park of Charlotte, N.C.  The match would prove to be one of the greatest comebacks in U.S. Amateur Championship history.  The match opened in the 8-Ball set, with Park opening up a commanding 6-1 lead.  Just when it looked like the former champ was ready to put the match away, Bayaua reeled off six straight wins for a 7-6 lead as the match shifted to the 9-Ball set.  Park took the first two games to regain the lead, before Bayaua tied it 8-8.  Park momentarily regained the lead with a win in the 17th frame, but Bayaua would not be denied, winning the next three games and the match 11-9.

Bayaua will advance to the U.S. Open Championship next year.  Park’s Runner-up finish was his highest at a U.S. Amateur Championship since he won the event in 1994.

|8974|Finishing in 3rd Place was David Uwate of Miami, Fla.  In 4th Place was Will Haagensen of Mobile, Ala.  Criegh Dumo of Bonney Lake, Wash., and Pete Ziemak of Windsor Locks, Conn., tied for 5th Place.

The 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship was produced and conducted by the American Poolplayers Association (APA).  Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-Sept., with nearly 2,200 players attempting to qualify.

Smith and Bayaua competed with the nation’s most highly skilled amateur poolplayers who were all vying for the U.S. Amateur Championship title.  The Men’s Division consisted of 128 players, while the Women’s Division featured 32 players.  As Champions, Smith and Bayaua will return next year to defend their coveted titles.
The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.
The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League throughout the United States, and as the Canadian Pool League in Canada.  Nearly 270,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9‑Ball league play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.
The APA produces three major tournaments each year—the APA National Team Championships, the APA National Singles Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out nearly $1.5 Million in cash and prizes annually!  In 2010, the APA National Team Championships were recognized by Guinness World Records as the “world’s largest pool tournament.”
The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues and Pool Dawg.
For complete coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship visit