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Davis downs Wiley twice to go undefeated on Predator Cues’ DFW 9-Ball Tour

(l to r): CJ Wiley, TJ Davis & Jordan Gartenberg

Sitting atop the early-season standings on the Predator Cues’ DFW 9-Ball Tour, CJ Wiley went into the finals of that 2018 tour’s third stop with a win and runner-up finish to his credit. Thanks to TJ Davis, Wiley had to settle for his second straight runner-up finish. On the weekend of March 24-25, Davis completed an undefeated run with two straight victories over Wiley, in the hot seat match and finals. While this allowed Wiley to retain his position at the top of the standings chart, Davis’ victory allowed him to jump up two steps, to settle in (for now) the runner-up spot. The $1,700-added event drew 105 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
Davis and Wiley faced four opponents each on the trip to their respective winners’ side final matches. In their first four handicapped matches, Davis and Wiley, both racing to 9, faced an exactly equal average opponent, racing to 6; Davis faced one 7, two 6s and a 5, as Wiley squared off against two 7s, a 6, and a 4. Wiley did just a little better in the average score department over the first four matches (9-2.5 over Davis’ 9-3.2).
 
Davis picked up Tony Sulsar (racing to 8) in his winners’ side semifinal match, while Wiley drew Jordan Gartenberg (racing to 7). Davis downed Sulsar 9-5. Wiley joined him in the hot seat match with a 9-3 win over Gartenberg. Davis took the first of two over Wiley 9-4, which put him in the hot seat and guaranteed that he’d be recording his best finish, to date, on the 2018 tour (he’d finished 9/12th and 4th in the previous two events).
 
Sulsar, looking to improve on his 9th place spot on the tour standings, moved to the loss side and picked up Tony Top, who’d most recently defeated Alberto Nieto Garcia 7-3 and Isaac Leyendecker 7-2 to reach him. Gartenberger drew Justin Whitehead, who was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had seen him eliminate the #2 player in the tour standings, Rick Stanley, as well as, most recently Corey Flud (#6) 8-3 and Tim Larsen 8-6.
 
Top downed Sulsar 7-6 (Sulsar racing to 8), as Gartenberg ended Whitehead’s loss-side winning streak, double hill. Gartenberg, already assured of his best finish, to date, on the 2018 tour, took another step, downing Top in the quarterfinals 7-5 to earn himself a re-match against Wiley in the semifinals.
 
Gartenberg fought furiously in that semifinal match, forcing a single deciding game. Wiley, however, won it 9-6 (Gartenberg racing to 7) to earn himself a second shot at Davis in the hot seat. Davis and Wiley duplicated their 9-4 score from the hot seat match, and Davis claimed the event title.
 
Last Lady honors went to Alicia Stanley, with a second-place split between Tracie Voelkering and Ricki Casper. A Second Chance event drew 12 entrants, and was won by Dee Davis. In a rare Second Chance appearance, Rick Stanley finished second.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Store, JB Cases, Dallas Eightball League, Outsville (AccuRack), Fargo Rate, BCAPL/CSI, Internet Marketing Solutions and Granite Guyz. The next stop on the Predator Cues’ DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for April 28-29, will be hosted by JR Pockets in Denton, TX.
 

Stanley stops 12-match, loss-side streak by Wiley to go undefeated on DFW 9-Ball Tour

(l to r): Rick Stanley, Corey Flud & CJ Wiley

CJ Wiley should be the ‘poster child’ for some form of additional prize awarded to competitors in pool tournaments who lose an opening round match and win 10 or more on the loss side to meet and ultimately either defeat or lose to the occupant of a given tournament’s hot seat. Perhaps extra tour ranking points, a little bonus cash? Something, for while runner-up money is all well and good, a 10-match or more winning streak on the loss side of a double elimination bracket is a significant accomplishment, worthy of some official kind of recognition.
 
Though Rick Stanley went undefeated on the February 17-18 stop (#2) on the Dallas/Fort Worth 9-Ball Tour and deserves all of the accolades that go along with that, he did so by chalking up eight match victories, all with the double elimination bracket’s built-in margin for error, allowing a single loss without elimination. The handicap format saw Stanley (racing to 9) face six 7s, one 6, and one 9 (Wiley), and chalk up an average score against opponents of 9-2.7. CJ Wiley won 12 on the loss side of that double elimination bracket, with an average match score of 9-3, and faced five 6s, six 7s, and one 8, before his straight-up race to 9 in the finals against Stanley. The tour-ranking end result allowed Wiley to maintain his #1 spot on the tour rankings, while Stanley, competing in his first stop on the 2018 tour, moved from nowhere into second place. The $1,700-added event drew 108 competitors to The Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
With Wiley at work on the loss side, Stanley worked his way through five opponents (JP Kinman, Walt Anderson, Ashraf Aldamen, Mike Voelkering, and Marcelino Santiago) to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Amos Bush. Corey Flud, in the meantime, chalked up three double hill wins in getting by Chris Woody Smith (double hill), Danny Williams, Roman Bayda (double hill), and Donny Gregory (double hill) to arrive at the other winners’ side semifinal against Judd Hunter.
 
Stanley downed Bush 9-1, as Flud (in a straight-up race to 7) defeated Hunter 7-3. Stanley claimed the hot seat 9-4 over Flud and waited for Wiley to complete his epic loss-side run.
 
Over on the loss side, Wiley got by five opponents just to advance to the first money round (the tie for 25th place). He got by four more, including a 9-5 win over Donny Gregory and a 9-4 win over Steve Collins, before running into Bush, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Hunter drew TJ Davis, who’d eliminated Cody Wright 8-4 and Marcelino Santiago 8-1 to reach him.
 
Wiley downed Bush 9-4, and was joined in the quarterfinal match by Davis, who’d eliminated Hunter 8-2. Wiley took the quarterfinal match over Davis 9-3 and completed his long trek back to the finals with a 9-5 win over Flud in the semifinals.
 
And there it was. The final match between two of the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s top-ranked competitors, although one (Stanley) had yet to compete on the tour’s 2018 schedule. Stanley completed his undefeated run with a 9-5 victory over Wiley and settled into the second spot on the tour rankings.
 
The weekend also included a new, but soon-to-be-repeated preliminary event, held on Friday night, pitting two area teams (Dallas & Fort Worth) against each other. Called the DFW 2018 Tour Cup, and modeled after the Mosconi Cup, the first event saw Dallas take the Cup 5-2.
 
“It was very well-received,” noted tour representatives, “and we will more than likely be having more events of this type in the future.”
 
A Second Chance event that drew 17 entrants saw Tony Sulsar take the top spot, with Shan Iyer as runner-up. The “Last Lady” award of the main event ($50) was split between Kiengchay (Kitty) Phoutthavong and Tera Saunders.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of the Billiard Den, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, JB Cases, Dallas Eightball League, Outsville (AccuRack), Fargo Rate, BCAPL/CSI, Internet Marketing Solutions, and Granite Guyz. The next stop on the DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 24-25, will be hosted by Rusty's Billiards in Arlington, TX. 

Guernsey double dips Sulsar to win season and tour finale of Omega Billiard Tour

(l to r): Paul Guernsey, Tony Sulsar & Mike Rountree

On the weekend of December 15-16, at a $5,400-added event, which drew 75 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX, Paul Guernsey ended a three-match trip on the loss side to defeat  Tony Sulsar twice in a double elimination final, and capture the event title. In another interpretation of ‘double elimination final,’ it was not only the last event of the Omega Billiard Tour’s sixth season, it was also the final event of the Omega Billiard Tour itself.
 
Taking a cue from tour director Melinda Bailey about this occasion, we’ll defer comments on the end of the tour to the end of this report and highlight the players and the event that closed out its 2017 season.
 
For a while, at the start of Paul Guernsey’s pool career (or at least as much of it as was recorded here at AZBilliards), the only event at which he regularly earned any money was the annual Texas Open. The first time he appeared in our database, he finished second behind David Gutierrez in the 27th Annual Texas Open in 2000. It was the only entry for him that year. The following year, the only entry was his 4th place finish in the 28th Annual Texas Open. Two years later, he finished in the tie for 13th place at the 30th Annual Texas Open, and the following year, he finished 4th again. All single entries in his site profile. Just over a decade later, he started showing up on the payout lists of the Omega Billiard Tour; twice in 2015, once in 2016, and this year, four times, including another second-place finish, behind Justin Whitehead at an Omega stop in April (he competed in five of the tour’s 12 events in 2017).
 
This past weekend, Guernsey broke through and won his first major event, doing it in what most players would describe as ‘the hard way;’ coming from the loss side to challenge and twice defeat a hot seat occupant.  He played a preliminary round (one of 12 matches to gain entry into the larger winners’ side bracket), and advanced through four other matches, allowing his opponents an average of between three and four racks per match (3.6) in races to 8; against Steve Raynes (4), Bobby Diggs (2), Dario Gomez (5), Aram Hasan (6) and a measly single rack to Doug Winnett. This gave Guernsey a shot at Mike Rountree in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Tony Sulsar, in the meantime, bypassed the preliminary round and faced four opponents, with whom he was stingier than Guernsey, giving up an average of between two and three racks per match (2.75) against Shan Iyer (3), Steve Sheppard (4), Chris Rickman (1) and Mike Nagaki (3). This set Sulsar up in the other winners’ side semifinal against Roman Bayda, who had just sent the tour’s #1-ranked player, Rick Stanley, to the loss side.
 
In a straight-up race to 8, Sulsar advanced to the hot seat match over Bayda 8-4. He was joined by Rountree, who’d sent Guernsey to the loss side 7-7 (Guernsey racing to 8). Sulsar claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Rountree, chalking up what would prove to be his last match win.
 
On the loss side, Guernsey picked up Stanley, who, following his loss to Bayda, had eliminated Phillip Palmer 9-5 and Mike Nagaki 9-3. Bayda drew Luis Lopez, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included wins over Doug Winnett 7-4 and Gerardo Perez, double hill, in a straight-up race to 7.
 
Guernsey ended Stanley’s short, loss-side bid for a fifth win on this year’s tour with an 8-5 win, as Bayda ended Lopez’ loss-side streak at six with a double hill win (8-6). Guernsey and Bayda battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, with Guernsey advancing for a second shot against Rountree in the semifinals.
 
Guernsey got by Rountree 8-4 in those semifinals and with, at minimum, another runner-up finish in his pocket, he turned his attention to Sulsar in the hot seat; the tour’s #8-ranked player (Sulsar) versus its #23-ranked player (Guernsey). Guernsey took the two-set opener in convincing fashion 8-3, and though Sulsar would chalk up two more racks in the second set, it wasn’t enough to keep Guernsey from capturing his first title on the tour’s last stop.
 
Regarding this last event on the tour she’s directed for the past six years, tour director Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards (where the tour began six years ago, and ended on this weekend), as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. Regarding the past six years, she had a few more expressions of gratitude to pass along.
 
The announcement came in September. It stated that “due to increased responsibilities at (Bailey’s full-time job), and future career opportunities,” along with the need for the tour’s main sponsor, OMEGA Billiards Supply, “to make sound business and financial decisions” that, by mutual agreement, they “could no longer move forward with the Omega Billiards Tour after this year.” The statement expressed thanks “to all, for helping put the DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth) pool scene back on the map for the past five and a half years.”
 
“We loved the players, the pool rooms, and the fans,” the statement went on to say, “and we wish you all nothing but the best in your pool journeys.”
 
Bailey added the released statement and wrote about the decision in a September entry to her blog – Pool is a Journey (http://pooljourney.blogspot.com/2017/09/tough-decisions.html).
 
“I want to sincerely thank you for always being so supportive, responsive and a great friend to (me) and the tour,” she wrote.
 
She expanded on this theme in one of her regular-as-clockwork e-mails to us here at AZBilliards, which provided us, at the conclusion of every tour stop, all of the information necessary to write a coherent report on each event.  It should be noted, in that regard, that we here at AZBilliards extend our thanks to her, as well.
 
“It had always been a dream of mine to start a tour in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for the players and businesses,” she wrote to us. “I am so honored to have received such great support the last six years from the players, the sponsors and pool rooms that helped make the tour successful.”
 
“We grew from six stops a year with 64 players at each stop, and $1,200-added, to 12 stops a year with nearly 100 players and $1,700-added,” she wrote. “THANK YOU! Going to miss you all.”
 
She also took the time to explain that a new tour will debut in the DFW area soon, with, she explained, “11 stops next year.”
 
“So,” she wrote, “players will still have a tour to play on, which is really awesome.”
 
At the conclusion of her September blog entry, she inserted a quote from Lessons Learned in Life, which summed up the joy of the tour, the friends she’d made, and ultimately, the turmoil of the decision to move on.
 
“You will know you made the right decision,” it said, “when you pick the hardest and most painful choice, but your heart is at peace.”
 
We wish her well! 

Davis navigates through a field of 98, goes undefeated to take Stop #11 on Omega Billiard Tour

(l to r): Robert Clark, TJ Davis & Crispian Ng

According to records available to us, until May of this year, TJ Davis hadn’t cashed in a tournament in four years. His last recorded payout came when he was runner-up in a Lone Star Billiard Tour stop in July, 2013. He broke that absence chain and got busy again this past May on the fifth stop of The Omega Billiards Tour when he finished fifth. He followed that with a 9th place finish in June, a 17th place finish in September and last month (October), took third on the tour’s 10th stop. All of which put him in 16th place in the tour rankings. On the weekend of November 11-12, Davis leapfrogged over 11 competitors on that ranking list (from 16th to 6th place) with an undefeated run through 98 entrants on the tour’s 11th (second-to-last) stop. Davis’ opponent in the finals, Crispian Ng, did a little leapfrogging of his own, jumping from eighth place to two ahead of Davis in 4th place. The $1,700-added event drew its 98 entrants to The Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
Davis opened his undefeated run with a victory over Tony Sulsar (8-4), who started the weekend 11 spots ahead of Davis in the tour rankings and ended up one spot behind him in 7th place. Davis moved on to defeat Hector Guerrero, Jersey Jack Lynch, and Albert Nieto, who started and finished the weekend in third place in the tour rankings. This set Davis up in a winners’ side semifinal against Ricki Casper, who’d just sent Ng to the loss side. Robert Clark, in the meantime, faced Jalal Yousef in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Davis defeated Casper 8-3 and was joined in the hot seat match by Clark, who’d sent Yousef to the loss side 8-6. In a straight-up race to 8, Davis claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Clark, and waited for Ng to complete a five-match, loss-side run and face him in the finals.
 
On the loss side, Ng opened his five-match march to the finals with an 8-6 win over Justin Whitehead, and followed it with an 8-3 win over Nieto, to pick up Yousef. Casper drew Chris Rickman, who’d much earlier, on the winners’ side, handed the tour’s #1-ranked player, Rick Stanley, his first loss, and then, on the loss side, defeated Juan Bastista 6-5 (Batista racing to 7) and Mike Voelkering 6-4 (Voelkering, #2 in tour rankings before and after this stop, had handed Stanley his second loss).
 
Ng advanced to the quarterfinals with a double hill win over Yousef (8-8; Yousef, racing to 9). He was joined by Rickman, who’d eliminated Casper 6-2. Ng gave up only one rack to Rickman in the quarterfinals and in a straight-up race to 8 in the semifinals, gave up only three to Clark. Davis completed his undefeated run with an 8-6 win over Ng in the finals.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at The Billiard Den for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiard Tour will be the tour’s Season Finale, restricted to players who have played in at least five stops on this year’s tour. The $5,000-added event will be hosted by Rusty’s Billiards in Fort Worth, TX on December 16-17. 

Stanley jumps way out in front of Omega Billiard Tour standings with undefeated fourth win

(l to r): Tony Top, TJ Davis, Rick Stanley

 

Rick Stanley cemented his hold on the top spot in the Omega Billiards Tour rankings with an undefeated win on the weekend of October 14-15. It was his fourth overall win on the tour since February, and his third undefeated trip. The $1,700-added event drew 64 entrants to The Hideaway in Dallas, TX.
 
Stanley had to face a relatively unexpected opponent in both the hot seat match and finals. Tony Top, who made his first appearance on the 2017 tour in September, finishing well out of the money, successfully navigated his way through six opponents – five on the winners’ side and one on the loss side – to challenge Stanley and in finishing second, rocketed from #170 on the rankings list to somewhere among the tour’s top 40 players.
 
Following victories over Frank Cherry, Robert Reighter, Robin Barbour, and Gerardo Perez, Stanley moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against TJ Davis. Top, in the meantime, having defeated Curtis Cardwell, Highway Sigadi, Mike Nagaki, and Robert Clark, faced Hector Guerrero in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Stanley sent Davis to the loss side 9-3, as Top was busy sending Guerrero over 7-3. In their first of two, Stanley claimed the hot seat over Top with a 9-4 win.
 
On the loss side, Davis picked up Robert Clark, who, following a defeat at the hands of Top in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals, had defeated Mike Voelkering (#2 in the tour rankings) 8-3 and Alberto Nieto 8-1. Guerrero drew Gerardo Perez, who’d dropped a winners’ side quarterfinal match against Stanley and then, over the next two matches, gave up only two racks; none at all to Michael Thomas and two to Curtis Cardwell.
 
Davis downed Clark 8-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Perez, who’d eliminated Guerrero 7-4. Davis ended Perez’ three-match, loss-side streak 8-6 in those quarterfinals, and then had his two-match, loss-side streak ended in a double hill battle against Top.
 
The wait did nothing to slow Stanley down. He’d given up four racks to Top in the hot seat match, and reduced that number to one in the finals, claiming the event title.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at The Hideaway, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiard Tour, scheduled for November 11-12, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by The Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 

Stanley maintains top spot with undefeated win on the Omega Billiard Tour

Doug Pitts, Jesse Hernandez and Rick Stanley

 

Rick Stanley came into the 7th stop on the Omega Billiard Tour as its top player, ahead of Mike Voelkering by 70 points. At the end of that July 15-16, $1,700-added event that drew 64 entrants to Open Table in Azle, TX, Stanley had held on to that top spot, with Voelkering, finishing fourth, maintaining his position in second place. Stanley went undefeated through the field to capture the event title.
 
After four wins each, Stanley and Voelkering went head to head in one of the winners' side semifinals of this most recent event, as Jesse Hernandez (#17 on the tour's rankings list) and Robin Barbour (#16) squared off in the other one. Stanley (racing to 9) sent Voelkering (racing to 7) to the loss side 9-4. Hernandez sent Barbour over 7-3 to join Stanley in the hot seat match. Stanley put an exclamation point onto his victory in the hot seat match by shutting Hernandez out.
 
Over on the loss side, Voelkering opened his loss-side trek against Fahad Alrawi, who'd defeated Chris Rickman, double hill, and Justin Whitehead 5-2 to reach him. Barbour drew Douglas Pitts, who'd been defeated in the opening round of play and was on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak, that would include, most recently, victories over Jay Murillo 7-1 and Luis Lopez 7-4.
 
Voelkering and Pitts advanced to the quarterfinals; Voelkering 7-1 over Alrawi, and Pitts, chalking up loss-side win #8, 7-4 over Barbour. Voelkering's opportunity to gain ranking ground on Stanley was spoiled by Pitts, who won his last match of the weekend with a 7-5 win over Voelkering. Hernandez, though, spoiled any hopes Pitts may have been entertaining about an event victory by defeating him 7-2 in the semifinals.
 
After being shut out in the hot seat match, Hernandez put up a fight in those finals. He managed to chalk up four, but Stanley chalked up his requisite nine, claimed the event title and maintained his top-ranking on the Omega Billiard Tour.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at Open Table, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiards Tour, scheduled for Aug. 5-6, will be hosted by Wizards in Richardson, TX.

Gutierrez returns to the Texas stage to go undefeated on Omega Billiard Tour

(l to r): Mike Voelkering, Jay Murillo, David Gutierrez

Seventeen years ago, David Gutierrez chalked up a win at the 27th Annual Texas Open. It was his first appearance in the payout lists of the AZBilliards database, which, with two exceptions, has included cash winnings for him every year since then. The exceptions were 2006 and last year. He won the Texas Open a second time in 2005, and cashed in that event on a number of other occasions. A regular and regular winner on the Fast Eddie's Tour in Texas, and the Lone Star Billiards Tour, he's appeared and cashed in major events like the Derby City Classic, The US Open 9-Ball Championships and The US Bar Table Championships. His best year, according to our records was 2004, in which he won a stop on the Fast Eddie's and Top Dawg Billiards Tour's One Pocket division, along with cash appearances in (among others) two Carolina Opens, a stop on the Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, and the Music City Classic.
 
On the weekend of June 24-25, after a year of absence from any of our payout lists (which means, basically, that if he won any tournaments, we didn't hear about them), he returned to the Texas stage and chalked up a win on the sixth stop of the Omega Billiards Tour. Gutierrez went undefeated through a field of 85 in the $1,700-added event, that was hosted by Click's Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
Five matches that included two shutouts brought Gutierrez to a winners' side semifinal against Amos Bush, the first opponent he faced who was, at the time of the match, ranked among the Omega Tour's top 20 players (#17). Mike Voelkering (#9), in the meantime, met up with Ray Amarro. Gutierrez downed Bush 9-5, and was met in the hot seat match by Voelkering, who'd defeated Amarro 7-4. Gutierrez claimed his first (known) hot seat since 2015 with a 9-1 victory, and waited on Voelkering's return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Bush picked up Jay Murillo, who, after being defeated by Aram Hasan in the third round, was on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak, that included a victory over the tour's #1-ranked player, Rick Stanley, and would take him as far as the semifinals. He'd recently defeated TJ Davis 6-4 and George Merchan 6-2 to reach Bush. Amarro drew Robbie Cleland, who'd been one of Gutierrez' shutout victims in one of the winners' side quarterfinals and on the loss side, defeated Doug Winnett 7-3 and Greg Sandifer 7-6 (Sandifer racing to 8).
 
Murillo downed Bush 6-4, and in the quarterfinals, ran into Cleland, who'd eliminated Amarro 7-2. With Cleland racing to 7, Murillo chalked up his last win 6-6 over Cleland, before running into Voelkering, who ended Murillo's loss-side streak 7-1. Voelkering put up a bit more of a fight in the finals than he had in the hot seat match, but Gutierrez prevailed 9-4 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership at staff at Click's for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com, and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiards Tour, scheduled for July 15-16, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by Open Table in Azle, TX.
 
 

 

Whitehead stops long-haul, loss-side bid by Guernsey to win 4th stop on Omega Billiards Tour

Roman Bayda, Justin Whitehead and Paul Guernsey

A frequent competitor over the years in the annual US Bar Table Championships, Oklahoma's Justin Whitehead brought his small-table skills to the fourth stop on the Omega Billiards Tour on the weekend of April 29-30. Played on 8-foot tables, the $1,700-added event drew 95 entrants to JR Pockets in Denton, TX. Whitehead, who chalked up what proved to be his first major tour win four years ago, downing Sylver Ochoa in the finals of a Poison by Predator Tour stop in Houston, and this past February, was runner-up to Manny Chau in a stop on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, came within a single match of going undefeated in this most recent event. The single loss came in the opening set of a true double elimination final at the hands of Paul Geurnsey, who, following a defeat at the hands of Donnie Gregory in the opening round, won 11 matches on the loss side to challenge Whitehead in the finals. Whitehead came back from the first set loss to give up only a single game in the second set and claim the event title.
 
Whitehead's journey to the winners' circle was almost re-routed in the second round, when Jeremy Jones battled him to double hill. Whitehead prevailed, though, and arrived at a winners' side semifinal against Chuck Dement, having given up, on average, only 3.5 racks per match (the figure would have been less than 2, had it not been for Jones chalking up eight against him). Roman Bayda, in the meantime, who, like Whitehead, had been challenged in a double hill match in the second round by the tour's ranking leader, Rick Stanley, advanced for a winners' side semifinal match against Crispian Ng.
 
As is often the case, the challenges increased for Whitehead as the winners' side matches narrowed. He downed Dement 8-5, as Bayda was busy sending Ng to the loss side by the same score. Whitehead faced his second double hill challenge, battling Bayda for the hot seat . He won it and waited on Guernsey.
 
Moving to the loss side, it was Dement who had the misfortune of picking up Guernsey, who was eight matches in to his 11-match, loss-side streak, which had included the elimination of Stanley, and more recent victories over Cody Wright 8-4 and Robin Barbour 8-3. Guernsey's hopes for a re-match against Gregory fell short by a single match, spoiled by Barbour, who'd defeated Gregory 7-2 in the 9/12 matches. Ng drew Mike Nagaki, who'd just eliminated Brandon Thrasher and Albert Nieto, both 7-4.
 
Guernsey, apparently on something of a mission, shut out Dement, as Ng downed Nagaki 8-4. In a straight-up race to 8, Guernsey defeated Ng 8-4 in the quarterfinals, and in another straight-up race to 8, gave up only a single rack to Bayda in the semifinals.
 
Whitehead managed to slow Guernsey down a bit in the opening set of the true double elimination final, though not by enough, as Guernsey took that opening set 8-5. Whitehead dominated the deciding set, allowing Guernsey only a single rack on his way to claiming the event title.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff of JR Pockets, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiards Tour, scheduled for May 27-28, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by Puckett's in Fort Worth, TX.

Stanley comes from the loss side to double dip Sneed at Stop #3 on Omega Billiards Tour

Tony Sulsar, Denny Sneed and Rick Stanley

Denny Sneed sent him to the loss side, so it was only fitting that Rick Stanley came back from a three-match visit to double dip him in the finals and claim the event title. The $1,700-added event, Stop # 3 on the Omega Billiards Tour, drew 85 entrants to Pockets in Euless, TX on the weekend of March 25-26. 
 
Sneed's four-match jaunt to the winners' side semifinal against Stanley, saw him face opponents with increasing handicaps. Sneed (a "7") downed a "4" (7-0), a "5" (7-2), a "6" (7-5) and another "7" (7-1) to draw Stanley, a "9." Stanley came within a game of chalking up as many racks against Sneed (7) in the winners' side semifinal than all four of Sneed's previous opponents combined. The tie score, however (7-7), was not enough. Stanley moved to the loss side, as Sneed advanced to the hot seat match against Tony Sulsar ("8"), who'd sent Robby Cleland over 8-4. Sneed claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Sulsar and waited on Stanley's return.
 
On the loss side, Stanley's three-match trip back to the finals began against Phillip Palmer, whose eight-match, loss-side winning streak was about to come to an end. Wins #7 and #8 for Palmer came at the expense of Mark Szabo 7-4 and Cory Anderson 7-3. Cleland drew Mike Voelkering, who'd been sent to the loss side by Sneed in a winners' side quarterfinal match, and defeated Doug Winnett and Donnie Gregory, both 7-3. 
 
Stanley defeated Palmer 9-3, as Voelkering was busy eliminating Cleland 7-5. Stanley then eliminated Voelkering 9-1 in the quarterfinals, and though Sulsar put up a respectable fight in the semifinals that followed, Stanley advanced 9-6 to his rematch against Sneed in the finals.
 
Sneed was racing to 7, while Stanley was racing to 9. Stanley took the opening set of the true double elimination final 9-2. Sneed chalked up an extra rack in the second set, but Stanley won it to claim the event title.
 
Tour Director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at Pockets, in addition to sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. Stop #4 on the Omega Billiard Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 29-30, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by JR Pocket in Denton, TX. 

Stanley climbs the ladder and goes undefeated on Omega Billiards Tour

Amos Bush, Tony Sulsar, Rick Stanley and Doug Winnett

Rick Stanley cashed in two events on the Texas-based Omega Billiards Tour in 2016, finishing third in August and runner-up to Danny Williams in September. On the weekend of February 11-12, he completed this somewhat modest climb up the 'finish' ladder with an undefeated win on the tour. The $1,700-added event drew 87 entrants to Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
With victories over Steven Thorne, Bob Youngblood, Denny Steed, Albert Nieto, and Jay Murillo, allowing them each an average of just over three racks per match, Stanley moved into a winners' side semifinal against Doug Winnett. Tony Sulsar, in the meantime, who'd allowed an  average of just over 2.4 racks per match against Crispian Ng, Brandon Thrasher, Terrance Cockman, Douglas Pitts, and Hector Guerrero, faced Shan Iyer in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Stanley and Sulsar moved into the hot seat match; Stanley 9-4 over Winnett and Sulsar 8-2 over Iyer. Stanley claimed the hot seat 9-4 over Sulsar and waited on what turned out to be the return of Amos Bush, who launched a nine-match, loss-side winning streak to challenge him in the finals.
 
Bush, who'd been sent to the loss side by Julie Stephenson, double hill, in his second round of play, got by Mike Voelkering, Juan Batista, Rob Lovelace, Douglas Pitts, and Jay Murillo to earn himself a re-match against Stephenson in a battle for 7th place. He downed her 7-1 to draw Iyer. Winnett, in the meantime, picked up Robert Kempf, who'd defeated Barry Emerson 6-6 (Emerson racing to 8) and, in a straight-up race to 6, Hector Guerrero 6-4.
 
In a straight-up race to 7, Bush picked up loss-side win #7, double hill over Iyer. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Winnett, who'd eliminated Kempf 7-4. Bush then defeated Winnett 7-3.
 
Bush completed his loss-side run with a 7-5 semifinal victory over Sulsar, earning himself a shot against Stanley in the finals. Stanley, though, was not in the mood to allow Bush a well-earned event victory. He defeated Bush 9-3 (Bush racing to 7) to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at the Billiard Den for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Omega Billiards, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiard Tour, scheduled for March 25-26, will be another $1,700-added event, hosted by Pockets Billiards in Euless, TX.