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Kennedy/Hunter go undefeated to win Open/Amateur divisions of 5th Annual Labor Day Classic

Rhyan Hunter and Ameet Kukadia

Capone’s 5th Labor Day Classic, held this past Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-4), is in the books and the undefeated winners are Tommy Kennedy in the $500-added Open event and Rhyan Hunter in the $1,000-added Amateur event, which was open to competitors with a Fargo Rate of 640 and under. Both events yielded full fields; 64 in the Amateur event and 16 in the Open event at Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.

Hunter was the only player in the Amateur event having to give the entire field a single game on the wire, which wasn’t enough for anyone to come close to him. His precision shooting and heart gave him the victory in every match. He opened with a shutout over JT Russell and advanced through victories over Justin Logan 7-3, Justin Ward 7-3 and another shutout, versus Dan Mello, to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Andy Crews. In the meantime, eventual runner-up Ameet Kukadia, slowly becoming a regular at Capone’s events, advanced to the other winners’ side semifinal versus (unrelated to Dan) Mike Mello, who was playing in his first event at Capone’s. 

Hunter defeated Crews 7-3, as Mike Mello sent Kukadia to the loss side 7-4. Hunter claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Mello and waited on Kukadia’s return.

On the loss side, Kukadia drew Dan Mello, who’d survived a double hill match against Jamison Daniels and shut out Justin Logan to reach him. Crews picked up Justin McNulty, who’d also survived a double hill match, against Benji Estor, and came within a second straight double hill match, downing Litos Davila 6-4. 

Kukadia and McNulty advanced to the quarterfinals; Kukadia, 6-2 over Dan Mello and McNulty, 6-4 over Crews. Kukadia defeated McNulty in those quarterfinals 6-3 and then won his redemption match versus Mike Mello 6-2 in the semifinals.

To claim the title, Kukadia needed to win two matches against Hunter in the finals that followed. Hunter completed his undefeated run with a 7-2 win in the only set necessary.

Tommy Kennedy (File photo)

Kennedy weathers ‘challenge’ storms to go undefeated in Open event

The Open event had its share of past champions, including Jason Richko (2019) and Tony Crosby (2021). Not present was the Labor Day Classic’s 2020 Champion, Donny Mills, who was ‘laboring away’ at Turning Stone in New York state over the weekend. 

“He was doing damage up there,” said TD Carrie Vetrono, “and finished as runner-up. Congratulations to Donny.”

Tommy Kennedy was a former champion, as well (2019), and his undefeated run through the Classic made him the first competitor to have his ‘name up in lights’ as winner of the event, twice. It was not an easy journey for TK.

Of the five matches Kennedy played to claim the Labor Day Classic’s 2022 Open title, two went to double hill and two more came within a game of it. He opened with an 8-6 win over Marcus Murillo and a double hill win over Richard Broumpton, which set him up in a winners’ side semifinal against one of the former champions, Jason Richko. In the meantime, Lee Heuwagen and Tony Crosby were working their way to their meetup in the other winners’ side semifinal; Crosby arriving with a 16-3 aggregate score against Zee Zee Green (0) and Ross Webster (3), Heuwagen arriving with a 16-4 aggregate score against Bobby Jones (3) and Guy Jones (1). 

Kennedy got into the hot seat match 8-6 over Richko. Heuwagen joined him after a commanding 8-2 win over Crosby. TK grabbed the hot seat 8-4.

Crosby wanted the trophy and came back from the loss-side, knocking out Sandeep Swain 7-5, Ross Webster 7-1 in the quarterfinals and this time, victorious over Heuwagen in their semifinal rematch 7-5.

Kennedy and Crosby locked up in what was Kennedy’s second double hill match. After a long day of shooting, Crosby fell short, giving way in the 15th rack and handing Kennedy the title.

TD Carrie Vetrono thanked everyone that participated and helped make Capone’s 5th Annual Labor Day Classic the tournament that it was. 

“Without everyone’s help we could not do this,” she said. “Special thanks to Rocco-Rocky McElroy and his Capone’s staff for all they do, as well as Joel Vetrono and Anthony Fisher for helping send matches out on the amateur event.”

The next event at Capone’s, scheduled for the weekend of October 8-9, will be an Open Handicap event that will play out on the venue’s 9-foot tables. 

See y’all on the rail!

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Bova and Kennedy split top prizes on J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour

Kyle Bova and Tommy Kennedy

Proving that you can never count wily veterans out, Tommy Kennedy won 10 matches on the loss side during the Saturday, August 3 stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour and earned the right to challenge hot seat occupant Kyle Bova for the event title. The final match never happened, as Kennedy and Bova opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes. In another ‘veteran’ note, the event itself offered Vietnam veterans free entry and in the end, awarded two Vietnam veterans – Ronny Park and Joe Scarborough – $50, which they split. The $1,000-added event drew 40 entrants to Brewland’s Billiards in North Lakeland, FL.
 
With Kennedy at work on the loss side, having been defeated by Felix Luna in the opening round of play, Bova settled in, advancing to a winners’ side semifinal match against Ashley Chewcaskie. Rhyan Hunter and Jeremy Bell squared off in the other one.
 
Bova downed Chewcaskie 7-1 and in the hot seat match, faced Hunter, who’d survived a double hill match versus Bell and sent him off to an immediate match against Kennedy. Bova shut Hunter out to claim the hot seat in what proved to be his final match.
 
On the loss side, Bell drew the ‘wily veteran,’ Kennedy, seven matches into his 10-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included victories over one of the Vietnam veterans, Joe Scarborough, 6-4 and Dennis Brown 6-2. Chewcaskie picked up Nathan Rose, who’d recently eliminated the other Vietnam veteran, Ronny Park 6-3 and Steve Wiggam 6-2.
 
Kennedy and Rose advanced to the quarterfinals; Kennedy, 6-3 over Bell and Rose, 6-2 over Wiggam. It was eight down and two to go for Kennedy, as he chalked up loss-side victory # 9 against Rose. Not, as it turned out, without a fight, though. They battle back and forth to a deciding 11th game, won by Kennedy.
 
In what was the last match of the event, Kennedy completed his loss-side run with a 6-3 win over Hunter in the semifinals. Kennedy and Bova decided on the split, awarded Bova the official event title, snapped their picture and away they went.
 
Kennedy thanked the ownership and staff at Brewland’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products and Tournamentsnearme.com.
 

Rose goes undefeated to win his second 2019 Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour stop

Trenton White, Nathan Rose & Jason Richko

Nathan Rose took a major step toward making 2019 his best recorded earnings year ever by winning his second straight Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour stop on the weekend of January 2-3. In a month, he’s earned half of what he earned in all of his best earnings year to date, 2015. Rose went undefeated through a field of 64, on hand for the $1,500-added event, hosted by Brewlands Bar & Billiards in Tampa, FL.
 
Rose opened his undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Eric Haggard, followed it with a 7-5 win over David Singleton, and then went on a run of four straight 7-2 wins that ended with him in the hot seat. He defeated Rollie Dixon and Ed Peterson to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Bill Bloom. Jason Richko, in the meantime, got by Rhyan Hunter, Kodi Allen, Brian Sudney and junior competitor, Trenton White (who’d come back to haunt Richko later) to arrive at the other winners’ side semifinal against Mitch Keiser.
 
Richko got into the hot seat match 7-5 over Keiser, as Rose was busy chalking up his third straight 7-2 win over Bloom. Rose won his fourth straight 7-2 match, over Richko, which left him in the hot seat, waiting on what turned out to be the return of Trenton White.
 
On the loss side, Bloom ran into White, who, following his defeat at the hands of Richko, had defeated Joseph Hughes 5-1 and Rollie Dixon 5-3. Keiser drew Kyle Bova, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included wins over Ed Peterson 6-1 and Casey Spahr 6-3. White advanced to the quarterfinals 5-2 over Bloom and was met by Keiser, who’d survived a double hill battle against Bova.
 
White and Keiser locked up in a double hill quarterfinal, which eventually advanced White to a rematch versus Richko in the semifinals. White gave up only a single rack to Richko in those semifinals, advancing 5-1 to the finals against Rose.
 
Rose completed his undefeated run with a 9-5 victory over White, who, in addition to his 2nd place payout was awarded the ‘top-finishing junior’ title. Jeannie Seaver and Stephanie Mitchell finished in a tie for the top female finisher. 
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Larry Walthall and his Brewlands staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Cyclop Balls, Diamond, Kamui, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch it to Me Embrodiery and AZBilliards. Streaming was by Cue Sports Studios. The next stop on the Sunshine State Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for March 9, will be hosted by Boulevard Billiards in Ocala, FL.

Burgos goes undefeated to take J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour stop

(l to r): Julio Burgos, Tommy Kennedy, Steve Voucher & Raymond Linares

According to our records, Julio Burgos hasn’t been around for long, but he’s certainly been around a lot. In his first and only year (2018) in our database of active and cash-earning competitors, he won a stop on Florida’s AllOutPool Tour, and cashed in events in California (the 6th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial), Texas (Texas 10-Ball Championship) and Indiana (Derby City Classic’s One Pocket Division). He opened his 2019 efforts on the weekend of January 19-20, when he added a victory on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, going undefeated, and downing Florida and Seminole Tour veteran, Raymond Linares, twice. The $1,000-added event drew 62 entrants to Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL.
 
Burgos and Linares advanced to the final four on the winners’ side of the bracket and faced Steve Voucher (for Burgos) and Bobby Garza, co-tour director of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (for Linares). On Sunday, Burgos downed Voucher 9-6, as Linares was busy sending Garza over 9-7. Burgos claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Linares and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Voucher picked up the tour’s director, Tommy Kennedy, who’d defeated Bee Hyzinga 7-4 (on Saturday) and Joselito Martinez 9-6 (on Sunday). Garza drew Cristobal D. Barrows, who’d eliminated Dennis Brown, double hill, and Rhyan Hunter 9-5.
 
Voucher and Garza got right back to work, handing Kennedy and Barrows their second loss; Voucher over Kennedy 9-2 and Garza over Barrows 9-6. Voucher took the quarterfinal match over Garza 9-4, and put up a double hill fight against Linares in the semifinals. Linares dropped the last 9-ball, though, and advanced to a rematch against Burgos in the finals.
 
Burgos and Linares played the same number of games in the race-to-11 final that they’d played in the hot seat match. Burgos won 56% of the games he won in that hot seat match (9-7), but 69% of the games he won in the final (11-5), completing his undefeated run to claim his first 2019 event title.
 
Tour director Tommy Kennedy thanked the ownership and staff at Rack’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth and Mueller Recreational Products. He also extended a thanks to Janene Phillips, co-tour director with Bobby Garza of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, who ably assisted him with the event. The next stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for March 2, will be hosted by Doodles Billiards in Hinesville, GA. 

Mills and Meglino split top prizes in Open division of Sunshine State Pro Am

(l to r): Justin Hall, Anthony Meglino & Donny Mills

Rose comes from the loss side to down Adams and capture Amateur title
 
It’s impossible to know how many times Donny Mills and Anthony Meglino have faced each other on Florida-based and other regional tours, but having spent over a decade as part of a ‘Florida Gang’ of top-tier competitors (along with, among many others, Tommy Kennedy, Mike Delawder and Tony Crosby), we can safely call it ‘a lot.’ This past June, they met in the semifinals of a stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (Meglino 5-3 over Mills). On the weekend of Oct. 6-7, they would have met twice during Stop #11 on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, had they not opted out of a final match. Mills, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time, claimed the $1,000-added 10-Ball Open event title, which drew 40 entrants to Capone’s in Spring Hill, FL.
 
In a concurrently-run, $300-added, 9-Ball Amateur event, Nathan Rose won five on the loss side to eventually meet and defeat hot seat occupant James Adams to claim that title. The Amateur event drew 45 entrants to the same location.
 
Following an opening round bye in the Open event, Donny Mills downed Anthony Fisher, Robert Batson (both 7-2), and Tommy Kennedy 7-4 to draw Justin Hall in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Meglino, with an opening round bye as well, got by Ed Peterson 7-3, Bill Stroup 7-1 and Marcus Murillo 7-2 to face Nathan Rose (winner of the Amateur event) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Mills defeated Hall 7-5, as Meglino was busy downing Rose 7-4. Mills claimed the hot seat, and, as it turned out, the event title with a 7-4 win over Meglino.
 
On the loss side, Rose picked up Kennedy, who, following his defeat by Mills, downed Trenton White (the event’s top junior player in both events) 6-4, and shut out Stroup. Hall drew Justin Gilsinan, who’d shut out Joe Vetrono and eliminated Joselito Martinez 5-2. Kennedy and Rose locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kennedy to the quarterfinals against Hall, who’d defeated Gilsinan 5-2.
 
Hall ended Kennedy’s modest, three-match, loss-side winning streak 5-2 in those quarterfinals, and then fell to Meglino 5-3 in the semifinals. Meglino and Mills opted out of the final and the event title went to Mills.
 
Rose wins five on the loss side to meet and defeat Adams
 
Nathan Rose, who was the official winner of Stop #8 on the tour back in July (he split with Jason Sheerman), got sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal match of the Amateur event and won five on the loss side before meeting and defeating hot seat occupant James Adams in the finals. Rose had downed Derek Laprairie, Trenton White (top junior in this event, as well), and Justin Gilsinan before running into Ameet Kukadia in a winners’ side quarterfinal.
 
Kukadia sent Rose to the loss side, double hill, and advanced to face Alec Saputo in one of the winners’ side semifinals. James Adams, in the meantime, following victories over Lisa Perez, Rhyan Hunter, and Dale Stanley met up with Justin McNulty in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Saputo chalked up a double hill win over Kukadia and in the hot seat match, faced Adams, who’d shut out McNulty. Adams claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Saputo and waited on the return of Rose.
 
Rose opened his loss-side trip to the finals with a 6-3 win over Hunter and eliminated Trenton White 6-4 to draw McNulty. Kukadia picked up Stanley, who’d defeated Gilsinan and Jai Smith, both 6-2. By identical scores of 6-3, Stanley (over Kukadia) and Rose (over McNulty) advanced to the quarterfinals, where Rose prevailed, double hill, over Stanley.
 
Rose downed Saputo 6-4 in the semifinals, and then defeated Adams 9-5 in the finals to claim the Amateur event title.
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked the ownership and staff at Capone’s, as well as sponsors Cyclop Balls, Diamond, Kamui Tips, Play the Game Clothing Co., Jacksonville Roofing USA, Inc., and AZ Billiards. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour (due to cancellation of a stop in November) will be the tour’s Season Finale, scheduled for December 1-2 at Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL.