WPBA Colorado Classic Day One

Jeanette Lee

The fourth stop of the 2009 WPBA Season brings us to our hosts, the Sky Ute Casino.  This is our first time at this fantastic facility, which has much to offer families and outdoor enthusiasts.  They even have a bowling alley here!

Prior to the Charity event on Wednesday, the WPBA and Sky Ute honored Allison Fisher, who is being inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame this year.  The Sky Ute chefs whipped up a beautiful cake and Steve Tipton, Tournament Director, made a great speech.  In addition, Kelly Fisher and Kim Shaw, who have both known Allison for many years, honored her with saying a few words as well about how important Allison has been for the Women's game and our sport in general.  Truly, Allison Fisher can be considered the greatest Female Professional Billiard player of all time.

Wednesday's “Challenge a Pro for Charity” event drew fans from around the area, including Durango, Farmington and even as far away as Denver! Benefiting “Peaceful Spirit”, proceeds went to help youth overcome addiction. For $20, fans could sign up to Challenge a Pro and many joined up to shoot against Allison Fisher, Gerda Hofstatter, Karen Corr, Jeanette Lee and many others.  

Play began Thursday morning with several top players absent including Tiffany Nelson-Crain and Jennifer Chen.  New Mexico player Anna Kostanian, absent for most of this season, had joined us for this event as it's only 3.5 hours from her hometown of Albuquerque.  There were three rookies in the field, Dana Aft, Samantha Patton and Bora Jeong, all of whom won qualifier's to enter the Colorado Classic.  

WPBA's Presenting Sponsor for Web Streaming 2009, Pooldawg.com, was here in person as owner Mike Feiman and crew decided to come to Sky Ute and watch the event this week.  Feature web stream matches kicked off today with two Jr. World Champions, Anna Kostanian and Brittany Bryant.  Anna went on to win the match.  Other web matches included such notables as Iris Ranola, Karen Corr, Yu Ram Cha, Ewa Laurance, Helena Thornfeldt and Kelly Fisher.  

There were no major upsets in the first round although the match between Karen Corr and Val Finnie was exciting as Val played very well, keeping it close until tied up at 6 all, Karen turned on the afterburners and won 9-6.  Some of the second round matches included Iris Ranola vs. Jeanette Lee, Ga Young Kim vs. Jennifer Barretta and two tenacious competitors in Sarah Rousey and Morgan Steinman.   Sarah and Morgan kept it close but Sarah pulled away to win 9-6.  

Our #1 seed, Monica Webb, defeated her first two opponents, and alongside Ga Young, who defeated Jennifer 9-2, moved on into the 3rd round.  Allison Fisher and Xiaoting Pan also continued into the 3rd round.  

More second round action included Kelly Fisher, the 2008 Player of the Year, who faced off against Korea's Bora Jeong.  Bora is an accomplished player in her native country, having come in 2nd behind Yu Ram Cha in the Korean National Championships and had qualified for this event through the J Pechauer Northeast Women's Pool Tour.  After defeating Megan Smith in her first round, she proceeded to give Kelly a run for her money, staying even with her throughout the match for the first 12 games, tied at 6 all.  But Kelly kicked it up a notch, taking a two game lead and reached the hill 8-6 and finished out the match, 9-6.  Julie Kelly, the 2000 World 9 Ball Champion, faced Top WPBA seeded player Kim Shaw in the 2nd round, 10pm round and neither player would give the other ground, trading games throughout with Julie reaching the hill first, 8-7.  Kim forced the hill-hill game but it was Julie's break advantage going into that final game.  Julie came up dry, leaving Kim with a 1/9 combination to end it quickly and move on in the winner's bracket.  

In an all Asian match-up, recent Champion of the Galveston World Classic – Women's 9 Ball Division Yu Ram Cha matched up versus Top Japanese player, Kyoko Sone and they also traded games through the first 12, but Kyoko took advantage of some errors posted by Yu Ram and reached the hill 8-6.   Meanwhile, Jeanette would take complete command of her match reaching the hill at 8-6 versus Iris.  But Iris wasn't finished yet and crawled back to tie the match after Jeanette missed the 7 ball in game 15 and we were hill-hill! Jeanette broke and after pocketing a ball, continued through the rack but missed shape on the 4.  After playing safe, Iris played a beautiful masse shot, just barely feathering the 4 but unfortunately for her, the cue ball scratched and gave Jeanette ball in hand to finish out the match 9-8.  

Meanwhile, Yu Ram fought her way back and another hill-hill match ensued.  Yu Ram ran to the 8 but scratched after pocketing the ball, and with ball in hand Kyoko made the 9 to advance.  The last match of the evening belonged to Line Kjorsvik and Melissa Little.  Melissa had reached the hill quickly, up 8-3 but Line, who had finished 3rd at the Galveston World Classic Women's 9 Ball Division, wouldn't give up that easily and fought her way back down 5-8.  But Melissa finished off the match winning 9-5 and the 3rd round match ups were complete.  To view the complete brackets go to www.wpba.com and scroll till you see The WPBA Colorado Classic Tournament Brackets link.  

Play starts back up at 11:00am on Friday.  Tune in to more FREE live web streaming and updates!