PoolRoom

World Championships on the Horizon, International Qualifiers Wrap Up

102aWith the World Championships less than a month away, the groups for round-robin competition are already set. The last wildcard has been handed out, and the last international qualifier has declared its winner. The only new names that will be added to fill out the 128-player field will be the 11 winners of the qualifiers that are to be held in Bristol, England, July 6- July 11, in the week before the main event.

The final wildcard went to crowd favorite Tony Robles, who teaches and plays in the New York City area. Robles takes the spot vacated by snooker star Jimmy White, who turned down his invitation. Robles is the benefactor of a fundraiser held in New York City recently with the goal of sending him to the qualifiers in Bristol. He shares a round-robin group with Cory Deuel; the last time Robles and Deuel met, in the semifinal of the Billiard Congress of America 9-Ball Open in May, Robles triumphed, going on the take second place. Robles will be representing Puerto Rico.

That last international qualifier was the Junior Qualifying Event, held at Riley’s Pool Club in Northampton, England, June 29, and its winner is David Lopez. Lopez, a 16-year-old apprentice bricklayer from Seville, Spain, is the third Spaniard to make it into this year’s World Championships. Nicknamed “Pumita,” (Little Puma) he defeated a field that included pre-tournament favorite Kevin Hew, a Londoner who is ranked 13th on the UK men’s pro 9-ball tour. He sealed his spot at Cardiff by beating young British pro player Russell March, 7-4, in the qualifier’s final. His round-robin group includes Taiwan’s intimidating Fong Pang Chao.

Matchroom sport, the organizers of this event, have set up a website devoted to the championships, providing information on the round-robin groupings and more: http://worldpoolchampionship.com

Bustamante Takes IBC Munich Open

101aFrancisco Bustamante won the IBC Munich Open, beating German Thorsten Hohmann on his home turf; 6-4; 7-5. In third place was Bruno Muratore of Italy, and in fourth, Oliver Ortmann of Germany. The competition, held May 30-June 1, was a race-to-six, best-of-three format, where competitors had to win by two racks. Bustamente’s win was worth $6,000.

Hohmann may not have nabbed the title, but his second-place finish was enough to earn him the top spot in the IBC point rankings; it was also worth $3,600 in prize money.

With qualifiers held from Virginia Beach to Moscow, the field of 64 included players from 17 countries, including many of the top European players and strong contingents from Asia and North America. The IBC’s next event is the Holland Open, to be held July 25-27.

Corr, Williams win BCA Open 9-Ball in Vegas

100aThe 2002 Billiard Congress of America Open 9-Ball Championships offered a touch of the expected, and a touch of the unexpected. Few were surprised to see top-ranked Karen Corr walk off with the women’s division title, which she secured with a 7-4 win over sixth-ranked Vivian Villarreal in the final. The men’s division, however, was a different story.

While top-ranked Cory Deuel did manage to advance to the semifinal, the title match featured first-time finalists (and best friends) Charlie Williams and Tony Robles. The 26-year-old Williams claimed his first major title in a 7-4 win over Robles, the likeable 36-year-old New Yorker. Both champions earned $15,000 from the $120,000 total prize fund. Villarreal and Robles each picked up $7,500 as runners-up. The semifinal and final matches in both divisions were taped for airing on ESPN in July. Click on
the “BCA Open 9-Ball” link above for complete coverage.

Jones and Rempe Elected to Hall of Fame

99aLoree Jon Jones, 36, and Jim Rempe, 54, have been voted into the BCA’s Hall of Fame. They will become the 42nd and 43rd members of the Hall.

Jones was the youngest world champion when she won the Professional Pool Players Association world 14.1 title in 1981, beating Vicki Paski in the final. “It’s like the ending of a great book. I still want to play, but this makes it easier to walk away now. I’ve had such a fulfilling career. I went into a sport and met more goals than I could have imagined,” said Jones.

Rempe holds numerous titles, was dominant on the men’s scene in the ’70s and is well-known overseas as an ambassador of American pool. Rempe was a holdover from last year’s ballot. “I had a feeling this would be my year,” he said from his Scranton, Pa., home. “I just felt like it was my time. It’s the cherry on top of the cake. The culmination of a life’s work. And to go in with Loree Jon is great,” he said.

While the two players have long lists of achievements, both are still very active. Jones is ranked No. 13 on the Women’s Professional Billiard Association tour, while Rempe has recently topped the field at Joss Northeast regional tour stops.

The newest Hall of Fame members will be inducted at a banquet on July 27 at the BCA International Trade Show in New Orleans.

Corr Wins Spring Classic

98aKaren Corr is back on top. Corr won the WPBA Spring Classic, held April 17-21, at Viejas Casino in Alpine, Calif., defeating Jeanette Lee, 7-4. Corr gained a four-game lead at the beginning of the final match, and never fell behind. To reach the finals, Corr defeated Sarah Rousey, 9-2, Ikumi Ushiroda, 9-3, Line Kjoersvik, 9-7, Anita Kuczma, 9-4, Sarah Ellerby, 9-3, and Allison Fisher, 9-6. In the semi-finals, Lee defeated Helena Thornfeldt, 7-4, and then Fisher, 7-5. Corr’s win netted her $8,000; Lee’s second was worth $6,000; Fisher took third and $4,700. The final and both semi-final matches were taped by ESPN and will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2 starting in late June. The WPBA’s next event is the Midwest Classic, Aug. 21-25, at Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino in East Peoria, Ill.

Fisher Takes Amway Cup

97aAllison Fisher is off to a blazing start. After taking the $10,000 title at the Cuetec Cues Players Championship in Valley Forge, Penn., March 15-17, she jetted to Taipei, Taiwan, to win the title at the Amway Cup, April 5-7, for $20,000.

She beat Austria’s Gerda Hofstatter, who took $10,000 for second place, as well as host-country hero Shin Mei Liu, who took $8,000 for third. Chun-Chen (Jennifer) Chen, also of Taiwan, came in fourth.