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

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.