Yusuf Khan goes undefeated to take Tri-State stop over 13-year-old Thomas Rice

Tom Riley, Carl Yusuf Khan and Thomas Rice


So near, and yet so far. Thirteen-year-old Thomas Rice worked his way through a field of 29 entrants on hand for the September 15 stop on the Tri-State Tour, getting as far as the hot seat match, and eventually, the finals. The youngster was stopped from winning his first tournament, ever, by Carl Yusuf Khan, whose victory in the finals completed an undefeated day. The $1,000-added event was hosted by The Cue Bar in Bayside, NY.

Khan's path to victory moved through Geoff Bauer, Eddie Manlulu, and Arturo Reyes, to put him among the winners' side final four, where he faced Juan Guzman. Rice, in the meantime, squared off against Tom Riley. Khan sent Guzman west 7-6, as Rice was busy dispatching Tom Riley 7-5. In their first of two, Khan prevailed 9-5 to sit in the hot seat.

Guzman moved west to pick up Koka Davladze, who'd gotten by Christian Smith 7-2, and Reyes, 7-5. Riley drew Robert Veit, who'd defeated Paulo Valverde 7-5 and Jesse Gomez 6-3. Guzman and Riley got right back on track with victories over Davladze 7-6, and Veit 6-4, respectively. Riley prevailed 7-4 over Guzman in the quarterfinals that followed, for a second chance against Rice.

Having never advanced to a second place finish, let alone an event victory, Rice was exceptionally motivated in his semifinal, second match against Riley. He allowed Riley only two racks and got his second crack at Khan. The motivation got Rice out to a 5-0 lead, but Khan responded with five of his own to tie things. The two traded racks to double hill before Khan sunk the final ball to capture the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at The Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Poison Cues,  Ron Tarr Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is a $1,500-added, A-D handicapped event, set for September 22 at Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.