Archive Page

Woodward wins 11 on the loss side, double dips Roberts in finals of 46th Annual Texas Open

Skyler Woodward (Erwin Dionisio)

There’s nothing that’ll let the air out of a competitive pool balloon faster than an early loss in a tournament with a lot of entrants. In a 128-entrant bracket, for example, a loss in the second round will almost double the number of matches you have to play to claim the event’s title. The winner and runner-up in such an event will have been there the same amount of time, but one of them will have played a lot more pool.
 
At the $4,000-added, Open 9-Ball Division of the 46th Annual Texas Open, held over Labor Day weekend (Aug. 28-Sept 2) that drew 128 entrants to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX, Josh Roberts played seven matches to claim the hot seat. He did not win the eighth match he needed to claim the title. Sky Woodward, though, patched up the ‘balloon’ that had burst in the second round, and ended up playing 15 matches; two on the winners’ side, 11 on the loss side and two in the true double elimination final that earned him the event title.
 
It was a very busy weekend in Round Rock. In addition to the Open 9-Ball Tournament, there was a 9-ball mini tournament (Wednesday night), a Jack ‘N Jill Scotch Doubles tournament that drew 16 teams (Thursday night), a Banks Ring Game (Friday night, in conjunction with the start of the Open 9-Ball), and a Women’s Open event (started Saturday night; separate story) that drew 32. It should be noted that the Jack N’ Jill Scotch Doubles title was shared by two teams; Co-tournament director James Davis, Sr. and long-time doubles partner Jennifer Kraber and a team made up of the Open winner (Woodward) and the Women’s event winner (Ming Ng).
 
Woodward’s winning campaign in the Open event opened on a promising note with a shutout over Donald Rock, but ran right into a double hill match against Alex Calderon, which shifted Woodward’s work to the loss side of the bracket. Roberts, in the meantime, worked his way through his first four opponents (Steven Butler, Jeremy Diggs, Tommy Vega and Ryan Hsu) by an aggregate score of 36-6. And then, like Woodward, Roberts ran into Alex Calderon, who battled Roberts to a deciding 17th game. Roberts dropped the final ball and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Justin Espinosa.
 
Meanwhile, John Gabriel, who’d defeated Kenneth Greer, Tommy Sanders, Al Mason and survived a double hill battle against Robb Saez, downed Ernesto Bayaua in a winners’ side quarterfinal to draw Kevin Guimond in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Roberts got into the hot seat match with a 9-3 win over Espinosa. Gabriel joined him after sending Guimond to the loss side 9-6. Roberts chalked up what proved to be his last match win with a 9-3 victory over Gabriel and waited in the hot seat for Woodward to finish his 11-match, loss-side winning streak.
 
It was Justin Espinosa who drew Woodward on the loss side. At that point, Woodward had already won eight of his 11 loss-side matches, including, most recently, victories over Bayaua and Hsu, both 9-3. Kevin Guimond drew Sean Black, who was on a loss-side run comparable to  Woodward’s. Black had lost his opening round match and embarked on a nine-match winning streak that eventually earned him the second-most wins in the event. He’d most recently eliminated Steve Sheppard 9-5 and spoiled any hopes Woodward was entertaining about a rematch against Calderon, by defeating Calderon, double hill.
 
Black’s loss-side streak came to an end when Guimond eliminated him 9-6. Woodward’s continued with his third straight 9-3 win, this one over Espinosa to advance to the quarterfinals.
 
Woodward chalked up two more 9-3 wins to earn a shot at Roberts in the hot seat. He downed Guimond in the quarterfinals and Gabriel in the semifinals. He chalked up his 6th 9-3 win in the opening set of the true double elimination final. He broke the pattern and won the second set 9=7 to claim the event title.
 
Co-tour directors James Davis, Sr. and John Palmore thanked Sue and John Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s Billiards staff, as well as Sleep Inn, Mints Amusement, and James Hanshew. They also acknowledged Ray Hansen and his PoolActionTV crew for the live stream of the event throughout the long weekend.

Guernsey double dips Sulsar to win season and tour finale of Omega Billiard Tour

(l to r): Paul Guernsey, Tony Sulsar & Mike Rountree

On the weekend of December 15-16, at a $5,400-added event, which drew 75 entrants to Rusty’s Billiards in Arlington, TX, Paul Guernsey ended a three-match trip on the loss side to defeat  Tony Sulsar twice in a double elimination final, and capture the event title. In another interpretation of ‘double elimination final,’ it was not only the last event of the Omega Billiard Tour’s sixth season, it was also the final event of the Omega Billiard Tour itself.
 
Taking a cue from tour director Melinda Bailey about this occasion, we’ll defer comments on the end of the tour to the end of this report and highlight the players and the event that closed out its 2017 season.
 
For a while, at the start of Paul Guernsey’s pool career (or at least as much of it as was recorded here at AZBilliards), the only event at which he regularly earned any money was the annual Texas Open. The first time he appeared in our database, he finished second behind David Gutierrez in the 27th Annual Texas Open in 2000. It was the only entry for him that year. The following year, the only entry was his 4th place finish in the 28th Annual Texas Open. Two years later, he finished in the tie for 13th place at the 30th Annual Texas Open, and the following year, he finished 4th again. All single entries in his site profile. Just over a decade later, he started showing up on the payout lists of the Omega Billiard Tour; twice in 2015, once in 2016, and this year, four times, including another second-place finish, behind Justin Whitehead at an Omega stop in April (he competed in five of the tour’s 12 events in 2017).
 
This past weekend, Guernsey broke through and won his first major event, doing it in what most players would describe as ‘the hard way;’ coming from the loss side to challenge and twice defeat a hot seat occupant.  He played a preliminary round (one of 12 matches to gain entry into the larger winners’ side bracket), and advanced through four other matches, allowing his opponents an average of between three and four racks per match (3.6) in races to 8; against Steve Raynes (4), Bobby Diggs (2), Dario Gomez (5), Aram Hasan (6) and a measly single rack to Doug Winnett. This gave Guernsey a shot at Mike Rountree in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
 
Tony Sulsar, in the meantime, bypassed the preliminary round and faced four opponents, with whom he was stingier than Guernsey, giving up an average of between two and three racks per match (2.75) against Shan Iyer (3), Steve Sheppard (4), Chris Rickman (1) and Mike Nagaki (3). This set Sulsar up in the other winners’ side semifinal against Roman Bayda, who had just sent the tour’s #1-ranked player, Rick Stanley, to the loss side.
 
In a straight-up race to 8, Sulsar advanced to the hot seat match over Bayda 8-4. He was joined by Rountree, who’d sent Guernsey to the loss side 7-7 (Guernsey racing to 8). Sulsar claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Rountree, chalking up what would prove to be his last match win.
 
On the loss side, Guernsey picked up Stanley, who, following his loss to Bayda, had eliminated Phillip Palmer 9-5 and Mike Nagaki 9-3. Bayda drew Luis Lopez, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included wins over Doug Winnett 7-4 and Gerardo Perez, double hill, in a straight-up race to 7.
 
Guernsey ended Stanley’s short, loss-side bid for a fifth win on this year’s tour with an 8-5 win, as Bayda ended Lopez’ loss-side streak at six with a double hill win (8-6). Guernsey and Bayda battled to double hill in the quarterfinals that followed, with Guernsey advancing for a second shot against Rountree in the semifinals.
 
Guernsey got by Rountree 8-4 in those semifinals and with, at minimum, another runner-up finish in his pocket, he turned his attention to Sulsar in the hot seat; the tour’s #8-ranked player (Sulsar) versus its #23-ranked player (Guernsey). Guernsey took the two-set opener in convincing fashion 8-3, and though Sulsar would chalk up two more racks in the second set, it wasn’t enough to keep Guernsey from capturing his first title on the tour’s last stop.
 
Regarding this last event on the tour she’s directed for the past six years, tour director Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s Billiards (where the tour began six years ago, and ended on this weekend), as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. Regarding the past six years, she had a few more expressions of gratitude to pass along.
 
The announcement came in September. It stated that “due to increased responsibilities at (Bailey’s full-time job), and future career opportunities,” along with the need for the tour’s main sponsor, OMEGA Billiards Supply, “to make sound business and financial decisions” that, by mutual agreement, they “could no longer move forward with the Omega Billiards Tour after this year.” The statement expressed thanks “to all, for helping put the DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth) pool scene back on the map for the past five and a half years.”
 
“We loved the players, the pool rooms, and the fans,” the statement went on to say, “and we wish you all nothing but the best in your pool journeys.”
 
Bailey added the released statement and wrote about the decision in a September entry to her blog – Pool is a Journey (http://pooljourney.blogspot.com/2017/09/tough-decisions.html).
 
“I want to sincerely thank you for always being so supportive, responsive and a great friend to (me) and the tour,” she wrote.
 
She expanded on this theme in one of her regular-as-clockwork e-mails to us here at AZBilliards, which provided us, at the conclusion of every tour stop, all of the information necessary to write a coherent report on each event.  It should be noted, in that regard, that we here at AZBilliards extend our thanks to her, as well.
 
“It had always been a dream of mine to start a tour in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for the players and businesses,” she wrote to us. “I am so honored to have received such great support the last six years from the players, the sponsors and pool rooms that helped make the tour successful.”
 
“We grew from six stops a year with 64 players at each stop, and $1,200-added, to 12 stops a year with nearly 100 players and $1,700-added,” she wrote. “THANK YOU! Going to miss you all.”
 
She also took the time to explain that a new tour will debut in the DFW area soon, with, she explained, “11 stops next year.”
 
“So,” she wrote, “players will still have a tour to play on, which is really awesome.”
 
At the conclusion of her September blog entry, she inserted a quote from Lessons Learned in Life, which summed up the joy of the tour, the friends she’d made, and ultimately, the turmoil of the decision to move on.
 
“You will know you made the right decision,” it said, “when you pick the hardest and most painful choice, but your heart is at peace.”
 
We wish her well! 

Danny Williams Nabs Omega Billiards Tour Title at Speeds Billiards

Danny Williams

On the weekend of September 17-18, the Omega Billiards Tour was hosted by Speed’s Billiards in Arlington, Texas.   The staff and owners treated the players well with great service and an amazing atmosphere.  Fourteen tables allowed us to open the field up to 89 players!  
 
Rick Stanley, a tough player with a great attitude, made his way to the hotseat match with wins over Larry Land 8-1, Stephen Hansen 8-3, Mike Rountree 8-2, Robert Kempf 8-2, and Walt Anderson 8-2.  Local pro CJ Wiley had wins over Vincent Tovar 9-3, Crispian Ng 9-6, Phillip Palmer 9-1 , JD Wordlaw 9-1 and Joey Barnes hill-hill to meet Rick Stanley in the hotseat match.
 
The always-tough Danny Williams had wins over Gale Gladden 7-0, Viet My 7-6, and Mike Nagaki 7-6 before losing to Robbie Cleland 6-7.  Danny then made his way through the one-loss side with wins over Vincent Tovar 7-1, Cory Anderson 7-2, Brandon Sizemore 7-4, Doug Winnett 7-3, Joey Barnes 7-6 and Walt Anderson 7-3.
 
In the hostseat match it was anyone’s game between top players Rick Stanley and CJ Wiley, and Rick Stanley came out on top with a close score of 8-7.  
 
Then CJ Wiley played Danny Williams in the semi-final match and it was another close score with great play for the fans and Danny edged the win 6-7.  
 
The finals match was then set between Rick Stanley and Danny Williams.  The fans were really enjoying the great runs and safeties by the players.  Danny Williams would win the first set in this true-double elimination tournament 7-5 which forced a second set.  The second set went hill-hill!  And then Danny Williams would win the last game of the tournament to capture first place and the Omega Tour title!
 
Big congrats to Danny Williams for his 1st place finish!  Congrats to Rick Stanley for a hard-fought 2nd place and also to CJ Wiley for his great 3rd place finish.  Shout-out to 78-year-old Walt Anderson for placing 4th!  Wow!
 
5th/6th places were filled by Joey Barnes and Steve Sheppard, and 7th/8th places were filled by Paul Guernsey and Doug Winnett.  
 
Congrats to ALL the players and fans and sponsors for another great event!
 
A HUGE thank you goes out to our sponsors Omega Billiards Supply, OB Cues, and BCAPL/CSI.  We would also like to give a big thanks to our additional sponsors, Irving Ink and Thread, AZBilliards.com, Pool School, and BilliardsPress.com.
 
This year OB Cues is our Ranking sponsor and will be donating OB Cues to the top ranked 3 players at the end of the year!  BCAPL/CSI has joined again and will be giving away 5 BCAPL free entry fees the 2017 BCAPL Nationals.  After 8 stops, Tony Sulsar leads the Rankings with 665 points, CJ Wiley moved up to second place with 635 points, and Crispian Ng is third with 560 points.  Only one more stop to go for ranking points before the Finale!
 
Tournament Director Melinda Bailey would like to thank Speeds owners and staff for their awesome hospitality all weekend!  She would also like to thank co-Director Heather Farr – couldn’t have done this without you!    
 
A big thank you also goes out to Michael Hoang, main sponsor of the Tour and owner of Omega Billiards Supply in Hurst, TX.  Michael and Omega Billiards Supply are well known for the huge booths at many large tournaments across the country. 
 
The next stop will be held October 15-16 at Clicks in Arlington, Texas.   $1,500 added and already full with 85 players.  We have ten stops total in 2016.  Pool is alive and thriving in Texas!   
 
Check out the website for more details:   http://www.omegabilliardstour.com/
 
And follow the brackets live online at:  http://omegatour.challonge.com/8speeds17