Art of Billiards Host All American Tour

Reported by Michell Monk

(photo L-R) Room owner Art Rogers, Shanelle Lorraine (3rd), Helene Caukin (1st), Jessica Barnes (3rd), Nicolle Rasmussen (2nd), and room owner Dana Rogers)

The thirty-eighth stop on the 2009-2010 Lucasi Hybrid All American Tour (produced by the American CueSports Alliance – ACS) was produced at Art of Billiards in GainesvilleFL on Saturday, May 1.  The $250 added event attracted eleven of Florida’s top women players – the event piggybacking onto the popular regional Flamingo Tour.  Although a small field due to other activities going on this day, the competition was fierce and full of surprises in the double-elimination, 9-foot table, 9-ball competition.

First round matches saw last month’s Flamingo Tour winner, Nicolle Rasmussen, face off with powerhouse Leslee Davis-Blakie, who has been absent on tour. Rasmussen won 7-4 and moved on to defeat Christie Cloke. Helene Caukin defeated newcomer Allison “Derek” Folds, sending her west with a score of 7-4. Barbara Ellis won a double-hill thriller against newcomer and pool room owner Dana Rogers to advance.

In the round before the redraw Shanelle Lorraine sent Caukin to the one-loss side, and Rasmussen lost to Jessica Barnes.  Rasmussen matched up again with Blakie, winning 7-3 and her spot into the redraw.  Caukin played Melissa Durkin in a tighter match, but edged out with a 7-6 score.

The redraw saw Caukin and Rasmussen draw their opponents, coincidentally setting up rematches of their earlier losses that day ― Caukin versus Lorraine and Rasmussen against Barnes.

Semi-final matches

Caukin and Lorraine started out cautiously, neither wanting to relinquish control of the table.  Caukin gained control first and just when she looked to get the win in the first game, she rattled the 9-ball, leaving it for Lorraine to easily pocket. Caukin quickly tied the score but again hung the 9-ball, and Lorraine went up 2-1. The match stayed close until Lorraine began a streak, taking the lead 5-3. However, the tables turned as Lorraine was about to get on the hill, as she jawed the 9-ball and Caukin pulled within one. From there, it was all Caukin as she took over the table and eventually won the match 7-5.

In the other semi-final match, Rasmussen quickly took a 2-0 lead, but Barnes fired back and tied the match. Rasmussen pulled away taking the lead 4-2, but Barnes managed to pull within one game. When it looked that she would tie the score, Barnes missed the 8-ball and Rasmussen went up 5-3. Again Barnes found her rhythm and looked to be out when an unexpected miss on the 6-ball gave Rasmussen another game.  Now on the hill, Rasmussen ran out, closing out the match 7-3.

Two veteran players made it to the finals ― last month’s Flamingo Tour winner, Rasmussen and top competitor, Caukin. Caukin won the lag and meticulously began running out, taking a 3-0 lead before Rasmussen got on the board. However, Caukin’s momentum continued as she took back control and jumped to a 5-1 lead.  The next game, Caukin scratched on a tricky 8-ball and Rasmussen started closing the gap. But Caukin quickly shook off the scratch of the previous game and ran the table to reach the hill. Up 6-2, Caukin broke and began a run that would have ended the match, but left with a difficult shot on the 9- ball, the match wasn’t over just yet. After an exchange of misses and safeties, Rasmussen pocketed the 9 to put the match at 3-6.  The next rack, Caukin took control and began running the table to close out the match, but missed a tough 8-ball and Rasmussen ran out.  At 6-4, Caukin broke and watched the cue ball drop in the side pocket. With ball in hand, Rasmussen made the 1 and then the 2-9 combo to put the score at 6-5. Rasmussen broke, hoping to tie the match. But a dry break would be her last chance, as a determined Caukin decided it had been long enough and ran the rack to take her first regional tour win!

As the highest finishing ACS (American Cur Sports) league member, Leslee Davis won a 9 Ball singles entry into the 2010 ACS Nationals, June 6-12th in Las Vegas.  The ACS would like to extend a special thanks to hosts Art and Dana Rogers of Art of Billiards (www.artofbilliards.com) for their patronage, equipment and hospitality. And to sponsors Lucasi Hybrid Cues, Championship Billiard Fabric, Nick Varner Signature Cases, Ozone Billiards and Pool Cue Guru for their support in donating “Value-In-Kind” product for this and all stops on the Lucasi Hybrid All American Tour. All entries in the Tour are also entered into a drawing in June for $950-$1,000 Lucasi Hybrid Cues, courtesy of Ozone Billiards.  Sponsorship opportunities and tour stop openings are available for the 2010/2011 All American Tour by contacting the ACS.

The Tour moves within the state – to Riverside Billiards (561-714-6430) in Stuart, Florida – on Saturday, May 29, for a $500-added 8-ball stop.  Further information, entry details and schedules for the 2009/2010 Lucasi Hybrid All American Tour are available at www.americancuesports.org.

FINAL RESULTS:

1st       Helene Caukin (Orange City, FL)      $370

2nd      Nicolle Rasmussen (Orlando, FL)      $250

3-4th    Jessica Barnes (Orlando, FL)              $100

Shanelle Lorraine (Orlando, FL)         $100

5th Leslee Davis (Lutz, FL)                      Free 9-ball singles entry to ACS Nationals in Las Vegas

The ACS is a non-profit, national organization dedicated to heightening the interest and awareness of cue sports through the support and sanctioning of organized competition throughout the United States.


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