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Franklin goes undefeated to win Stop #5 on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Robert Newkirk, Jeff Franklin, Ryan Braselman, Blake Kamiab

Challenged twice by previously unknown competitor, Ryan Braselman

It happens, but it’s rare. While an unknown player might surprise a few players in a bar or pool hall with a good performance in a game or a match, instances of relative unknowns enduring the rigors of a lengthy tournament and challenging more established players in the hot seat and finals of such an event are few and far between. And there are generally rules in place to avoid some random entrant from sneaking up on a tour’s regulars and ‘stealing’ a tournament by understating his or her skill level.

“If we don’t know you, you don’t have a Fargo rating, can’t find any history on your skill levels and no one can vouch for you that you have one,” said Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour representative, Monica Anderson, “we start you out as a ‘7,’ for guys, mainly.”

And so it was, for Ryan Braselman, new to Texas and the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, having migrated recently from Louisiana. He made it all the way into the hot seat of the tour’s 5th stop, defeating tour veteran Jeff Franklin, whose history (in AZBilliards’ database, at least) dates back 16 years to his 3rd place finish in the Texas 10-Ball Championships in 2005. Franklin came back from the semifinals to double dip the newcomer and claim the event title. The $1,500-added event drew 108 entrants to Rusty’s in Arlington, TX.

“As you can see with Braselman’s finish,” said Anderson, “he is indeed a skill level 7.”

Both Franklin and Braselman began the tournament with a bye. Franklin opened with a shutout victory over Jacky Halper, who was the lowest skill level player (4) that he would face the rest of the way. Franklin then defeated Bobby Diggs, Jeff Georges and TJ Davis (#9 on the tour standings list) to draw Blake Kamiab in one of the winners’ side semifinals. After his ‘bye,’ Braselman opened against a skill level 7, Friday Abismo, and after sending him to the loss side 7-3, chalked up his shutout over Casey Dawson. Victories over Clint Palaci and Jim Tuley put Braselman in the other winners’ side semifinal against Tony Loeper.

Franklin defeated Kamiab 8-3, not knowing that he’d be facing him a second time, later. Braselman joined Franklin in the hot seat match after sending Loeper to the loss side 7-5. Given their respective records at the table, it’s hard to figure who was the more surprised when the ‘new kid on the block’ defeated Jeff Franklin 7-5 to claim the hot seat.

Six of the top 10 players in the tour standings competed in this event. Two made it to the fourth winners’ side round, two made it to the third round, and two played only a single match on the winners’ side. Of those six, only three took home any cash. TJ Davis (in a two-way tie for the 8th spot in tour standings) made it as far as the first money round and finished there in the tie for 17th. Robbie Cleland (#3) finished in the tie for 7th, while Daniel Herring (#1) got as far as the tie for 5th.

Moving over from the winners’ side final four, Loeper drew a rematch against Robert Newkirk, whom he’d sent to the loss side in a double hill, fourth round fight. Newkirk downed four on the west side, including Roman Bayda 7-3 and TJ Davis, double hill, to reach Loeper. Blake Kamiab picked up Daniel Herring, who’d also been sent over by Loeper, double hill, in a winners’ side quarterfinal immediately after Loeper had defeated Newkirk. Herring eliminated Miguel Hernandez 8-1 and Donnie Gregory, double hill, to face Kamiab.

Newkirk wreaked his vengeance on Loeper 7-3, leaving him in the tie for 5th place. Kamiab joined Newkirk in the quarterfinals after eliminating Herring 7-4.

Kamiab stopped Newkirk’s loss-side streak at five, with a 7-3 win in those quarterfinals, earning himself a rematch against Franklin in the semifinals. Franklin stopped Kamiab’s streak at two matches with an 8-4 win in the semifinals.

The true double elimination format required Franklin to defeat Braselman twice in the finals. He beat him in the opening set 8-3 and being satisfied with that result, did it again, defeating him a second time to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor CueTec and Associate Title sponsor Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tour will return to Snookered in Frisco, TX for stop # 6, scheduled for June 19-20.