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Hall goes undefeated to take Sunshine State Pro Am Tour stop

(l to r): Bobby Garza, Janene Phillips, Jeannette Lee and Justin Hall

It's been five years since Justin Hall chalked up wins in both the One Pocket and Banks divisions of the Southern Classic in Tunica, MS; defeating Ryan Stone in the One Pocket final and Alex Pagulayan in the Banks final. The two wins earned him Master of the Table honors at the event, ahead of both Pagulayan and Warren Kiamco. It was, according to our records, Hall's best earnings year of his (to date) 12-year career at the tables. Five years later, he dropped in on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour on Saturday, August 26 and demonstrated that he's still a force to be reckoned with. He went undefeated through a field of 34, on hand for the $600-added event, hosted by Brewlands Bar & Billiards in Tampa, FL. Also on-hand for the event was Jeannette Lee, operator of an area APA franchise, who stopped by to say hello and pose for a picture with the two finalists, Hall and Bobby Garza, and Tour Director Janene Phillips.
Hall had to contend with Garza twice in this event; the first time, in a winners' side quarterfinal, and again, in the finals. Following his win over Garza, Hall moved into a winners' side semifinal match against Gary Hale, while Kyle Bova squared off against Dale Stanley. Hall was picking up speed and downed Hale 7-2, while Bova sent Stanley west 7-5. Hall claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Bova, and waited for Garza to complete his five-match, loss-side run back to the finals.
Garza opened his loss-side campaign with a 7-3 win over Tony Vicari, and then eliminated Carrie Vetrono 7-1 (Vetrono was the highest female finisher, which earned her an extra $50). Garza advanced to pick up Stanley. Hale drew Anthony Meglino, who'd defeated Joe Scarborough 7-5 and Justin McNulty 7-4 to reach him.
The loss-side competitors in the two matches that determined the tie for 5th place advanced; Garza 7-2 over Stanley and Meglino with a shutout over Hale. Garza took the quarterfinal match over Meglino 7-4, and then allowed Bova only a single rack in the semifinals, to earn himself a second shot against Hall.
Though Garza put up a fight in those finals, he couldn't stop Hall from chalking up the win. They came within a game of double hill, but Hall closed it out at 9-7 to claim the event title.
Tour director Janene Phillips thanked the ownership and staff at Brewlands Bar & Billiards, and Jeannette Lee for her unexpected visit. The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for September 23-24, will be an Open 8-Ball event, hosted by Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL.

Justin Hall Clinches All Around Title at The Tunica, MS, Southern Classic

Justin Hall Photo courtesy Dave Thomson –

There was plenty of excitement for the fans at the Harrah’s Casino and Hotel, in Tunica, MS, as the One Pocket tournament got down to the last four players standing.

The run to the finish was very tricky with some players having a buy back option, and others that had used up all their lives so to speak, and the last four players standing were Shannon Daulton, Ryan Stone, Justin Hall, and the local player who seemed to sneak under the radar, Daniel McKenney from Meridian, MS.

It would be the job of the established Maestro of this discipline, Shannon Daulton, to end young Daniel’s run in the event. Although he played well enough to get to the last four, Daniel just did not have a game to match the experience of the seasoned player that he was matched up against, and quickly saw himself on the wrong side of a 3-0 score line. Daniel told me that he only started playing One Pocket four years ago, obviously will be a force to be reckoned with in future events.

In the next draw it was Justin Hall who got the bye, so we saw Shannon Daulton up against Ryan Stone. If Ryan lost he would be out of the tournament as he had used up his buy back, whereas Shannon who was still on the winners would go straight into the final against Justin if he won, but still could buy back if he lost.

On paper the pundits seemed to think that this would be a walk over for Mr. Daulton, but were we in for a surprise! Young Ryan defied the critics by coming back from 2-1 down and with Shannon only needing one ball at 7-3 in the fourth game. Shannon made an uncharacteristic mistake and Mr. Stone took down the match 3-2 with some gutsy or should I say non standard procedures. But, non the less got the job done, and forced Shannon to get his wallet out and buy his way back into the event.

This time the draw put Ryan Stone through with the bye, and now we had Justin Hall who had been praying that Shannon would win the previous match, and guarantee himself second place, but now found himself in a match he had not expected.

It seemed as though Shannon was still in the shock mode from his loss in the last match, as he never really established any authority in this match and soon found himself on the wrong side of a 3-0 score line. It must be said that Justin Hall played great shot after great shot to get the win, and looked to be in fine fettle to take down not only the One Pocket title, but clinch the All Around Southern Classic Title as well.

This final match was all Justin Hall from the outset, and it was obvious who wanted this title the most. It must be said that it looked as though Ryan fizzled out in the final and settled for second place, as he had a good chance to level the match to 2-2, but made just too many mistakes that allowed Justin to win the Title with a score of 3-1.

Not only has Justin won the Bank Title and the One Pocket Title, but has clinched the All Around Title as well, and still has a very good chance to take down the 9 Ball event, which is actually his best game.

Congratulations to Justin Hall on what will be an event that he will never forget, and It’s not over yet.

Murphy holds off Stone challenge to go undefeated in GSBT 9-Ball event

They’re like footsteps creeping up behind you, those matches won by loss-side opponents looking to dethrone the occupant of a given tournament’s hot seat. Shannon Murphy heard them on the weekend of February 17-19, as he sat in the hot seat, waiting for Ryan Stone to complete a five-match, loss-side winning streak that propelled him into the finals. Murphy, though, took the opening set of what would have been a true double elimination final and finished the 9-ball segment of the weekend’s activities undefeated. The $1,500-added amateur event drew 55 entrants to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH.

Murphey was the only ‘AA’ player among the winners’ side final four, that included three ‘A’ players – Frank Ruby, Mike Brown and Billy Thorpe. Murphy got into the hot seat match with a commanding 11-1 victory over Thorpe, and was joined by Brown, who’d sent Stone west among the winners’ side final eight and then downed Ruby 9-7. Murphy moved into the hot seat with an 11-5 victory over Brown and sat listening for the footsteps.

Those Ryan Stone footsteps began  on the loss-side with an 11-3 victory over D.J. Holloway and an 11-8 win over Lee Holt, which set him up to face Thorpe. Ruby drew Clay Carmen, who’d downed Joe Pierce 7-2 and James Davis, Jr. 7-7. It was Stone and Ruby advancing to the quarterfinals; Stone with an 11-8 victory over Thorpe, and Ruby advancing 9-7 over Carmen.

With three down and two to go, Stone ended Ruby’s day with an 11-4 victory in the quarterfinals to earn a re-match against Brown in the semifinals. He completed his loss-side journey with a successful rematch victory over Brown 11-7. Murphy, though, put a stop to the winning streak. He took the first of what might have been two, with an 11-7 victory that secured the 9-ball title with an undefeated effort.

Beginning on Friday night, February 17, this GSBT event opened with a 32-player, bank pool mini-tournament, with races to 2 on the winners’ side and 1 on the loss side. Timmy Heath pocketed the first place prize of $300 with a finals victory over T.J. Bach, who went home with $200 for his effort. Greg Putnam finished third ($100) and Shane Winters finished fourth ($40). The weekend also entailed an 8-ball event that drew 52 entrants (see accompanying report).

Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked Mike Medley and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Mike Davis Exterminating, Tiger Products and Delta-13 racks.

Winters takes GSBT Bar Table 8-Ball title

It was a busy Great Southern Billiard Tour weekend that didn’t finish up until nearly 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning, February 20. By that time, three winners had emerged from three separate tournaments – Timmy Heath winning a 32-entrant bank pool mini-tournament on Friday night, Shannon Murphy coming out on top in a 55-entrant 9-ball tournament (separate report) and Shane Winters (4th in the bank tournament), going undefeated in a $500-added, bar box 8-ball tournament that drew 52 entrants to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH.

There was a lot of crossover between the 8-ball and 9-ball tournaments, which lengthened the process, because in numerous instances, players found themselves waiting for opponents playing in one or the other of the tournaments. Among those who featured in both were Frank Ruby and Ryan Stone, who battled it out in the quarterfinals of the 9-ball tournament. Stone would advance to challenge, but fall to Shannon Murphey in the finals. At the 8-ball tables, Ruby and Stone both advanced to the matches deciding the tie for fifth place, with the potential of meeting again in the quarterfinals. Didn’t happen.

D.J. Holloway and Robert Frost, who finished among those tied for 9th place in the 9-ball tournament, both advanced to the winners’ side final four in the 8-ball tournament and faced each other. Winters, in the meantime, faced Jeremy Seaman. Holloway, a B player, moved into the hot seat match with a 5-2 victory over the A-rated Frost, as Winters sent Seaman west 7-2. Winters got into the hot seat with a 7-3 victory over Holloway, and awaited what turned out to be the return of Seaman.

Seaman moved over and ran into Stone, who’d gotten by Shawn Estes 7-2 and Alex Olinger 7-4. Frost picked up Ruby, who’d defeated Tim Grigsby 6-1 and Clay Carmen 6-4. The quarterfinal replay of the 9-ball event between Stone and Ruby was avoided when Seaman defeated Stone 7-4 and Frost downed Ruby 6-2. Seaman then dodged a double hill bullet with a 7-5 victory over Frost in the quarterfinals (Frost going to 6).

Seaman gave up only a single rack in the semifinal victory that set up a re-match for him against Winters. In a straight-up race to 7 in a true double elimination final, Winters took the opening set to secure the 9-ball event title.