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O’Callaghan goes undefeated to take Predator stop at Steinway

Troy Deocharran, Shawn Sookhai, Gary O’Callaghan and Greg Matos

The missing link had a way of influencing the outcome. On Labor Day weekend, at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, one of the remaining 12 competitors, out of 63 that had registered to compete in the $1,000-added stop on the Predator Tour, forfeited a winners’ side semifinal match. The ripple effect gave Greg Matos a pass into the hot seat match, and later, gave Troy Deocharran a pass into the quarterfinals. Benefiting in one way or another from both of those matches, Gary O’Callaghan, whose last known tour victory was on the Tri-State Tour, four years ago, went undefeated to claim the event title.
As noted above, the ‘missing link,’ (Paul Lyons) forfeited  his winners’ side semifinal match to Greg Matos, while O’Callaghan was busy sending Basdeo “Shawn” Sookhai to the loss side 8-3 in the other one. As an Amateur event, all of the matches were handicapped, including the hot seat match, which, in a race to 10, gave Matos five racks to start with. He chalked up three more, but O’Callaghan reached 10, claimed the hot seat and waited there for Matos to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Troy Deocharran, who’d survived a double hill encounter versus Jessica Lynn, and defeated Jason Carandan 7-4, drew Lyons, whose forfeiture, advanced Deocharran to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Basdeo “Shawn” Sookhai, who’d drawn Duc Lam, fresh off victories over Rhio “Annie” Flores 8-6 and Max Watanabe 7-4. Sookhai took the quarterfinal match 7-3 over Deocharran, only to have his own loss-side effort for a re-match against O’Callaghan derailed by Matos in the semifinals 8-6.
With the same handicap in place, Matos opened the finals with five on the wire, and didn’t add any. O’Callaghan chalked up his 10, and grabbed the event title.
The Labor Day weekend tour stop offered two Second Chance tournaments. The first, which drew 16 entrants was won by Robert Pole, who downed Cristobal Tiru 9-7 in the finals. The second (which, of course, would technically be the third) drew a smaller crowd of 10 and was won by Mike Salerno, who beat Bob Toomey 11-9 in those finals. Competitors in the Second Chance events boosted the total entrants at the tour stop to 89.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, the NAPL, Ozone Billiards, PoolOnTheNet.Com, Cappelle Publishing, and Delta-13 Racks. Robles also acknowledged the continuing support and assistance of Mandy Wu (ass’t TD), Irene Kim, and his “lovely wife,” Gail Robles. The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for September 16-17, will be a $1,000-added Amateur event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens.