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Foldes comes back from semifinals to win 8th Annual Markulis Memorial

Going into the 8th Annual Chuck Markulis Memorial Tournament, an official Mosconi Cup Team USA ranking event, Rodney Morris was at the top of the rankings list that will be used to determine the members of the Mosconi Cup Team, set to compete in December. When it was over, Morris remained at the top of that list, adding points to his total as the runner-up to Hungary's Vilmos Foldes, who came back from a hot seat defeat at the hands of Morris to beat him in the finals. The $10,000-added event drew 78 entrants to Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA on the weekend of May 14-15.
As organizers of the Mosconi Cup, Matchroom Pool sets standards regarding the varied tournaments that qualify as ranking events. Based on a variety of factors (money-added, participants, etc.), each qualifying event falls into one of three levels, each divided into separate grades. The Markulis Memorial fell into a Level Two, Grade Two category, which allots 40 ranking points to the winner, and 32 to the runner-up. According to Mosconi Cup captain Mark Wilson, these figures could be adjusted slightly, if, for example, an event failed to deliver on a stated amount of money-added, or total participants. In addition to the 32 points that Morris earned as runner-up in the Markulis Memorial (pending any adjustments), Oscar Dominguez, who came into the tournament in third place in the rankings (behind Morris and Mike Dechaine) picked up 22 points for his finish in the tie for 5th place. Hunter Lombardo, who entered the tournament at #7 on the rankings list, added 14 points to his total. 
Morris and Foldes played their first match (together) of the Markulis Memorial, battling for the hot seat. Morris had just survived a double hill match against Tony Chohan, in which he'd been forced to come back from a major deficit. Foldes, in the meantime, sent Skippy Nikakis to the loss side 11-7. Morris claimed the hot seat over Foldes with an 11-5 win that proved to be his last.
On the loss side, Chohan picked up Oscar Dominguez, who'd chalked up a win against his father, Ernesto, by forfeit (the two never compete against each other in tournaments, the father always deferring to the son) and then, defeated Francis Ritarita 9-6. Nikakis drew Amar Kang, who, following a defeat at the hands of Morris, had eliminated Jason Williams 9-6 and Rudy Estoque 9-5.
Kang defeated Nikakis 9-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals against Chohan, who'd defeated Dominguez 9-2, stopping Dominguez' quest for added Mosconi Cup ranking points at 22. Kang then ended Chohan's weekend with a 9-6 victory before himself being eliminated by Foldes in the semifinals 9-3. 
Foldes turned his attention to a re-match against Morris. In a strong reversal of fortunes, Foldes defeated Morris 13-4 in the single set final.
Going into the tournament, Foldes was not among the top 11 players vying for ranking points for selection to the European team, nor was the Markulis Memorial among the qualifying events for selection to the team (the US Open 9-Ball Championship is the only American qualifying event among 13 for selection to that team). There are 27 qualifying events for ranking points leading to a selection for the US team, three of which are overseas – The WPA World 9-Ball Championships in Qatar, The WPA China Open in Shanghai, and The WPA Kuwait Open. A full schedule of qualifying events for the US team can be found here at The schedule for European events can be found at the Matchroom Pool Web site –

Oscar Dominguez Wins Mezz West State Tour: Season 3: Stop #1

Oscar Dominguez

The Mezz West State Tour is back after a successful end to season 2 with some improvements for season 3. Traditionally, MWST were $2000 added, however, with the addition of several sponsors, we were able to push that added money to a standard of $2500 each event, with 18 events scheduled.
The first stop proved to be a successful one with 106 players from all over the west coast assembling at one of America's finest pool rooms, Hard Times Billiards. Room owners Mike and Karen Markulis are some of the biggest supporters of tournaments for decades and their love for their players continues. The MWST is proud to have three events this season at Hard Times and all the players have rave reviews on playing on their pristine equipment.
Leading the top half of the field was Stockton, CA young gun, Francis Ritarita. Francis, rated a 7 on our tour, has improved dramatically as his play is steadily becoming more consistent. With wins over Aaron Thompson, Bobby Yamasaki, Brendan Crockett, Cole Gibbons, Rudy Estoque, and Tommy "Too Good" Soria; Francis was able to play for the hot seat with solid play for two consecutive days.
The bottom half of the bracket was littered with professional players by the luck of the draw. Heavy hitters such as Mika Immonen, Rodney Morris, Ruben Bautista, Sal Butera, Amar Kang, and Oscar Dominguez all were placed in neighboring positions. However, it was Hungarian sharpshooter and former Junior World Champion, Vilmos Foldes who swam through a river of sharks. His victories included wins over Amar Kang, Jason Freeman, Jaynard Orque, Rodney Morris, Oscar Dominguez, and Jason Williams to set up the hot seat match between Francis Ritarita and himself. However, it was the seasoned pro who put a temporary halt to Ritarita's Cinderalla run to the finals with a dominating 9-4 scoreline.
While Vilmos Foldes dispatched top players to the B side of the chart, it set up marquee matches on who would face the Hungarian for the finals. World Champion Mika Immonen succumbed to San Francisco native, Rylan Hartnett who played excellent to defeat the Finnish champ to a 9-12 finish. The current points leader to the Mosconi Cup points race, Rodney Morris had a massive run through the one loss side with wins over Brendan Crockett, Ernesto Dominguez, Skip Nikakis, and Jason Williams. It wasnt until he faced Oscar Dominguez who himself had recorded several consecutive wins where Dominguez put a halt to the Rocket's quest for first prize. It was Dominguez who then faced Francis Ritarita in the finals of the one loss side and Francis led 8-6 in a race to 9. However, with some gritty safety shots and play, Oscar took the match to end Francis' vision of being the first 7 to win a MWST stop.
The single race finals to 11 between Vilmos Foldes and Oscar Dominguez was an epic battle to say the least These two players fought tooth and nail for every inning and after a quick 6-3 lead by Foldes, a slight hiccup gave all the opportunity Dominguez needed to come storming back. After the dust settled, it was Dominguez who emerged victorious with an 11-8 scoreline and earned himself the first win of season 3 on the Mezz West State Tour.
The staff at MWST would like to thank the Markulis Family and the staff at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento for all their hard work and continued support. In addition, none of this would be possible without our loyal sponsors which include: Mezz Cues (, West State Billiards Supply (, Aramith Billiard Balls (, Andy Billiard Cloth (, Turtle Rack (, ZAN Tips (, Tony Rodriguez of RE/MAX Gold Coast Real Estate, Kurzweil's Country Meats (, James Hanshew Custom Cues (, Cue Sports International (, Fast and Loose Designs (, Contact Point Media, and On The Wire Creative Media (