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McMinn goes undefeated to win 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament

Gary Abood, Shane McMinn and Randy Staggs

As it turned out, both finalists in the 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament, held over the long weekend of December 13-15, were looking to boost their 2019 resume; one, by chalking up only his second (recorded) victory of the year and the other, with a first (recorded) cash finish anywhere in over two years. Given the date, it was likely to be their last 2019 tour/event victory and/or cash finish. Shane McMinn, who went undefeated to claim the title, had won the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener back in January. For runner-up Gary Abood, the Bunnell Memorial became his first (recorded) cash finish in any event since he finished 4th at the inaugural Scotty Townsend Memorial 9-Ball Tournament in March of 2017. The $2,000-added Bunnell Memorial, organized and sponsored by OB Cues, drew 68 entrants to the Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
Shane McMinn’s path to the winners’ circle opened with a bye and three straight matches in which he allowed his opponent – in order, Greg Sandifer, Noel Villalobos and Isaac Wooten – only a single rack. McMinn advanced to down Ryan Robinson 7-3 and draw his first match against Abood in a winners’ side semifinal. Abood had arrived after chalking up one 7-2 victory over Alberto Nieto and three, 7-3 wins over Jason Judd, Billy Pinion and Corey Flud. Randy Staggs, in the meantime, squared off against Steve Raynes in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Staggs got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Raynes. Abood chalked up twice as many racks against McMinn in the winners’ side semifinal than all of McMinn’s previous opponents combined, necessitating a 13th deciding rack. McMinn dropped the last 9-ball and moved on to the hot seat match. McMinn returned to form, allowing Staggs only a single rack as he claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Raynes picked up Gerardo Perez, who’d lost his opening match to TJ Davis and was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals and had most recently included victories over Ryan Robinson 7-5 and, in a successful rematch, TJ Davis, 7-4. Abood drew Juan Parra, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included recent victories over Jeff Sullivan 7-3 and Walter Huenerfuerst 7-2.
 
Abood and Perez advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 victories over Parra and Raynes, respectively. Abood then ended Perez’ loss-side winning streak 7-4 in those quarterfinals and earned a second shot against McMinn with a 7-4 victory over Staggs in the semifinals. 
 
Unlike their double hill, winners’ side semifinal match, the finals saw McMinn return, once again, to the form that ultimately earned him the event title. He gave up two racks to Abood in the 7-2 finals, ending with an aggregate score of 35-15; a 70% winning percentage. To Abood’s credit, his runner-up finish came as the result of having won just over half of the racks that McMinn had lost. 
 
McMinn and Abood figured prominently in two other events that were part of the 9-Ball Royce Bunnell Memorial. The weekend began with a 32-entrant, 8-Ball Mini Tournament, which was won by Gary Abood with OB Cues President Jesse Garcia as the event’s runner-up. There was also a Banks Ring (Chip style) Tournament, won by McMinn, with Jeff Sullivan finishing as runner-up and Chris “Woody” Smith in 3rd place. 
 
David “Doc” Reyes, Customer Service Manager for OB Cues, who’s been the main promoter and ‘head of the spear’ in the organization of this annual memorial event, along with the President of OB Cues, Jesse Garcia and CEO Mark Griffin (both of whom competed) thanked Marci Rothberg and her Billiard Den staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors (representatives), OB Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore (Albert Trujillo), John Eagle Honda Dallas (JP Kinman, GM), Outville Racks (Chris Renfro), Granite Guyz and Dallas 8-Ball League. Reyes and Jennifer Hooten directed the event, while RackemTV sponsored the stream with commentary by Billy Guy and Marc Gonzalez as commentators. 

Sandifer downs Larson twice and goes undefeated on DFW 9-Ball Tour

l to r): Jeremy Jones, Greg Sandifer & Tim Larson

After eight stops on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, Tim Larson has retained his top spot in the tour standings. On the weekend of August 3-4, however, the owner of the #3-spot in those tour standings, Greg Sandifer, went undefeated, downing Larson twice (hot seat and finals) to claim the event title and edged up a single spot to take over the #2 spot in the standings. TJ Davis, who owned that #2 spot prior to this past weekend’s event, finished in the tie for 7th/8th, which earned him enough points to slip only a single spot into third place. The $1,500-added event drew 77 entrants to CK Billiards in Dallas, TX.
 
Sandifer’s seven-match path to the winners’ circle saw him give up more than three racks to an opponent only three times. After an opening round bye, he advanced through Casey Dawson 8-2, Mohammed Alrawi 8-3, Ricki Casper 8-2, and Amos Bush 8-5 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against JP Kinman. Larson, in the meantime, though after a bye, he’d open with a 9-2 win over Darrell Smith, found himself facing stiffer opposition. He got by Robin Barbour 9-6, Randy Staggs 9-1 and Jesus Sorto 9-6 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Robert Clark.
 
Sandifer and Larson advanced to the hot seat in matches that reflected their earlier efforts. Sandifer downed Kinman 8-2, as Larson held off Clark 9-6. Sandifer, who’d had only one opponent reach as far as five racks against him until he played in the hot seat match, gave up six to Larson, but he claimed the hot seat 8-6 and waited on Larson’s return.
 
On the loss side, Kinman picked up the always-dangerous Jeremy Jones, who’d been defeated in a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal match by Robert Clark and then downed Andrew Talton 10-2 and TJ Davis 10-5 to face Kinman. Clark, in the meantime, drew Doug Winnett, who was in the midst of a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that included recent victories over Jeffrey Wadsworth 7-1 and Amos Bush 7-2.
 
Winnett spoiled any potential rematch between Clark and Jones by defeating Clark 7-5. Jones, in the meantime, eliminated Kinman 10-5. Jones then put an end to Winnett’s loss-side winning streak, double hill, in the quarterfinals; 10-6, Winnett racing to 7.
 
As of this past weekend, 260 players had figured in the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s eight events so far, some of them, multiple times and many of them, all eight times. It was Jones’ first recorded appearance on the 2019 tour and as he moved into the semifinals, he was looking at the possibility of moving into the top 20 of the tour’s standings (if he ended up claiming the event title), among the top 27 or so if he finished as the runner-up and among the top 37 or so if he finished in third place.
 
He and the tour’s #1 player in the standings, Larson, battled to a predictable double hill point, before Larson (who started with ‘one on the wire’ in a race to 10) dropped the last 9-ball in the match’s 17th rack to earn himself a second shot at Sandifer in the hot seat. Larson, who’d finished as runner-up in the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s stop in June, repeated as runner-up in this one. Sandifer shaved a rack off of Larson’s performance against him in the hot seat match, downing him 8-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at CK’s for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Fort Worth Billiards, Granite Guyz, Dallas 8-Ball, FargoRate, BCA Pool League, Internet Marketing Solutions (IMS), CSI, Accu-Rack and JB Custom Cue Cases. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 7-8, will be hosted by Snookered Billiards in Frisco, TX.