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Richmond comes back from semifinals to win 2018 Florida State 9-Ball Championships

(l to r): Mike Zingale, Nick Applebee, Steven Richmond, Miguel Batista, and Tony Crosby

In the summer of 2017, Stephen Richmond competed in two events at which he finished as runner-up; to Donny Mills in a June stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, and to Tommy Kennedy in an August stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour. In both events, Richmond got into the hot seat, only to be defeated in the finals. On the weekend of February 3-4, competing in the Florida Pool Tour’s $5,000-added, 2018 Florida State Amateur 9-Ball Championships, that drew 122 entrants to Zingale’s Billiards Room & Sports Bar in Tallahassee, FL, Richmond opted for a different route. He advanced to the hot seat match, but was defeated by Miguel Batista. He returned from the semifinals to defeat Batista, and claim the event title; his first, according to our available records, since he won a stop on the Pure X Cues All American Tour in April of 2013.
Richmond and Batista got into their first of two matches, battling for the hot seat, following identical 7-5 victories in the winners’ side semifinals; Richmond, over Denny Singletary, and Batista, over Steve Foster. They then proceeded to battle each other to a 7-5 finish that sent Richmond to the semifinals.
On the loss side, Singletary and Foster ran immediately into their second straight losses. Singletary went down in a double hill fight against Nick Applebee, who’d previously defeated Wesley White 5-1 and Matt Bulfin, also double hill. Foster was defeated 5-1 by Mike Delawder, who’d eliminated Jason Wells 5-3 and Rod Rentz 5-1 to reach him.
In what was described by tour officials as an “intense hill/hill (quarterfinal) match,” Applebee and Delawder fought back and forth for the right to meet Richmond in the semifinals. Applebee prevailed, only to be downed by an apparently determined Richmond 5-1.
In an extended race-to-9 final, Richmond and Batista came within a game of yet another double hill match. Richmond, though, pulled out in front to win it 9-7 and claim the event title.
A Second Chance event drew a full field of 64 entrants. It was won by Jeff Jordan.
Tour representatives thanked Mike Zingale and his staff for their hospitality at their brand new location (1147 Apalachee Parkway), as well as sponsors Simonis, Aramith, Stroke-It-Wear, Crosby’s Billiards and Darts, and XL Press Co. The next stop on the Florida Pool Tour, the 2018 Florida State Open 10-Ball Championship, scheduled for March 3-4, will once again be hosted by Zingale’s.

McKenny comes back from semifinals to down Buckley and claim Florida State 10-Ball title

Tony Crosby, Daniel McKinney, Benji Buckey and room owner Mike Zingale

With competitors like Mosconi Cup team member Sky Woodward, former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy, Robb Saez and Shane McMinn (among others) on the entrant list, one might have been forgiven for expecting a series of marquee matchups in the final hours of the Florida State 10-Ball Open, held on the weekend of January 7-8. Instead, in what must surely have been a surprise to Calcutta participants, you had Daniel McKenny and Benji Buckley battling twice – hot seat and finals – with Buckley, who was the 2016 champion, taking the first and McKenny claiming the title by winning the last. The $4,000-added event drew 77 entrants to Zingale's Billiards and Sports Bar in Tallahassee, FL.
With the aforementioned marquee players at work on the loss side (none of whom would make it out of the 7/8 slots), McKenny and Buckley advanced to the winners' side semifinals; McKenny taking on Butch Croft, Buckley meeting Stoney Stone. McKenny moved into the hot seat match with a 7-1 victory over Croft, while Buckley downed Stone 7-4. For the second year in a row, Buckley claimed the hot seat, this time 7-2 and waited for McKenny to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, the 'marquee four' found themselves battling in the second (9/12) money round. Saez eliminated Woodward 7-5, McMinn took care of Clint Nichols 7-1, and Denny Singletary finished Tommy Kennedy's weekend 7-5. Manny Perez knocked tour director Tony Crosby out of the running 7-4. McMinn and Saez were eliminated next; McMinn by Singletary, double hill, and Saez by Perez 7-3.
Singletary drew Stone, coming off his defeat in the winners' side semifinal, and Perez picked up Croft, coming off his. Singletary and Croft got right back into the swing of things and advanced to the quarterfinals; Singletary 7-3 over Stone, Croft surviving a double hill fight against Perez.
The quarterfinals were, at minimum, a $300 contest (the payout difference between 3rd and 4th place) and went double hill. Croft denied Stone a second shot against Buckley with the double hill win that gave him a shot. The semifinals were a $500 minimum battle (the difference between 2nd and 3rd place) and it almost went double hill. At the end, though, McKenny edged ahead by two 7-5 to get his second shot (an absolute $1,000 contest) against the reigning event champion, Buckley.
McKenny pulled it off. For the second match in a row, he was able to get ahead by two at the end to win it (9-7) and snatch the Florida State 10-Ball title away from Buckley.
A $1,000-added Second Chance event, which drew 50 entrants, saw Jamie Baraks go undefeated to claim the title. Baraks and Matt Bulfin, after shutting out their opponents (Jessie Middlebrooks and George Saunders, respectively) in the two winners' side semifinals, squared off in the hot seat match, won by Baraks 4-1. Bulfin downed Rod Rentz, double hill, in the semifinals, before Baraks defeated him a second time 5-3 in the finals. 
Tour director Tony Crosby thanked Mike Zingale and his staff for their hospitality and contribution to the prize money.  Crosby also noted that anyone interested in sponsoring the Florida Pool Tour should visit the tour Web site ( for contact information.

TK gets by Deuel twice to win Poison Florida State 10-Ball Championships

Tommy Kennedy

Seems like all he needed was a haircut.
Tommy Kennedy got one from his daughter and went out and won the Poison Florida State 10-Ball Championships on the weekend of January 12-13, defeating, for the first time in his life, Corey Deuel, twice.
"Really?" said Deuel, after the match, unaware that this was Kennedy's first victory against him.
"I'm amazed," said Kennedy, a few hours later.
Playing in his first major tournament since the US Open, Kennedy went undefeated through a field of 48, on-hand for the $4,000-added event, hosted by Zingales in Tallahassee, FL. Primarily a 9-ball player, Kennedy has been "warming" to 10-ball recently, and this win just might be a signal that he's right at home with it now.
He and Deuel met first in the hot seat match. Kennedy had sent Justin Hall to the loss bracket 9-4. Deuel had defeated James Roberts 9-5. With memories of 13 or 14 previous meetings stepping up to the table when he did, Kennedy overcame what might well have been a more daunting task than winning the tournament; defeating Deuel for the first time. He did so 9-6 and sat in the hot seat, feeling pretty good about a potential re-match, one would imagine.
Meanwhile, Hall and Roberts have moved over and picked up the tournament's sub-plot, otherwise known as Larry Nevel and Mike Davis. These two both lost in the opening round of play; Nevel to Mike Delawder (double hill) and Davis to Rod Rentz (9-5). They're both in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that will take them to the Quarterfinals. In the matches that will determine the four-way tie for ninth place, they draw each other's early nemesis. Davis downs Delawder (for Nevel) 9-6, while Nevel eliminates Rentz (for Davis) 9-3. 
They move on; Davis defeating J.R. Rossman 9-3, while Nevel eliminates David Grossman 9-6. Davis gets James Roberts, fresh from the winners' side, Nevel gets Justin Hall. Once Davis defeated Roberts 9-5 and Nevel got by Hall 9-6, someone's eight-match, loss-side winning streak was about to end.
It was Nevel who moved on, after a 9-6, quarterfinal win over Davis giving him a shot against Deuel in the semifinals. Deuel stopped Nevel's run at nine matches, defeating him 9-6 for his own second chance against Kennedy. 
Kennedy took an early 4-1 lead, which he never relinquished. He'd win five of the next seven, punctuating his first victory over Deuel, after many years, with a second victory in a matter of hours.
"This is one of the biggest (tournament wins) I've had in a long time," said Kennedy, adding a 'thank you' to Chris Nitti Cues, which supplied him with his cue for the event, and with which he'd been putting in 50-60 hours of practice, prior to the event.
Tour director Tony Crosby thanked Mike Zingale and his staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsors Poison Cues, as well as Simonis Cloth,  Aramith Balls and

Laha downs Rentz twice to win GSBT stop

Shannon Daulton, Duke Laha, Rod Rentz, & Melanie Archer (owner of Marietta Billiard Club)

The Great Southern Billiard Tour settled in to Johnny Archer‘s Marietta Billiards Club, in Marietta, GA on the weekend of August 11-12. The $1,500-added stop on the tour drew 64 entrants to the club, through which Duke Laha worked to attain the event title, defeating Rod Rentz two out of three times; once in the battle for the hot seat, and again, in the second set of a true double elimination final.

The two winners’ side semifinals featured three A-rated players, and Toppy Athakhanh, a B player. Laha faced Athakhanh, as Rentz squared off against Tommy Najar. Laha moved into the hot seat match with a 9-2 victory over Athakhanh, and faced Rentz, who’d sent Najar west 9-3. In their first of three, Laha prevailed 9-3 and sat in the hot seat, awaiting rounds two and three versus Rentz.

Athakhanh moved over and picked up double-A Josh Roberts, who’d defeated Jeff Hooks 11-5 and Dylan Letchworth 11-1 to reach him. Najar drew Clay Fisher, who’d gotten by Mark Rochester in a double hill match and Mike Langley 7-2. Najar got back to winning with a shutout over Fisher, as Roberts was busy ending Athakhanh’s day with an 11-5 victory.

In the quarterfinals that followed, Najar defeated Roberts 9-6, and moved into a semifinal rematch versus Rentz. Najar managed a single rack more than he’d chalked up in their first meeting among the winners’ side final four, but Rentz prevailed a second time for his own re-match against Laha. In the opening set of the true double elimination final, a straight-up race to 9, the two battled to double hill, before Rentz forced a second set with the final rack win. Laha roared back in the second set, taking nine out of the 13 games, to secure the event title.

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked Archer and his staff at Marietta Billiards for their 20,000 square foot hospitality and Scorpion room, details of which can be found at The Daultons also thanked sponsors Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Tiger Products and Delat-13 racks.

Archer dominates Southeast Open 9-Ball field; stops seven-match, loss side streak by Swope

Johnny Archer

At the end of four rounds of play at the Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour stop on the weekend of February 25-26, Johnny Archer had yet to give up a single rack. He gave up 11 over the next 27 games – four in the battle for the hot seat and seven in the finals – to capture the $1,000-added event that had drawn 34 entrants to a new (and future) venue for the tour, Danny’s Billiards in Baxley, GA.

Tour director Tommy Kennedy sat this one out, which might otherwise have led to a re-match against Archer. The week prior, Archer had defeated Kennedy in the finals of the Andy Grubs Memorial Event at Starcade Billiards in Fort Walton Beach, FL. 

With 34 players filling out a 64-player bracket, most of the first round action entailed ‘byes.’ Archer opened play with shutouts over Mike Matsie, Tom Godwin and J.R. Rossman, which moved him among the winners’ side final four to face Bret Hawes. Rod Rentz, in the meantime, faced Chad Royal. Archer chalked up his fourth straight shutout, over Hawes, to move into the hot seat match versus Rentz, who’d sent Royal west 7-3. Archer gave up his first four racks in a 7-4 win over Rentz, which left him in the hot seat, awaiting John Swope, who would win seven straight on the loss side to meet him in the finals.

On the loss side, with two victories behind him, Swope defeated Gregg Sheffield and Billy Ray, both 7-3, to pick up Hawes. Royal drew Jay Wideman (singled out by Kennedy for what was described as an “outstanding performance”), who won a double hill match over Mark Taber to move into the money rounds, and then won a second double hill battle against J.R. Rossman to meet Royal.

Royal ended Wideman’s bid 7-5 and moved into the quarterfinals versus Swope, who’d downed Hawes 7-4. Swope then defeated Royal by the same 7-4 score and downed Rentz 7-5 in the semifinals.

If Hallmark hasn’t created a sympathy card for a pool player who’s won seven matches on the loss side and then has to face “The Scorpion,” Johnny Archer, in the finals of an event, they should. Swope put up a fight in the extended, race-to-9 finals, but Archer prevailed 9-7 to capture the title.

Prizes were awarded to the top junior, lady and senior player on the tour stop. Mikey Watson picked up the $25 prize for top junior, Lindsay Hunkele took home $25 as the top female, and P.C. Oliver, who finished just out of the money, won $50 as the top-finishing senior.

Tour Director Tommy Kennedy thanked Danny Stell and his staff at Danny’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Tiger Products, Mueller Sporting Goods, David Adams, Simonis Cloth, Cliff Manning of Manning Custom Cues, Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, and Robert Harris Custom Cues.

Kennedy again in Savannah

Tommy Kennedy

Tommy Kennedy made it two wins in a row at the Southside Billiard Club in Savannah, GA with an undefeated run through the field at this weekend's stop on the Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour. Kennedy defeated Rod Rentz for the hot seat and then went on to defeat Paul Brown in the final match 9-7 for the win.
The win earns Kennedy $710 while Brown won $500 for second. Rentz and Lance O'Neal filled out the top 4 spots.