Tokoph spoils Gutierrez bid at four straight on Fast Eddie’s tour

Tommy Tokoph avenged a fourth round 9-4 defeat at the hands of David Gutierrez by winning seven straight matches on the one-loss side, coming back to take both sets of a true double elimination final in the Fast Eddie's Olhausen 9-Ball Tour stop on Saturday, June 13. The $1,000-added event drew 39 players to Fast Eddie's in Odessa, TX.

Having become the only player in Fast Eddie's tour history to win three in a row, twice, Gutierrez was looking to make it four in a row, after winning his third of the season in San Antonio on the weekend of May 2-3. With Tokoph initially out of the way, he joined the winners' side final four. As Jason Dutchover was busy sending James Davis, Jr. west 9-4, Gutierrez sent Ramon Rodriguez over to join him 9-5. He stepped into the hot seat with a 9-5 win over Dutchover and was a single match away from sealing the four-peat deal.

Tokoph began his five-match trek back to the finals with a 7-4 win over Vince Salazar. He followed with a 7-4 win over Champ Massengill, which set him up to take on Davis. Nick Tafoya, in the meantime, got by Gary Derek 7-5 and Sean Black 7-6 to take on Rodriguez. Tokoph handled Davis 7-3 and moved into the quarterfinals versus Rodriguez, who'd defeated Tafoya 7-5. Tokoph then dropped Rodriguez into fourth place 7-5 and Dutchover into third 7-3.

Tokoph proved early that if he was going to go down against Gutierrez' efforts to chalk up his fourth straight win on the tour, he wasn't going to go quietly. He fought Gutierrez back and forth to hill-hill and prevailed at 9-8 to force a second set. According to tour director Lewis Jones, a determinant factor in that opening set was problems on the break.

“Gutierrez couldn't make a ball on the break to save his life,” said Jones, adding that Tokoph broke well to stay in the match and eventually win it.

In the second set, Tokoph got out to an early lead and was ahead by two at 5-3. With a chance to reach the hill (the second set was a race to 7), Tokoph missed a shot on the 8-ball and watched as Gutierrez ran out and then broke and ran the following rack. They traded racks to hill-hill and the finals came down to a single game. When Tokoph missed shooting at the 2-ball in that final game, it looked like a clear path to victory for Gutierrez, but he missed a shot as well. Tokoph stayed in the game and finished it with a second straight hill-hill victory that earned him top honors.