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Kaylee McIntosh Breaks Thru at The Tiger Florida Tour’s “Cues For The Cure!”

Debbie McIntosh, Kaylee McIntosh, Sofia Mast and Stephanie Mitchell

Kaylee McIntosh won her first event Saturday October 2nd  at the Tiger Florida Tour’s annual “Cues for the Cure” at The Corner Pocket in Largo, Florida. This $1700-added event drew forty women who came to have a good time, friendly competition and raise money for breast cancer awareness. All funds raised benefit Susan G. Komen Florida. McIntosh, who finished second last year in this even, was not about to let this one escape. Hot off an impressive finish in her first professional WPBA event, McIntosh confirmed that she belongs at the top! 

In this modified double-elimination format, the women played down to four on each side, and redrew onto a final single-elimination board.  The four finalists from the winner’s side included room owner Stephanie Mitchell, Shanelle Lorraine, Carrie Metz, and Sofia Mast. The one-loss side sent Michell Monk, Debbie McIntosh, Jessica Human and Kaylee McIntosh back to the Final Board.  The final match had Debbie McIntosh playing Kaylee McIntosh (yes, they are related) with Kaylee taking the win, title, money and trophy!

This event was a blast with a variety of other headlines that would have been appropriate in addition to Kaylee’s first win. For example, this was the first mother-daughter final on the TFT!  Yes, Debbie McIntosh is Kaylee’s mother and Debbie came in second place!

Another headliner was the fantastic finish by Sofia Mast.  Mast is not even old enough to get a learner’s permit.  She can’t drive at her age but wow, this girl’s got game!  Mast sent Kaylee to the one-loss side earlier in the day in a double-hill match, making it to the Final Board undefeated.  Finishing 3rd/4th was Mast’s best finish on the FTF.

John Hake, Chad Kosier, Josh Arnold and Rollie Dixon

And the other headline grabber was the outrageous men in pink – pink bras!  The participants – John Hake, Chad Kosier, Josh Arnold and Rollie Dixon – made fancy bras that the players and spectators stuffed with money throughout the day!  Josh Arnold raised the most money and won a bar tab at the room.  All of the guys were great sports and the bra contest added great fun to the day!

All players received Cues for the Cure T-shirts. The players also won prizes playing bingo and in the raffle. Jacob Mast had the winning number of Hershey Kisses in the apothecary jar, and Krystalann Williams guessed the closet number of M&Ms in the three glass buffet jars! All monies raised through the day benefitted Susan G. Komen Florida. 

We thank everyone enough for their support and contributions to this worthy event!  We want to thank and recognize Nicolle Cuellar (Stitch It To Me) who made the event T-shirts; thank you to Michell Monk and Rollie Dixon (Brutal Game Gear) for the gift certificates for the raffle! Thanks, always to good friend, player and supporter Janice Sessions (Florida Coastal Ladies Tour) for adding money to the prize fund. Thanks also to Dixie Sutton and Estates by Dixie and the Bay Area APA. A huge shout out to Deanna Laney for her amazing help with the bingo and raffle. Of course, we couldn’t run the tournament without Jerry Sotelo and Josh Arnold – the smoothest-run Cues for the Cure tournament! And most importantly, the event would not be the same without Stephanie Mitchell and The Corner Pocket and staff, and Stephanie’s support of the TFT and the Cues for the Cure! And last but not least, thanks to all of the players and spectators who came out to participate, posted your photos and contributed to the success of this event!

As ALWAYS we thank and appreciate our title sponsor, Tiger Products and Tony Kalamdaryran, Larry Wood with Boynton Billiards, Simonis Cloth and AZ Billiards. 

Some of the matches can be viewed on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007959257491.

Jeannie Seaver Takes Tiger Florida Tour Kick-Off At Brewlands

Stephanie Mitchell, Jeannie Seaver and Sonya Chbeeb

Thirty-six players kicked off the 2021 season of the Tiger Florida Tour women’s 9-Ball event at Brewlands Bar & Billiards South in Lakeland, Florida. Tour Stop #1 drew several new and seasoned players of all skill levels. At the end, Tour Champion Jeannie Seaver went undefeated to win Tour Stop #1!

The women played a modified double-elimination format with four from the one-loss side drawing back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board, race to seven. Seaver, Stephanie Mitchell, Nicolle Cuellar and Sonya Chbeeb made the Final Board from the winners side. Jeri Bouvette, Dawn Logan, Debbie Hakey and 12-year old Sofia Mast fought back from the one-loss side to make the Final Board.

Seaver played 7-4 matches against newcomer Dawn Ward, veteran Jessica Human and newcomer Debbie Hakey to get to the Final Board. Once there, Seaver matched up against Hakey a second time ending the day for Hakey. Cuellar rolled past Vanessa Seaver, Dawn Logan and Sofa Mast, playing Logan again in the Final Board, sending Logan home this time. Mitchell breezed past newcomer Deanna Laney, Gianna Fiore, newcomer Kim Austin and Lisa Perez. Mitchell sent Bouvette home in the first round on the Final Board. Chbeeb sent Christina Moxley, Michelle Mize, Jeri Bouvette to the one-loss side and then Sofia Mast home in the quarter-finals. Chbeeb got past Mitchell in the Semi-Finals, and after Seaver sent Cuellar home, Seaver played Chbeeb in the Finals with Seaver taking the win.

With all the great play, Sofia Mast stole the show, the youngest TFT member making it to the Final Board and in the money – at 12-years of age. Watch out for this one!

Thanks to all 36 players who came out to the season opener event! A huge thanks to room owner Larry Walthall for hosting our event again this year and his continued support of the TFT! Thanks to Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events and staff for helping with the arrangements and making sure our event went off smoothly. Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tony Kalamdaryan and Tiger Products for their continued support of the Tour and players. Thanks also to returning sponsors Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support, and to our new sponsors, Stitch It to Me and Brutal Game Gear. Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007959257491

Tour Stop #2 is March 6, 2020 at Stix Billiards in Oldsmar!  See you there!

The Tiger Florida Tour is a NAPT/WPBA-recognized Women’s Regional Tour. Visit www.tigerfloridatour.com for more information.

Pool Under Isolation

As we sit around at a hypothetical AZBilliards Central and ponder how, in the absence of industry activity, especially tournaments, we should proceed, it’s easy to be reminded of Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Rick famously talked about the significance of his specific problems at the time by saying to one of them, Ilsa, “that I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”
 
It’s obvious in what follows – interviews with a small handful of individuals, a fraction of the number of people associated with the sport of pool who are being affected – that we’re speaking to the pool world equivalent of Rick’s “three little people.” These select few may not “amount to a hill of beans in this crazy (corona virus) world,” but they reflect thoughts and actions that are likely common to the relatively small world of people who love and participate in the sport of pool.
 
“Vegas was a ghost town,” said Janene Phillips, tour director of Florida’s Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, who, along with co-director Bobby Garza, had travelled to Las Vegas to participate in the BCAPL World Championships and the Cue Sports International Expo, only to find themselves returning home early, when CSI cancelled the events’ final four days, ending it on Tuesday (March 17). She was speaking just outside her boarding gate at McCarran International Airport.
 
“They shut down the casinos and restaurants,” Phillips went on to say. “It was unreal. It only took us 20 minutes to get to our gate here at the airport and most of that time was walking to the gate.”
 
Phillips was sympathetic with the powers-that-be that opted to continue with plans to hold the event at all. 
 
“You couldn’t have predicted something like this,” she said, “and it would have meant that everybody would have been out thousands of dollars in plane flights.”
 
“The (venues) did the best with what they had to work with,” she added. “The hotels were sanitizing everything and there were hand-sanitizer stations everywhere.”
 
As she prepared to board her flight, headed home, she was also reflecting on what lay ahead for her. Tour directing the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour is her job, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty about what lies ahead, and not only just for her.
 
“This is impacting the whole world,” she said. “It’s going to mean a changed schedule for the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. We’re still scheduled for a stop in April (25th), and as long as they’re (Brewlands in Tampa) back up and running, we’re still having it.”
 
The likelihood of that shifted dramatically in a matter of days and while we haven’t communicated with Brewlands directly, it’s probably a safe bet that the April 25 event will be cancelled.
 
[photo id=51646|align=right]“We’ve cancelled all Tri-State Tour stops through the end of March,” said tour representative Todd Fleitman, “and we’ll be letting people know as we hear of further developments. I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t go much further than that.”
 
“And there are lot of things that will probably have to be delayed,” he added, “like our June (end of 2019-2020 season) Invitational.”
 
Fleitman also noted that going forward, this crisis is likely to affect the industry overall, to include tour sponsors and companies that offer merchandise and prizes. It is also likely to impact Fleitman’s ability to earn money as an instructor.
 
“All lessons have ceased,” he noted. “People are just not playing.”
 
As a tournament director, he’s hearing from players from all sides of the political spectrum, regarding the virus and its impact on the community, including conspiracy theorists, and those, like Fleitman himself, who believe that it would be difficult for anyone in a position of authority to do well under these circumstances.
 
“I’ve spoken to some pool players who are stockpiling food for two months,” he said.
 
“We’re hanging in there,” said Monica Savedra, one of a group of people who tour-direct the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) 9-Ball Tour. “We had a tour stop scheduled in late March (28-29) in Frisco, TX that they closed on us and we found out by a Facebook post.
 
“We’re just going to have to regroup and rethink,” she added. “We had a ladies-only event, scheduled for April 11, that we’re probably going to have to cancel, as well. We’re just going to have to rethink the schedule. Dallas has announced shutdowns and the Dallas City Council has been meeting to extend the closure plan. 
 
Savedra has been fielding phone calls, text and Facebook messages – about two dozen a day – requesting information and in some cases, refunds of money already submitted for tour stop payments. Those calls and texts are likely to continue.
 
[photo id=51649|align=left]
Stephanie Mitchell’s Corner Pocket room in Largo, FL was still open last week, although she fully expected that a total shutdown was going to be mandated soon. A lot of her regular business emanates from pool league activity and a lot of that has already been shut down; cancelled, as of March 16. She’s making an effort to keep her employees working and is considering room renovations to do that.
 
“Just trying to keep us all afloat,” she said, “and figure that the place will be better when I do re-open.”
 
Mitchell is, of course, not alone in deriving a majority of her business from pool league activity and the American Poolplayers Association (APA) leagues are the largest. According to Jason Bowman, APA’s Marketing Manager, decisions about cancelling league activities are made at the local level. 
 
“Leagues are shut down across the board,” he said, “but the leagues themselves are franchise operations, so while we can advise, we can’t make the decision. They’re following the directives of local, state and federal officials.”
 
The APA issued a press release on Monday, March 16 (published on our site that day), announcing the postponement of its annual Poolplayer Championships, which were scheduled for April 29-May 3 at the Westgate Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. President Greg Fletcher indicated that he’s in communication with the Westgate and that information about a future date would be passed on to members as soon as that information is available.
 
In the meantime, said Bowman, the organization is reaching out to its franchises and alerting them to the plight of the venues in which the league’s teams operate. There is a financial and personal side to the equation. The bars and pool rooms will be in search of ways to keep their business operating, including, as an example, developing means of offering pick-up and delivery of food at establishments where such a thing is possible.
 
“We’re encouraging league operators to help rooms by curating that information,” said Bowman.
 
In addition, he noted, there is a social component to the weekly league nights and there is some concern about the members who will lose that interaction; for some, a more serious loss than others.
 
“A lot of people play in the APA,” Bowman noted, “and social distancing can mean social isolation. We’re encouraging people to reach out to each other, maybe not in the pool hall, but to stay in touch, while we try to provide some of that through social media.
 
“We’re trying to encourage league operators to be leaders in their community,” he added. 
 
[photo id=51648|align=right]Among others in the industry being keenly affected by this global issue are the professional players, like Thorsten Hohmann, who, when we reached him, was staying with friends in the Houston area, “until they throw me out on the street,” he said. The friend has a table in his home, so Thorsten will be able to practice, but the interruption of events has a long-range impact on his day-to-day livelihood. Like others at his level of professionalism in the field, making their money entails scheduling for world-wide events, well ahead of time to assure flights and accommodations.
 
“So many cancellations,” he said. “Flights, entry fees, hotels.”
 
“Some flights are easy to cancel and you can get an immediate refund,” he added, “but it’s really on a case by case basis. It’s just the way it is.”
 
Hohmann will spend part of his time, working on his new pool App, called CueLab (more on this in Mike Howerton’s interview with Hohmann, which can be found here.). The future, however, is a little cloudy.
 
“Everything has been cancelled,” he said, “so it doesn’t make sense to talk about the future events.”
 
“But other people are more affected,” he added. “It’s going to cost me actual money and moving forward, the ability to make more, but I just hope everybody stays safe. I have a Mom in Germany and I just hope everybody follows the rules and stays home.” 
 
They were personal and professional calls that we made to these people, prompted by a desire for comment, but more importantly, by relationships that had been established with these industry professionals, over many years. We wanted to know what was going on in their lives in regards to the corona virus, but we also just wanted to check in with these friends of long standing. Obviously, there are a lot of people we were unable to or just did not reach, all functioning under the same set of circumstances and likely experiencing the same set of concerns, differentiated by their particular industry perspective. 
 
Of the many things all of those interviewed and the multitude of US citizens not interviewed here have in common is an inability to predict the immediate future. Asked what the future holds for their individual personal and professional lives, they (we), at this stage, are forced to answer, “I don’t know.” It highlights something that all of us can agree upon, regardless of recently-apparent differences when it comes to the politics of the situation.
 
We are all in this together.
 
Stay safe and in touch.
 

Jessica Barnes Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 at Brewlands Billiards

Jessica Barnes, Doug Barriger (Manager), Nicolle Cuellar and Sherie Hensley

Thirty-two women convened in central Florida at Brewlands Billiards North in Lakeland for the Tiger Florida Tour Stop #2 on Saturday where Jessica Barnes clinched the win, the money, the trophy and the paid entry to the WPBA Sledgehammer event!

Once again, the competition was tough with several new players joining the ranks of the Tiger Florida Tour women’s semi-pro 9-Ball tour for the first time.  The women played a modified double-elimination format, where the final four from the one-loss side drew back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board.  The one-loss final four saw Nicolle Cuellar draw Sonya Chbeeb; Michell Monk matched up against Jeannie Seaver; Lisa Cosette drew Jessica Barnes and newcomer Sherie Hensley drew Jeri Bouvette.

Barnes made it to the Final Board undefeated, then played two nail-biting matches edging out Lisa Cossette 7-6 in the quarterfinal and Nicolle Cuellar 7-6 in the semi-final to make it to the final match.  Hensley, who played steady all day long, got past two top TFT players, Helene Caukin 7-5 and Michell Monk 7-5, before losing to Seaver 7-2. Hensley defeated Derek Folds 5-2  on the left side to advance to the Final Board. Once there, Hensley made it past Jeri Bouvette 7-4, and then matched up with Seaver again, this time knocking out Seaver in a hill-hill match after Seaver scratched in the side pocket, putting Hensley in the final match against Barnes.  After a long day for both players, Barnes took the match 7-2 over Hensley.

Barnes won the paid entry to the Sledgehammer Open, courtesy of Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour.  Stephanie Mitchell won the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Pro-9-Ball event, and Hensley won the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Amateur 9-Ball event.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the TFT event!  A huge thanks to room owner Larry Walthall and Mike Dauskart for hosting our event again this year and their continued support of the TFT!  Our appreciation to Manager Doug Barriger and staff, and Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events for helping our event go smoothly.  Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour/players; thanks also to Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support! And thanks again to Janis Sessions and the Florida Ladies Coastal Tour for sponsoring the entry to the Sledgehammer Open. Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page.

Tour Stop #3 is May 2, 2020 at Stix Billiards in Oldsmar!  See you there!

The Tiger Florida Tour is a NAPT-recognized Division II Women’s Regional Tour. Visit www.tigerfloridatour.com for more information.

Cirilo downs veteran Richko in finals to win Sunshine State Pro Am Tour’s season opener

(l to r): Jason Richko, Nick Applebee & Obbie Cirilo

Rose, White and Mitchell announced as 2019 Player of the Year, Top Junior and Top Female
 
By all accounts, Obbie Cirilo doesn’t get out on the tables much. As of this past weekend, February 1-2, he’s chalked up exactly two cash finishes in his (recorded) pool career, which began, as far as we know in January, 2018. Both cash finishes were event victories and both, including this past weekend, were on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. His opponent in the hot seat and finals of this Sunshine State Pro Am season opener, Jason Richko, hasn’t been at the tables much recently either. He entered the tournament with only five cash finishes in the same amount of time; no event wins, but all on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour. Richko, however, has a history that dates back 20 years to what’s been recorded in our database as his first cash finish anywhere; 13th at the Planet 9-Ball Intergalactic Open in Tampa that year (2000).
 
So. .  the newcomer and seasoned veteran battled twice in the $1,450-added event which drew 64 entrants to Stroker’s Billiards in Palm Harbor, FL. Richko won the first of the two, but Cirilo came back from a semifinal win to defeat him in the finals and claim the title.
 
Victories over Hayleigh Scarberry, Mark Nowicki, Joe Scarborough and Mitch Keiser brought Cirilo up to a winners’ side semifinal match against Nick Applebee. Richko, in the meantime, got by Gregory English, Marvin Llamas, Joselito Martinez and Raymond Linares to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match versus Justin McNulty.
 
Cirilo downed Applebee 7-2 to earn his spot in the hot seat match. Richko earned his with a 7-1 victory over McNulty. In their first of two, Cirilo and Richko battled to double hill before Richko prevailed to claim the hot seat.
 
Applebee moved to the loss side and picked up Bobby Garza, who’d been sent over in the event’s second round and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had most recently included back-to-back, double hill victories over Linares and Llamas. McNulty drew Nicholle Cuellar, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Applebee and gone on to defeat Dave Stern 5-2 and Trenton White, double hill, in a match that featured the event’s top female finisher (Cuellar) and top junior (White).
 
McNulty downed Cuellar 6-3, and was joined in the quarterfinals by Applebee, who’d ended Garza’s streak 5-2. Applebee and McNulty locked up in a double hill fight that eventually did send Applebee to a semifinal matchup against Cirilo. Cirilo put a stop to Applebee’s short, loss-side run 5-3 and turned his attention to a rematch against Richko in the hot seat.
 
Cirilo was battling for his second victory on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, and only his second cash finish in two years. He completed the task, downing Richko 9-6 in the finals to claim the season opening title.
 
Tour awards 2019 Player of the Year, Top Junior and Top Female Player
 
[photo id=51590|align=right]The event also featured awards for the tour’s 2019 best players. Nathan Rose, who finished at the top of the 2019 tour standings was named Player of the Year. Trenton White, who finished second in the standings was the tour’s Top Junior player, while Stephanie Mitchell finished as the tour’s top female, 6th in the overall standings.
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Jose and Lyshia Del Rio and their Stroker’s Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, who donated the cue, the raffle of which – won by Ethan Tinsley – added $450 to the prize fund, and $300 worth of gloves. They also thanked sponsors Stitch It To Me Embroidery, Central Florida USA Pool League, Diamond Products, Kamui, AZBilliards and Kodi Allen “for always helping to sell the tickets.”
 
The next stop on the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 7-8 at Rack’s Billiards in Sanford, FL, will feature two non-point events. There will be an Open One Pocket event and a 9-Ball Amateur event for competitors with Fargo Rates of 600 or under.  

Jeannie Seaver Wins Tiger Florida Tour Stop #1 At Brewlands

Helen Caukin, Nicolle Cuellar and Jeannie Seaver

The Tiger Florida Tour kicked off the 2020 season at Brewlands Billiards South in Lakeland, Florida, with 30 players turning out and where Jeannie Seaver took top honors, in more ways than one!

This event drew tough competition from out of state including US Amateur Champion Lisa Cossette, Marianne Merrill and Kelly Nickl, as well as several strong local players and newcomers. The tournament could have been won by any one of at least a dozen different players – the competition was that tough!  In the end, and to no one’s surprise, Seaver won Tour Stop #1, and is four-for-four on the Tiger Florida Tour!

The women played a modified double-elimination format. The final four from the one-loss side drew back into the final four from the winners’ side, onto a single-elimination Final Board, race to seven.  Early upsets saw top TFT players Stephanie Mitchell and Michell Monk, also a former US Amateur Champion; Sonya Chbeeb and Debbie Teichert leave the tournament early.

Caukin played flawlessly all day, and showed everyone that she came to win – with a surprise 7-3 win over Seaver early in the day.  Caukin, Carrie Vetrono, Jessica Human and Lisa Cossette reached the Final Board undefeated.  Nicolle Cuellar, Shanelle Loraine, Seaver and newcomer Christina Moxley reached the Final Board from the one-loss side.  In the first round of the Final Board, Cuellar knocked out Vetrono; Moxley lost to Human, Caukin ended the day for Loraine, who shot lights out all day in one of her best events; and Cossette was stopped by Seaver.

In the semi-finals, Caukin defeated Cuellar 7-4; Human lost to Seaver 7-2, leaving Caukin versus Seaver in a rematch that Seaver took in Seaver-style 7-4.  In addition to winning Tour Stop #1, Seaver’s top-line play, winning three of five events in 2019, also earned her the 2019 Tiger Florida Tour Champion title once again.  Seaver’s win also earned her the paid entry to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Pro 9-Ball tournament.

Three paid entries to the Super Billiards Expo Women’s Amateur 9-Ball event, courtesy of Janis Sessions and the Florida Coastal Ladies Tour, were won by Cossette, Loraine and Moxley.

Thanks to all 30 players who came out to the TFT event! Thanks to room owners Larry Walthall and Mike Dauskart for hosting our event again this year and their continued support of the TFT – and for going non-smoking!

Thanks to Randi Allen, Director of Marketing & Events and staff for helping with the arrangements and making sure our event went off smoothly.  Also, thanks to our title sponsor Tiger Products for their continued support of the tour/players; thanks also to Boynton Billiards, Great Lakes Billiards, AZ Billiards and Simonis Cloth for their continued support! And thanks again to Janis Sessions and the Ladies Coastal Florida Tour for sponsoring the amateur entries at the SBE, and thank you to Nicolle Cuellar, Stitch It To Me, for the embroidery on the TFT Member shirts.  Some of the matches can been seen on the Tiger Florida Tour Facebook page.

Fisher comes back from hot seat loss to down Barretta and claim Ashton Twins Classic in Alberta

Holem, Plowman, Osborn and Lane win four concurrently-run Amateur/Open events

 

Two of pool’s old-school professionals battled in the hot seat and finals of the WPBA’s 4th Annual Ashton Twins Classic over the weekend (Dec. 2-5). Allison Fisher, who entered the tournament as the WPBA's #1 competitor,, and Jennifer Barretta (#3) fought to double hill in the hot seat match, before Barretta prevailed. Fisher came back from the semifinals to meet and defeat her in the finals and claim the 4th Ashton Twins Classic title, her 82nd pro title. Since the event debuted in 2017, it’s been won by two ‘new-school’ professionals, Brittany Bryant (2017, currently #2) and April Larson (2018, currently #23) and in the past two years, by old-school professionals, Vivian Villareal (2019, currently #48) and Fisher this year. The $20,000-added event drew 50 entrants to the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta.

 

The long weekend also featured four, concurrently-run Amateur and Open events; an Amateur Men’s 9-Ball (51 entrants), a Women’s Amateur 9-Ball (26), a Men’s 8-ball (71; the highest number of the weekend’s events) and a Women’s 8-Ball event (56). A summary of these four events, to include winners and runners-up will follow the Pro event details.

 

While the old-school professionals were represented in this year’s final, the new-school professionals were right there behind them, finishing 3rd (Russia’s Kristina Tkach, #22) and 4th (China’s Wei Tzu-Chien, #4). The tie for 5th place featured one each from the two categories; Janet Atwell (#11), who fell to Wei Tzu-Chien and the event’s 2017 winner, Brittany Bryant, who was eliminated by Tkach. The event’s 2018 champion, April Larson was on hand for this event, as well. She was sent to the loss side by Wei Tzu-Chien and was defeated in her first loss-side match by Kim Newsome (#24). Vivian Villareal did not make the trip to Canada.

 

Following an opening round bye, Fisher opened her six-match winning campaign with three victories in which she gave up a combined total of two racks; one each to (first) Stephanie Hefner and (third) Caroline Pao, with a shutout over Laura Smith in between. This set Fisher up to face Wei Tzu-Chien in one of the winners’ side semifinals (old-school/new-school). Barretta, in the meantime, had also been awarded a bye, and though not quite the domineering performance exhibited by Fisher, she did get by Stephanie Mitchell 9-2, June Maiers 9-3 and Monica Webb 9-2 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Brittany Bryant (another old-school/new-school matchup).

 

Bryant chalked up as many racks against Barretta as all three of Barretta’s previous opponents combined, but fell two short, advancing Barretta 9-7 to the hot seat match. Wei Tzu-Chien chalked up three times as many racks as Fisher’s first three opponents combined, but fell three short, advancing Fisher 9-6 to meet Barretta. As befitted their status, Barretta and Fisher locked up in a double hill fight that saw Barretta down 5-8, before mounting a four-match comeback that left her in the hot seat and Fisher headed for a semifinal matchup versus Kristina Tkach.

 

Going into the money rounds on the loss side (17-24), there were still more than just a handful of potential winners vying to get back to the finals. Among them were Janet Atwell, who’d been defeated, double hill, by Caroline Pao and dropped into the loss side’s first money round. She subsequently got by Emily Duddy 9-7, Laura Smith 9-3, Monica Webb 9-6, and Jia Li 9-6, to draw Wei Tzu-Chien, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal.

 

Also lurking on the loss side was Kristina Tkach, who’d lost her first winners' side match (after a bye) to Kyoko Sone, and then launched an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her all the way to the semifinals. After eliminating Ada Lio and Ashley Burrows to make it into the money rounds, she defeated Gail Eaton 9-1, Dawn Hopkins, double hill, Caroline Pao 9-5 and the WPBA’s #1-ranked competitor going into the tournament, Line Kjorsvik 9-2, to draw Bryant.

 

Tkach dispatched Bryant 9-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Wei Tzu-Chien, who’d eliminated Atwell 9-7. Tkach finished up her loss-side winning streak with a 9-3 win over Chien.

 

The commentators on the Cue Sports Live stream employed a slightly different vocabulary for the semifinal match, opting to call it a match between the ‘old guard’ and the ‘new guard.’ Fisher won the opening game of the semifinal match, and though Tkach responded to tie it up, she only did that twice and never got out in front. After the tie at the end of game #2, Fisher won three straight. Tkach came back with two, Fisher got another and Tkach won another two to create the second tie at 5-5. Fisher got out in front by two again, before Tkach chalked up her sixth and final rack. Fisher closed it out 9-6 for a second shot against Barretta.

 

The assembled were expecting a second double hill fight between the two ladies left standing. The race to 11 didn’t pan out that way, although it came close. Fisher took advantage of her second opportunity and downed Barretta 11-8 to claim her first (recorded) event title since she defeated Ga Young-Kim in the finals of the WPBA’s Ho-Chunk Classic in September of 2018.

 

From her home in Charlotte, NC a couple of days later, Fisher commented about her win and the prospect of future wins for her and players like her, like Jennifer Barretta, who's eight months younger than she is.

 

"It's like your own personal battle," she said. "You're constantly wondering 'Can you do it again?' 'Is it ever going to happen?' All those things go through your mind."

 

"There's not as much (time) distance (from former major victories) with me," she added, "but I was a prolific winner and as time goes on, you question and doubt. You're competing with yourself in personal growth."

 

Fisher is also assigning value to other considerations in her life; specifically her time at home with her family, which she noted she had not had much of in her past. Now, she's finding herself elevating that time on a priority scale above shooting pool. She has found that this shift in priorities tends to elevate the significance of each accomplishment.

 

"I don't play a lot these days, because some things (events) are not worth the time to be away from my family," she said. "I don't expect to be competing in 10 years time, so any victory is very valuable to me."

 

Concurrent Amateur/Open events take center stage

 

Kudos to Brian Champayne, who coordinated this long and multi-faceted event, which, as noted at the outset, included four other tournaments, including two which drew more entrants than the main event.

 

Up first on Thursday, January 2 were the Amateur Men’s and Women’s 9-Ball events. In the Men’s event, Tyler Edey and Kevin Osborn battled twice to claim the title. Edey won the first 7-1 to claim the hot seat. Osborn came back after downing Joe Spence 6-4 in the semifinals to defeat Edey 9-7 in the final and claim the Amateur Men’s 9-Ball title. Regene Lane went undefeated to grab the Women’s Amateur 9-Ball title. She and Cindy Nana fought a double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Nana to the semifinals, where she defeated Jenny Lucas 5-2. Lane defeated Nana a second time, this time 7-3 in the final to claim that 9-ball title.

 

On Friday, January 3, Tyler Edey was also in the finals of the most heavily-attended event of the long weekend, the Men’s 8-Ball, which drew 73 players. Edey was sent to the loss side in a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal, as Stephen Holem advanced to the hot seat, downing Mike Robinson 6-1 in the winners’ side final. Edey worked his way back through five loss-side opponents, including a double hill win over Robinson in the semifinals to face Holem in the finals. Holem completed his undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Edey.

 

In the Women’s 8-Ball event, which drew 56 entrants, Bonnie Plowman and Tasha Thomas battled twice, hot seat and finals, to determine the winner. Plowman, who finished undefeated, took the hot seat match 5-3, and when Thomas returned from a 4-2 victory over Jana Montour in the semifinals, defeated her a second time 6-4 to claim the event title.

Two veteran opponents – Kennedy and Meglino – split top prizes on Sunshine State Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Tommy Kennedy, Scott Rohleder & Anthony Meglino

Though Tommy Kennedy and Anthony Meglino were the last two left standing during the season finale of the Sunshine State Pro Am Tour on December 7-8, they were far from being the only veteran Southeast USA pool players among the 42 entrants. Many of these players sport resumes that date back to the early years of the century. Kennedy, of course, has a resume that began, more or less (not including his life as a road warrior) with his victory over Johnny Archer (twice) in the 1992 US Open 9-Ball Championships and was updated this past weekend with his undefeated run through the Sunshine State Pro Am’s season finale field. Meglino, who finished as runner-up in this event has a history that dates (through AZBilliards) back to 2007, when he finished 5th at a stop on Kennedy’s Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour; Kennedy finished 7th at that event, which was won by Nathan Rose, who finished in the tie for 5th place at this most recent event and concluded the 2019 Sunshine State Pro Am season as its Player of the Year.
 
This inter-connected, one-big-happy-family, $500-added event drew its 42 entrants to Park Ave. Billiards in Orange Park, FL. Though Kennedy and Meglino were the finalists, at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, they opted out of a final match, leaving Kennedy, the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, as the official winner.
 
They did meet in the event, once, in a winners’ side quarterfinal. They battled to double hill before Kennedy prevailed and moved on to face Andrew Pettenger in one of the two winners’ side semifinals. Meanwhile, Scott Rohleder (a relatively new member of this family) survived a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal fight against Nick Applebee to draw the aforementioned Nathan Rose in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Two double hill matches sent Rose and Pettenger to the loss side, advancing Kennedy and Rohleder to the hot seat match. Kennedy claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Rohleder in what proved to be his last match of the weekend.
 
On the loss side, Rose ran into another marquee matchup against Meglino, who, after his defeat at the hands of Kennedy had defeated the tour’s top junior player Trenton White 7-5 and David Singleton 7-1. Pettenger drew David Grossman, who, after a second-round loss to Rohleder, set out on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included victories over Clint Nichols 7-3 and a double hill win over James Sandaler.
 
Pettenger put an end to Grossman’s loss-side streak 7-3 and advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Meglino, but not before he and Rose had battled to double hill. Meglino then eliminated Pettenger 7-4 in those quarterfinals.
 
Meglino appeared to be picking up some speed, after his successful match against Rose. His victory over Pettenger was followed by a 7-2 victory over Rohleder in the semifinals.
 
He and Kennedy then opted out of the final match. Kennedy went into ‘the books’ as the event’s official winner.
 
Tour directors Janene Phillips and Bobby Garza thanked Carl Watt and his Park Ave. Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Central Florida USA Pool League, Stitch it to me Embroidery, Diamond Products & Cyclop Balls, AZ Billiards & Cue Sports Studios for streaming. The Sunshine State Pro Am Tour will return on February 1, 2020 with a season opener at Stroker’s in Palm Harbor, FL. At that event, they will present the 2019 Player Awards, to include recognition of Nathan Rose as its Player of the Year, Trenton White as its Top Junior and Stephanie Mitchell as Lady of the Year.

Seaver Wins 3 In A Row At Tiger’s “Cues For The Cure!”

Stephanie Mitchell, Michell Monk, Kelly Cavanaugh, Vanessa Seaver & Jeannie Seaver

For the third time in a row this year, Jeannie Seaver went undefeated to win the Tiger Florida Tour’s 11th Annual “Cues for the Cure” breast cancer awareness fundraiser. Thirty-two women played in pink at this $1,150-added event which benefitted Susan G. Komen, Florida. 
 
 
The event was a modified double elimination format, playing down to four on each side.  Four players from the loser’s side drew back into the winners’ side into a final single elimination board.  On the winners’ side, Seaver got past Amanda Mungeon, Denise Reeve and edged past Nicolle Cuellar in a double hill match to get to the Final Board.  Also making it to the Final Board on the winners’ side – Lisa Cossette, sending Marge Soash west, followed by Sonja Chbeeb and Kelly Cavanaugh; and Michell Monk got past Gianna Fiore, Dawn Logan and Deanna Frost. Vanessa Seaver also made it to the Final Board undefeated, winning over Stephanie Mitchell, Jennifer Berzinski and Deb Teichert. 
 
The final four from one-loss side – Kelly Cavanaugh, Nicolle Cuellar, Jeri Bouvette and Deanna Frost – redrew into a single elimination bracket race to seven.  In a blind draw, Cavanaugh drew Monk, Cuellar drew Vanessa Seaver, Bouvette matched up with Jeannie Seaver and Foster played Cossette.  Cavanaugh advanced to the semi-finals with a win over Monk 7-5, Vanessa Seaver ended the day for Cuellar 7-4, Foster stopped Cossette 7-4 and Jeannie Seaver said good night to Bouvette 7-2.  That left Jeannie Seaver against Deanna Foster in the semi-finals, with Seaver wining 7-3.  Kudos to Foster who made the money for the first time! Cavanaugh won the match against Vanessa Seaver 7-4, ending the potential match up of the Seaver sisters as in 2016.  In the Final match, Jeannie Seaver cranked it up to win the final match over Cavanaugh 7-4.  This win also secured the TFT Tour Champion title for Seaver, back on top again!
 
It was great to see so many new faces and players from the past, several players from around the state and out of state, and two young 9-Ball future stars, Giana Fiore and Sophia Mast.  All players received Cues for the Cure T-shirts. Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make this a great event – we could not have done it without your support!  All monies raised from the raffle and games benefits Susan G. Komen, Florida.  
In particular, we thank our title sponsor Tiger Products; Simonis Cloth; Stich It To Me; The Bay Area APA; Relocations & Estate Sales by Dixie; Boynton Billiards; AZ Billiards; Great Lakes Billiards, Bill Dunsmore and Susan G. Komen, Florida.  Of course, a huge thanks to Stephanie Mitchell for all her hard work in helping to make this a successful event and for hosting this event again. Thanks to the staff at The Corner Pocket for their great service! Thanks to Nicolle Rasmussen for her hard work on the T-shirts! Thanks to Jerry Sotelo for running another great tournament!
 
Portions of the matches can be viewed at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-tdcEQ9Al4.
 
Results – $1150-added
1st Jeannie Seaver $650
2nd Kelly Cavanaugh $400
3d/4th Vanessa Seaver $225
3d/4th Deanna Foster $225
5th/8th Michell Monk $150
5th/8th Nicolle Cuellar $150
5th/8th  Lisa Cosette $150
5th-8th Jeri Bouvette $150
 
The top APA players -$50 each:
 
1 – 3 winner – Dixie Sutton
4 – 5 winner – Erika Pennington
6 – Christina Rodriguez Miller
 
Winner of the M&Ms – Stephanie Mitchell
Winner of the Hershey Kisses – Giana Fiore
 
The Tiger Florida Tour is a NAPT-recognized Division II Women’s Regional Tour.
 

Bryant comes from the loss side to defend WPBA Blue Emu title at Borderline Billiards in TN

Crowning achievements for (l to r) Kyoko Sone & Brittany Bryant with Janet Atwell

It began on Thursday, May 30 with a preliminary tournament made up of 30 lower-ranked players from the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) and ended on Sunday night, June 2 with the crowning of defending champion Brittany Bryant, who had to come from the loss side (five matches) to meet Kyoko Sone in the finals of the WPBA’s Signature Tour Stop, the Blue-Emu Southern Open. The $10,000-added event drew a total of 62 entrants, including Janet Atwell to her venue, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

The event was not exactly a proverbial ‘walk in the park’ for the WPBA’s #4-ranked player. Bryant won the event, having won less than 60% of the games she played in it (70-49; 58.8%). The seven opponents she faced in races-to-8 chalked up an average of five racks against her. She got by Kelly Cavanaugh, Jessica Barnes and Mary Rakin by an aggregate score of 24-7, but against her other four race-to-8 opponents (LoreeJon Hasson, Allison Fisher, Melissa Little & Jennifer Baretta) she chalked up an aggregate of 32-26, or 55%. Not surprising necessarily, given the upgrade in the competition over those four matches. And then, of course, there was the third-round, 4-8 loss to Gail Eaton, which really did a job on the ‘numbers.’ Without that loss, Bryant would have finished with an overall game-winning average of just over 60% (62.8), rather than less.

“I go to every event to win it,” said Bryant, “but I didn’t go with any expectations this year. “There were actually a few more players who were higher up (in rankings) than there were last year when I won it.”

The ‘First Stage’ double elimination bracket yielded 16 players who advanced to the Final Stage; eight from the winners’ side and eight from the loss side of that bracket. Among those who emerged from that bracket was runner-up Kyoko Sone, who lost her opening round match, double hill to Mary Rakin. Rakin advanced to defeat Kelly Isaac 7-5 and become one of the eight winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage. Sone moved to the loss side, where she defeated Toni Esteves and Janet Ritcey, both 7-2, to become one of the eight loss-side competitors to advance to the final stage.

The other winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage were Jennifer Berzinski, Jessica Human, Hiroko Makiyama, Ashley Burrows, Stephanie Mitchell, Kia Sidbury and Billie Billings. The other loss-side competitors to advance were Autumn Duncan, Kelly Isaac, Susan Wilbur, Julie Cooper, Angela Janic, Stephanie Goens, and Catherine Tschumper.

Moving into the Final Stage, beginning on Friday, May 31, the 16 arrivals from the preliminary bracket faced 16 players more or less in the middle of the WPBA rankings (approximately #17-#32). The winners in this opening round of Final Stage play advanced to meet the WPBA’s top 16 players, who had been awarded opening round byes.

Of the WPBA’s top 16 players who waited until Friday evening to begin competing, only three failed to advance on the winners’ side past their opening match; Jessica Barnes (WPBA-ranked #16) was defeated 8-2 by Kyoko Sone, Gerda Gregerson (#8) lost to Mary Rakin 8-6 and Emily Duddy (#10) joined them on the loss side following an 8-3 defeat at the hands of Naomi Williams. Among the more notable matches in this round of play, and the only one to go double hill was the battle between Allison Fisher and Russian teenager Kristina Tkach, who, a week earlier, had been the only female to compete in the Open/Pro event of the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial in New York City (she finished in the tie for 5th place). She was defeated by Fisher here and went on to win two loss-side matches before being eliminated by Line Kjorsvik.

A final round on Friday night brought the field down to the winners’ side quarterfinals. Kyoko Sone had sent Line Kjorsvik to the loss side and on Saturday night, faced Mary Rakin, who, after her victory over Gregerson, had sent hostess and WPBA-ranked #9 Janet Atwell over. Brittany Bryant, who’d defeated Loree Jon Hasson was to meet up with Gail Eaton, who’d gotten by Melissa Little. Fisher followed up her win over Tkach with a victory over Jia Li and on Saturday night, faced Naomi Williams, who had just survived a double hill battle against Helena Thornfeldt.  The last of the winners’ side quarterfinals pitted Jennifer Baretta against Monica Webb.

These matches elicited the winners’ side semifinals, which began immediately afterwards. Sone, who’d downed Rakin 8-5 met Eaton, who’d sent Bryant to the loss side 8-4, as Fisher, who’d defeated Williams 8-3 met Baretta, who’d gotten by Webb 8-5.

“I have to give Gail so much credit,” said Bryant of her only loss in the tournament. “I have never seen her play that well. I was down 7-1, took a break, composed myself and got it to 7-4.”

“I wasn’t disappointed,” she added. “I didn’t play poorly and Gail took control when she needed to.”

Sone advanced to the hot seat match 8-3 over Eaton. Fisher and Baretta, almost predictably, fought to double hill before Baretta prevailed to join Sone in the hot seat match. Sone downed Baretta 8-4 to claim the hot seat and waited on what turned out to be Bryant’s fateful return.

Meanwhile, back at the loss-side ranch, Bryant and Melissa Little were laying in wait for Fisher and Eaton, respectively. Bryant had defeated Jessica Barnes 8-2 and Mary Rakin 8-3 to draw Fisher. Little had won four loss-side matches, including a double hill win over Naomi Williams and an 8-4 victory over Kjorsvik to draw Eaton. Little made it five in a row with an 8-5 win over Eaton and advanced to the quarterfinals. Bryant joined her after surviving a double hill fight against Fisher.

“I expected to go back and forth with Allison,” she said. “It was actually the first time I had ever beaten her. I ended up breaking and running at double hill to win it.”

Bryant followed her double hill win over Fisher with a double hill win over Little in the quarterfinals and for the second time, she finished with a break and run. In the semifinals, Jennifer Baretta came within a game of giving Bryant a third straight, double hill challenge, but Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 8-6.

“I was up 6-2 in that match and she came back (to almost tie it),” Bryant said. “And then, there was a big game swinger, when she could have tied it at 6-6, but I won to go up 7-5. She won a game and I won the next game to win the match.”

The finals between defending champion Bryant and Sone came within a game of going double hill, as well, but for the second time in a row, Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 10-8 and claim the 2019 Blu-Emu Southern Open.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Bryant of the final match. “She broke and ran the opening game and we had a few safety battles. I was up 6-2 and she started to make a comeback.”

As with the semifinal match against Baretta, Sone had the opportunity to tie things up at 6-6.

“She missed a key 8-ball to tie it up (at 6-6),” she said, “so it was 7-5 and I won the next three.”

WPBA representatives thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for hosting the event, as well as sponsors Simonis Cloth, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products and Outsville.com. The next WPBA event, scheduled for August 8-11, will be a $10,000-added Signature Event, to be held in Fairfield, IL. Further details will be available soon. Bryant said that she plans to be in attendance.