Irish eyes are smiling

Although the 2000 World Pool-Billiard Association World 9-Ball Championships in Quebec City, Quebec, Nov. 14-19, brought together the best women players in the world, the finals came down to the Women’s Professional Billiard Association’s two top Irish imports. After a difficult route to the final, Julie Kelly topped WPBA No. 2-ranked Karen Corr to capture first place and her first major tournament title since coming to the United States in 1999.

Kelly, currently ranked No. 18 on the WPBA’s Classic Tour, twice knocked off defending champion Shin-Mei Liu (9-8, 9-6), then Jeanette Lee (9-7), before defeating her countrymate, 9-8 in the final match. Corr reached the final match with a victory over Lee in the quarterfinals (9-5) and a convincing win over three-time World Champion and WPBA No. 1-ranked Allison Fisher (9-2).

Corr Narrows Fisher’s Lead at WPBA US Open

The alternating-break format is continuing to shake up the ranks of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association, but it has yet to break the Allison Fisher-Karen Corr stranglehold on the top two spots. Corr won the WPBA U.S. Open, Sept. 10-14, in Albuquerque, N.M., in a 7-6 hill victory over Korean pro Ga-Young Kim in the finals.

Corr took the hot-seat when two straight scratches on the break let Corr take a 9-8 win. Kim earned a rematch in a 7-5 victory over tour veteran Vivian Villareal.

Corr took home $12,500 for her win, and narrowed Fisher’s lead to 110 points. Kim made her first WPBA television appearance, and took home $9,000 for second place. Villareal accepted $7,000 and third place, while Jeanette Lee settled for $5,500 for fourth. Full brackets can be found at the WPBA’s website, www.wpba.com.

Archer on Top at Valley Forge

Archer ended a long dry spell at Valley Forge

Archer ended a long dry spell at Valley Forge

Rodney Morris wowed the crowd with a spectacular, length-of-the-table cut shot on the 2 ball in his hill-hill match against Johnny Archer in the finals of the Brunswick Pro Players Championship… and then promptly blew an easy cut on the 4 in a corner pocket. Archer, who had kept the heat on The Rocket all match, quickly wiped up the table to earn his first major championship win in more than a year.

Archer felt a year’s worth of frustrating, close-but-no-cigar finishes lift from his shoulders. “Any time you win a tournament, it takes the heat off of you,” he said. “It doesn’t make ’em any easier, that’s for sure, but it does take a little bit of pressure off, because now in the back of your mind you know you can do it, so if you get there again, just go ahead and perform again.”

The tournament was held March 21-23 in conjunction with the Super Billiard Expo in Valley Forge, Pa. The Expo also hosted an eight-player round-robin event featuring top women pros. Helena Thornfeldt and Karen Corr emerged from the pack and faced off in a two-set final. Corr dominated the first set and capitalized on a rash of Thornfeldt scratches in the second to win, 6-3, 6-4.

Duchess On Top Again!

Allison Fisher beat down her rivals with a smile.

Allison Fisher beat down her rivals with a smile.

Allison Fisher, the “Duchess of Doom” reclaimed her top ranking over the course of a single event at the Women’s Professional Billiard Association season opener, the Delta Classic at Sam’s Town Casino in Tunica, Miss., March 5-9. Fisher defeated Jeanette Lee, 7-5, in the finals while former chart-topper Karen Corr languished in ninth place. The disappearance of Corr’s 155-point lead over Fisher can be credited mostly to the precipitous 150-point drop that Corr suffered as a result of finishing ninth.

The new alternating-racks format shook up the charts some, with Corr going to the loser’s bracket care of snooker import Kim Shaw and Lee losing to come-from-nowhere Texan Kim White, both in the second round. Both Shaw and White finished unexpectedly high in the field, with formerly 28th-ranked White taking fifth place, and formerly 19th-ranked Shaw taking fourth place and making her first appearance in the television rounds.

Fisher claimed $9,000 for her win, while Lee settled for $6,500. Taiwanese starlet Jennifer Chen took home $5,000 for third place and Shaw took home $4,000 for fourth. Helena Thornfeldt tied White for fifth place and $2,800.

Karen Corr: Back on Top?

Karen Corr is fighting back.

Karen Corr is fighting back.

Women’s Professional Billiards Association points-leader Karen Corr may be getting back into the swing of things. Corr defeated her perennial nemesis Allison Fisher, 7-5, in the finals of the WPBA Women’s National 9-Ball Championship, held Dec. 5-8 in Miami, Fla.

Corr had been steadily losing her grip on 2001’s can’t-lose status, letting Fisher take three of the WPBA’s professional events in 2002. It was starting to look like Fisher had completely regained her former dominance. Before the Nationals win, Corr hadn’t posted a victory since the BCA Open in May, and in that event, she triumphed over Vivian Villarreal, not Fisher, in the final.

Corr took home $11,000 for her win, and she holds onto her 155-point lead, which she will bring with her into next season. Fisher’s second place earned her $8,000; Monica Webb to third for $6,000 and Hall-of-Famer Loree Jon Jones took 4th place and $4,800.

Allison Takes All

323aAllison Fisher continued her dominant play of late by defeating Karen Corr in a $25,000 sudden-death playoff in the International Tournament of Champions, held Nov. 6-7 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.

In the finals, each player took a set in the race-to-five format, leaving a single game to determine the champion. Fisher won the lag, made the 1 ball on the break and proceeded to run the table. The champion pocketed $25,000 in the winner-take-all competition.

In the semifinals of the four-player tournament, Corr defeated Helena Thornfeldt, 5-1 and 5-2, while Fisher bested Jeanette Lee, 5-4 and 5-4.

Corr Falls to Fisher at Fall Classic

320aContinuing a streak that’s starting to look like a comeback, Allison Fisher defeated longtime rival Karen Corr, 7-1, in the finals of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association’s Fall Classic, Oct. 2-6 at Amsterdam Billiards in New York, N.Y.

Fisher’s first game of the tournament brought an unexpected scare, when Canada’s Anita Kuczma took it to the hill before Fisher pulled off the 9-8 win. Fisher went on to win decisive victories over Julie Kelly, 9-1, Vivian Villareal, 9-2, and Monica Webb, 9-4, before another surprise trip to the hill, this time against Belinda Campos, put Fisher on the losers’ side. Fisher got her wind back, defeating Helena Thornfeldt, 7-4, Campos, 7-2, and finally Corr.

With this win, Fisher continues to creep up on Corr in the point rankings. This event earned Fisher 75 points, bringing her to 1615, while Corr holds steady at the top of the chart with 1770 points.

Always a Bridesmaid, Finally a Bride

Thornfeldt finally overcame them all. (Photo: Carla Bonner)

Thornfeldt finally overcame them all. (Photo: Carla Bonner)

Helena Thornfeldt has won her first Women’s Professional Billiards Association title since the Seattle Classic in 1996. Thornfeldt, who has steadily held the fourth or fifth place in the WPBA rankings, went undefeated at the U.S. Open, held Sept. 4-8 at the Sandia Casino in Albuquerque, N.M. Her trip to the top included wins over Belinda Campos, 9-6, and Julie Kelly, 9-7, as well as wins over No. 1 Karen Corr, 9-7, and No. 2 Allison Fisher, 9-6.

Thornfeldt’s win was worth $11,000. Runner-up Fisher took home $8,000, and third-place Corr settled for $6,000. The WPBA’s next stop is the Cuetec Cues Fall Classic, Oct. 2-6, at Amsterdam Billiard Club East in New York City.

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.

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.