‘The Rifleman’ Shoots Down Grossman

Buddy 'The Rifleman' Hall

Park Avenue Billiards hosted its Third Annual US Open Qualifier. 49 players from the southeast and other parts of the country vied for the 1st Place money of $800 and their entry into the 2004 US Open scheduled for September 6 through September 12.

The field included US Open winner and Hall of Fame member Buddy Hall as well as nationally ranked David Grossman. In addition top regional players such as Dan Lavoie, Neil Fujiwara, Stoney Stone, Butch Croft, Bobby Hicks, Kevin Wishall, Larry Gayle and Harley's Rac and Cue owner, Harley Bryan.

Buddy Hall cruised to the "Hot Seat" defeating J. L. Hill 7-2, local favorite George McLanahan 7-3, Lance O'Neal 7-2, and Ed Martin 7-3. After those matches Buddy met Bobby Hicks, one of Park Avenues top players, for the right to meet Dan Lavoie to advance to the winners position.

Dan Lavoie, a former room owner, showed how he has advanced his skill level after selling his businesses and devoting full time to playing pool. Dan defeated several of the top regional players such as Butch Croft 7-4, Harley Bryan 7-2, and Mike Griffin 7-5 before meeting David Grossman for the right to play Buddy Hall for the "Hot Seat." The match went to the "Hill" with Dan finally sending David to the losers' side with a 7-6 victory. This set up the match between Buddy and Dan with Buddy coming out on top 7-4.

Grossman's fight to win this event for the third consecutive year continued on the losers' side where he met Kevin Wishall, a top player from Waycross, GA. After defeating Kevin 5-1 he had to face Neil Fujiwara, one of Park Avenues favorites, who, after going to the losers' side in his third match worked his way into the fourth place spot with notable wins over Stoney Stone 5-3 and Bobby Hicks 5-4. This set up the match with David to advance to play for the winner of the losers' side. This match ended quickly with David coming out on top 5-0.

Winning against Neil setup the rematch between Dan Lavoie and David with David winning a hard fought match 5-4.

The match between Buddy and David, a race to 9, was no cakewalk for the "Rifleman" although he did prevail in the end, winning 9-7. As a former winner of the US Open Buddy receives a free entry, therefore he was paid the $500 to offset his expenses in this year's open.

The final payout is as follows:

1st Buddy Hall $800
2nd David Grossman $500
3rd Dan Lavoie $300
4th Neil Fujiwara $200
5th/6th Bobby Hicks $100, Kevin Wishall $100
7th/8th Stoney Stone, Harley Bryan $75
9th-12th John Tatum, Bruce Choyce, Ed Martin, Mike Griffin $50

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics By Hoppe