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Billy Fowler is the first West Virginia State 9-Ball Champion

Herman Parker and Billy Fowler

Billy Fowler’s been collecting and recording payouts in his profile here at AZBilliards for 18 years now, since he won his first (recorded) major tour victory in Chicago on the Viking Cue Tour back in 2004. This past weekend (March 19-20), he recorded his eighth victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour in the past six years; one each in ’16, 17’ and ’18, along with two each in 2019 and 2020 (his best recorded earnings year). He also became West Virginia State’s first 9-Ball champion, coming from the loss side to down Josh Heeter in the finals of the $1,000-added WV State 9-Ball Championships, which drew 68 entrants to Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

The Open (non-handicapped) event featured races to 7 on both sides of the bracket, with a single race to 9 in the finals. Tour director Herman Parker was pleased with this first WV State Championship, as were, he noted, many of the 68 who competed.

“It was a great event for everybody,” he said.

Fowler and Josh Heeter, looking for his first tour win in about a year, battled twice to claim the title. They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Cameron Lawhorne and Mike Clevinger battled in the other one.

Lawhorne downed Clevinger 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Heeter, who’d sent Fowler off on a three-match, loss-side trip 7-3. Heeter grabbed the hot seat with a 7-2 win over Lawhorne.

The event drew the last 12 competitors back to Sonny’s on Sunday. Fowler began his loss-side work against Cory Morphew, who, earlier, had defeated Scott Roberts, double hill, and Trent Talbert 7-4. Clevinger drew Shannon Fitch, who’d defeated junior competitor Cole Lewis 7-4 and Craig Brown, the last West Virginian standing, 7-5.

Fowler downed Morphew 7-4, as Fitch was busy eliminating Clevinger 7-3. Fowler had to battle for his advancement over the next two steps. He survived two straight double hill matches; versus Fitch in the quarterfinals and Lawhorne in the semifinals to earn his second shot against Heeter.

In the extended, single race to 9, Fowler edged out in front and kept widening a lead. He kept at it until the end, completing his championship run 9-5 over Heeter and taking the title home.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Sonny’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 26-27), will be hosted by Hummy’s Bar (formerly, Jack’s All-American) in Newport, TN.

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Davis loses first set of finals, splits with Johnson on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Clay Davis

Over the years, we’ve reported on any number of individuals who’ve won their first event on any given or multiple numbers of regional tours. We’ve also reported on competitors who’ve returned from long absences away from the tables and chalked up their first win since however long it may have been, most notably in these last two years. According to Herman Parker, tour director of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, Clay Davis’ official* (did not complete finals) win on last weekend’s (Feb. 26-27) tour stop marked his first win in almost eight years, predating the tour’s reporting to us about their events. He’d been competing all along, with his cash payouts on the tour being reported to us as far back as 2016. Ten of them altogether, but no tour wins.

“He’s the player who’s gone the longest time between wins on our tour,” said Parker.

Davis and Paul Johnson met only that once, in the first set of the tournament’s true double elimination finals. The $500-added event drew a hefty 62 entrants to Rock House Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

They were both a part of the two winners’ side semifinals. As Davis was battling Trent Talbert to double hill before prevailing, Johnson was being outdone by Rory Dover 6-3. Davis claimed the hot seat over Dover in a shutout.

On the loss side, Johnson picked up Runal Bhatt, who’d defeated Zach Martin 7-2 and Matt Lucas 7-4 to reach him. Talbert drew Cole Lewis, who’d recently eliminated Hunter White 8-5 (White racing to 10) and Andrew “Tiger” Carlisle 8-3.

Johnson downed Bhatt 6-5 (Bhatt racing to 7), as Lewis was busy shutting out Talbert. Johnson eliminated Lewis 6-4 in the quarterfinals that followed. 

The semifinal between Dover and Johnson was a straight-up, race-to-6 rematch of their winners’ side semifinal. This time, they battled to double hill, before Johnson finished it, in what was probably an unwitting attempt to face and prevent Davis from chalking up that first tour win in eight years.

Johnson continued that attempt in the opening set of the true double elimination final. With one ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 7, Johnson won that first set 6-2, at which point, the two of them negotiated a split. As the occupant of the hot seat at the time, Davis claimed the official event title, chalking up that first (albeit, with an asterisk) title in eight years. 

Tour director Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Rock House Grill and Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (March 5-6), will be a $500-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA. 

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Ussery goes undefeated to claim Open 9th Annual NC State Championship

BJ Ussery

Norris comes from the loss side to win first separate Ladies division tournament

BJ Ussery was challenged early, twice, having to win his first two matches, double hill, versus Ron Canterbury and junior competitor Cole Lewis, before settling in and eventually going undefeated to win the 9th Annual NC State Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour this past weekend (Nov. 5-7). He was challenged in the finals by Jeff Abernathy, who, looking for his first win on the tour since March of 2019, won five on the loss side to reach him. The $1,500-added event drew 38 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. 

In the first-ever separate Ladies championship, Christy Norris won three on the loss side to challenge Nikki Mancuso Benish in the finals. Norris claimed the event’s first title with a victory in those finals. The $500-added Ladies event drew 16 entrants.

Ussery’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Abernathy in a winners’ side quarterfinal, advancing at that point to face JT Ringgold, looking for his victory on the tour since June of 2019. In the meantime, two-time 2021 BEF Junior National Champion (separate divisions) and winner of the recent Junior International Championships in the 18 & Under division, Landon Hollingsworth advanced to his winners’ side semifinal match against Kelly Farrar.

Ussery downed Ringgold 9-7, while Hollingsworth sent Farrar over 9-2 (matches were race to 9 on the winners’ side and 7 on the loss side). Ussery claimed the hot seat 9-4 over Hollingsworth and waited on Abernathy.

On the loss side, Farrar drew Abernathy, who’d followed his loss versus Ussery with wins over Barry Mashburn 7-4 and, moving into the first money round, Brian Francis 7-5. Ringgold picked up a rematch versus Trent Talbert, whom he’d defeated in the third round, and who was embarked on his own five-match, loss-side winning streak that had just eliminated Joey Tate 7-4 (Tate was runner-up to Hollingsworth at the JIC, 18 & Under event last month) and, double hill, Mike Bumgarner.

In what Tour Director Herman Parker called the “upset of the tournament,” Talbert defeated Ringgold 7-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals. Abernathy joined Talbert,  after downing Farrar 7-4.

Abernathy was working on his fourth loss-side victory, while Talbert was trying to win his fifth. Abernathy wasted little time eliminating Talbert 7-1 in those quarterfinals, and then, dispatched Hollingsworth 7-3 in the semifinals. 

At that point, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ussery and Abernathy negotiated a settlement that gave the title and a share of the top two prizes to Ussery.

Christy Norris

Norris, looking for her first win in almost two years, finds it

Prior to the 2021 NC State Championships, Christy Norris had only cashed in two (reported) events since January of 2020. That January, she won the Music City Classic’s Ladies Division and this past September, she finished as runner-up to Nikki Benish Mancuso in the Ladies Carolina Cup Bar Table 9-Ball event in Chesnee, SC. She and Mancuso battled twice in this one; once in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. They split the two matches, Norris winning the critical second match in the finals.

In their first of two (all winners’ side matches were races to 7), Mancuso sent Norris to the loss side 7-5 and advanced to the hot seat match. Betty Lee Sessions joined her after defeating Beth Allen 7-1. Mancuso defeated Sessions 7-4 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side in races to 5, Norris picked up Casey Cork, who defeated Lisa Cossette 5-2 and Teri Stovall 5-3 to reach her. Allen drew Katie Bischoff, who’d recently shut out Mallory Waters and eliminated Sierra Ballard 5-2. Norris downed Cork 5-3, as Bischoff and Allen battled to double hill, before Bischoff advanced to the quarterfinals.

Norris gave up just a single rack each to Bischoff in those quarterfinals and then, Sessions in the semifinals. She claimed the inaugural Ladies title of the NC State Championships with a 9-6 victory in her rematch against Mancuso in the finals.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Randy and Rebecca Penley Canipe and their staff at Randolph’s for their hospitality, as well Kirk Overcash for adding $500 to the Ladies event. He also thanked title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 13-14), will be a $500-added ($1k with 64 entrants), hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC.

Heyward stops loss-side charge by Dix to win 8-Ball GSBT stop

Shannon Daulton, Jason Heyward, Greg Dix, & Brent Hudgins (owner of Shore Thing Billiards)

Working under a new handicap system that has players racing to their ranking number – in 8-ball, 3-9; in 9-ball, 3-11 – the Great Southern Billiard Tour stopped off at Shore Thing Billiards in Myrtle Beach on Saturday, August 3 for an 8-ball tournament. Greg Dix, who won the last Shore Thing Billiards 8-ball tournament, back in May, almost made it two, winning seven on the loss side to challenge hot seat occupant, Jason Heyward. Heyward, though, came back from a defeat in the opening set of the true double elimination final to win the second set and claim the event title. The $700-added Amateur 8-ball event drew 25 entrants.
 
As Dix went to work on the loss side (following a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Mike Johnson in the second round), Heyward advanced among the winners' side final four for a contest against Daniel Adams. David Styers, in the meantime, met up with Trent Talbert. Heyward sent Adams packing 9-4 (Adams racing to 6), as Styers, in a straight-up race to 6, downed Talbert 6-2. Heyward got into the hot seat with a 9-4 win over Styers, and waited for Dix to complete his loss-side run.
 
With two victories already on the board, Dix gave up only a single rack, in total, to Robert Worsham (0) and Guy Faulk, and picked up Adams. Talbert drew Phillip Britt, who'd gotten by Collin Hall and Dale Holt, both 8-4, although with Holt racing to five, that was a double hill match. Dix and Talbert downed Adams and Britt 8-2 and squared off against each other in the quarterfinals.
 
Dix took the quarterfinal match against Talbert 8-2, as well, and gave up one more rack in the semifinals, winning it 8-3 over Styers. In the opening set of the true double elimination final, Dix capitalized on a few Heyward errors and chalked up yet another 8-2 win (through his final six matches, Dix won 82% of the games he played; 48-10). Dix encountered some problems on his break in the second set, tending to allow Heyward to step to the table with a benevolent spread of balls. Heyward took full advantage, winning the second set 9-4, and the event title.
 
Shannon and Marge thanked Brent Hudgins and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Nick Varner Cues & Cases, Delta 13 Racks, Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Tiger Products, and Lomax Custom Cues. Next up for the GSBT is a stop at Johnny Archer's place – The Marietta Billiard Club in Marietta, GA – for a $1,000-added Amateur 9-ball tournament, set for August 17-18.

Mastermaker wins nine on the loss side, then double dips Thompkins to take GSBT stop

Brent Hudgins (owner of Shore Thing Billiards), Danny Mastermaker & Wendell Thompkins

He's been working his way up the ladder on the Action Pool Tour, and on the weekend of July 6-7, Danny Mastermaker chalked up a victory on the Great Southern Billiard Tour. The hard way, so to speak; dropping his opening match, and winning nine on the loss side to eventually meet and double dip hot seat occupant, Wendell Thompkins in the finals. The $1,000-added Amateur event drew 33 entrants to Shore Thing Bar & Billiards in Myrtle Beach, SC.
 
With Mastermaker out of the way, temporarily, having been sent west 7-5 by Shawn Miller, Thompkins remained at work and advanced among the winners' side final four and a match against Brock Walker. B.J. Hucks and Kevin Brown squared off in the other winners' side semifinal. Thompkins defeated Walker 9-3, and in the battle for the hot seat, met Brown, who'd sent Hucks west 7-5. Thompkins gained the hot seat 9-3 over Brown and waited there for the return of Mastermaker.
 
With four down and five to go on the loss side, Mastermaker defeated Matt Collins 9-5, and Trey Frank 9-2 to pick up Walker. Hucks drew Kris Bailey, a C player, who'd gotten by two Bs; Trent Talbert, double hill and Chris Tuten 6-3. Bailey then eliminated A player Hucks, Mastermaker was busy ending Walker's weekend 9-2. 
 
Mastermaker chalked up his eighth, loss-side win by downing Bailey 9-5 in the quarterfinals. He then completed his trip back to the finals with a 9-3 win over Brown in the semifinals.
 
Mastermaker and Thompkins battled to double hill in the opening set of the true double elimination final, before Mastermaker prevailed to force a second set. The second battle stayed close, too, but Mastermaker pulled out in front by two at the end, claiming the event title with a 9-7 victory.
 
Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked the ownership and staff at Shore Thing Billiards for their ongoing hospitality and support, as well as sponsors Nick Varner Cues & Cases, Delta 13 Racks, Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Tiger Products, & Lomax Custom Cues. The next stop on the GSBT is a $1,000-added, Amateur 9-Ball event, scheduled for July 20-21 at Johnny Archer's room, The Marietta Billiard Club in Marietta, GA.

Davis comes back to double dip Cook on the GSBT

Shannon Daulton, Brian Davis, Dave Cook, David Perkins, Kevin Quinn & Del Laquiere

Brian Davis, a B player, downed two straight A players to get into the hot seat match against another A player, Dave Cook, only to be turned aside during the June 22-23 stop on the Great Southern Billiard Tour. Davis, though, came back from the semifinals and double dipped Cook, claiming the $2,500-added event title that had drawn 83 entrants to Players Place Billiards in Charleston, SC.
 
Davis took the first of his two straight matches against A opponents among the winners' side final eight, defeating Eddie Hudak 7-6 (A players race to 9). setting him up to face Michael Basha. Cook and Bruce Lutrell met in the other winners' side semifinal. Davis sent Basha west with another 7-6 victory, as Cook moved into the hot seat match with a 9-5 victory over Lutrell. Cook took the first (and last) of three versus Davis 9-5 and waited in the hot seat for him to return.
 
On the loss side, Lutrell picked up Hudak, who, following his defeat at the hands of Davis, took down BJ Hucks 9-7 and Russell Scott 9-6. Basha drew Trent Talbert, who'd gotten by Scooter Hias 7-3 and Russ Padgett double hill. Talbert eliminated Basha 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, met up with Lutrell, who'd shut out Hudak.
 
In a straight-up, B race to 7, Lutrell advanced to the semifinals over Talbert 7-3. In another straight-up race to 7, Davis ended Lutrell's bid 7-5, earning himself a re-match against Cook.
 
Davis and Cook fought to double hill in the opening set, before Davis finished it, forcing a second match. He held Cook to six racks in that second match to claim the event title.
 
Tour directors Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked the ownership and staff at Players Place, as well as sponsor Del Laquiere, who, as proprietor of the Hustlers Pool League, put up all of the added money.

Hucks goes undefeated to take GSBT stop in Myrtle Beach

BJ Hucks, Trent Talbert, & James Carroll (manager of Shore Thing Billiards)

BJ Hucks and Trent Talbert went head-to-head twice; once, in the battle for the hot seat and again, in the finals of the June 1-2 stop on the Great Southern Billiard Tour. Hucks won them both to capture the $1,000-added event that had drawn 30 entrants to Shore Thing Bar & Billiards in Myrtle Beach, SC.
 
Their first meeting came after Hucks had sent Scott Langston to the loss side 9-5 and Talbert had downed Wendell Thompkins 7-4. Hucks took the hot seat 9-5 and waited for Talbert to get back from the semifinals.
 
Over on the loss side, Thompkins picked up Sidney Champion, who'd defeated Kelvin Acres 9-3 and Gatlin Askins 9-6 to reach him. Langston picked up Phillip Britt, with two GSBT wins at Shore Thing Billiards to his credit (Oct. & Dec. '12) already, who'd defeated Mickey Hucks 9-6 and shut out JR Faircloth. The loss-side combatants advanced; Champion surviving a double hill fight over Thompkins and Britt ending Langston's day 9-4.
 
Champion took the quarterfinal match 9-6 over Britt but fell to Talbert in the semifinals 7-6. In their second matchup, Hucks held Talbert to three racks on his way to claiming the event title.
 
Shannon and Marge Daulton thanked the ownership and staff at Shore Thing Billiards, as well as sponsors Nick Varner Cues & Cases, Delta 13 Racks, Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Tiger Products, and Lomax Custom Cues. The next stop on the GSBT, a $2,500-added, amateur 9-ball event, is scheduled for June 22-23 at Player's Place in Charleston, SC.