Hollywood Billiards Hosts Seminole Pro Tour

THE ROCKET TAKES OFF IN CALIFORNIA

By: Gerry Mayen

(Rafael Martinez, Corey Deuel, Rodney Morris)

The Seminole Pro Tour made its debut on the west coast with a stop at beautiful Hollywood Billiards in Hollywood California. With a very strong field of 59 players, this tour stop was no different from the Tour’s typical east coast surrounding.

Some very familiar names to the Tour came to Hollywood, such as James Roberts, Mike Davis, Charlie Williams, Corey Deuel and Hunter Lombardo.  Some new players made their first tour stop of the 2010 Seminole Pro Tour, such as Rodney Morris, Rafael Martinez, Oscar Dominguez, Jose Parica and US Junior National Champion Brendan Crockett.  This three-day tournament was packed with great action and also included some surprising results.

The first round of matches involved some thrilling hill-hill matches, including Gabe Owen who shot his way past Michael Williams 7-6.  Owen then cruised past youngster Brendan Crockett 7-3, Arturo Rivera 7-4 and won a hard-fought back-and-forth match against a hot Rodney Morris, who only lasted two racks in three matches, 8-7.  Owen then faced a familiar foe in Corey Deuel.  Deuel ended Owen’s winning run with an 8-2 victory and sent Owen to the west side of the bracket.  Owen grinded out a win against Oscar Dominguez where he would then once again face Rodney Morris.  This time around the result would be different as Morris would come away with the win 8-4.

Stevie Moore, winner of the recent Bankshot Billiards Tour stop, started the tournament with a hill-hill victory over Max Eberle.  Moore continued his run with wins over Tour veteran William Dunsmore 7-1, Christian Johannessen  7-5, and Swiss Marco Tschudi 8-2. Moore ended the second day of play poised to play Rafael Martinez for a shot at the hot seat match. On day three, Moore’s game did not seem to be on point.  After missing a straight shot on the 9 ball, while being up 5-3, Moore watched as Martinez ran 5 consecutive racks to take the win 8-5.  Moore’s next match against Rodney Morris proved to be unfavorable, as Morris coasted to an 8-1 victory.

Hunter Lombardo, who has played at every Tour stop this season, began the tournament with a disappointing loss to Corey Harper 7-4.  The loss did not phase Lombardo as he strung together a series of victories over Jeffery Jamerson 7-4, Reid Feming 7-2, Alex Laski 7-3, Fach Garcia 7-5, Brendan Crockett 8-7, and Eddie Abraham 8-3.  This set up a match against Rodney Morris, which would go back and forth until it ended with Rodney coming from behind to win 8-7.

The crowd favorite for the first two days of the tournament was hands down 15-year-old Brendan Crockett.  The current US Junior National Champion played a strong tournament and finished on the money.  This sharp shooting kid showed a few of the pros that he indeed, will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.  Crockett posted victories over Ken Mendoza 7-4, Rodney Wynn 7-3, Kengo Matsumoto 7-5 and Christian Johannessen 7-4.

Seminole Pro Tour staple Corey Deuel had an impressive weekend.  Deuel’s smooth stokes and sharp shooting helped post some convincing wins throughout the tournament.  His closest and toughest match came in the hot seat match, where Rafael Martinez went to hill-hill.  This match could have gone either way, but Deuel got the king of the hill and played Rodney Morris for the tournament championship and $5,000 first prize.

The championship match began with Corey winning the first four racks and jumping to a quick 5-0 lead.  Morris then began a run of his own by winning the next seven games going up 7-5.  Deuel finally ended Morris’ huge run to pull within one at 6-7.  Morris would answer back on the next rack to widen his lead again to 6-8.  Deuel continued to battle, by sinking a stunning combination bankshot to sink the 10 ball and win the rack setting the score at 7-8.  Rodney Morris would put an end to the match and the tournament by winning the next rack with a 9-7 victory.

The Seminole Pro Tour would like to thank Jeff Bey and the entire staff at Hollywood Billiards.

Parica Holds Off Fierce Field at 14th Annual Jay Swanson Memorial

Article and Photo by Sunny Griffin

Jose Parica and Sal Butera

The 14th Annual Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball Tournament (“Swanee”) was held February 13-14 at Hollywood Billiards in Hollywood, California. A 2 day grinder and an institution of an event on the west coast, this year again saw a full 192 field with a dozen players on the wait list. The Swanee celebrates the life of “Gentle Giant” Jay Swanson who was much loved as a person yet equally feared on the table.  “When Swanee was regularly playing in Southern California events, the favorites were usually him, Ernesto (Dominguez) and Keith (McCready)” said Co-Tournament Director and pool commentator Jay Helfert.

Dozens of players were waiting outside in the early morning Los Angeles sun waiting for the 8 am opening of Hollywood Billiards. Originally the event started in 1996 at College Billiards in San Diego. College was owned by Mark Griffin, now CEO of CueSports International (CSI), and was one of Jay Swanson’s local hangouts.

The $4000 added event drew young and old, men and women, pros and amateurs. The field was narrowed down from 192 to 48 players by Sunday morning. The first round on Sunday kicked off with winner’s bracket players Jose Parica, Dave Hemmah, Louis Ulrich, well known father and son Ernesto and Oscar Dominguez and 14 year old phenom Brendan Crockett who is a member of Team CSI – Next Generation and recently represented the U.S. at the Junior World Championships in Nicaragua after only 2 years of playing. Recent One Pocket Hall of Fame recipient Jose Parica captured the hot seat.

When the dust settled, it was Sal Butera who faced Parica in the one race to 13 final. Despite the midnight hour both Parica and Butera brought their ‘A’ games with barely a miss by either man. By 2 am Monday morning the match was hill-hill with a room full of weary but enraptured spectators.

In the final game Parica again was plagued by the dry break demon leaving Butera a wide open table. With only 4 balls remaining the crowd started whispering “it’s over” but then the unthinkable happened – the 6 ball rattled inside the pocket and spit out onto middle of the foot rail. Parica stepped up and made the tough cut shot except the cue ball nudged the 7 to the head rail leaving Parica the option of playing safe or going for the bank. He opted for the safe hooking Butera behind the 9. While Butera had solid contact, he left Parica the 7 out taking home the win.

Place Name Prize Place Name Prize
1 Jose Parica $3,000.00 33 Ramin Bakhtiari $100.00
2 Sal Butera $1,500.00 33 Mitchell Sargent $100.00
3 Wayne Pullen $1,000.00 33 Robert Howell $100.00
4 Marcus Rodriguez $750.00 33 Scott White $100.00
5 Marshall Jung $535.00 33 Josh Gomes $100.00
5 Greg Harada $535.00 33 Russ Martin $100.00
7 Bernardo Chavez $400.00 33 Bruce Choyce $100.00
7 Oscar Dominguez $400.00 33 Duane Grimes $100.00
9 Butch Barba $300.00 33 Mark Griffin $100.00
9 Dane Elmstedt $300.00 33 Chris Adams $100.00
9 Nick Spano $300.00 33 Erwin Macapagal $100.00
9 Brian Parks $300.00 33 Omar Vachhani $100.00
13 Abel Lim $200.00 33 Mark Estes $100.00
13 Louie Ulrich $200.00 33 Skip Miller $100.00
13 Corey Harper $200.00 33 Gary Jones $100.00
13 Rudy Jerez $200.00 33 Johnny Kang $100.00
17 George Ramirez $175.00 49 Akira Omori $75.00
17 Ernesto Dominguez $175.00 49 Zeus Morrison $75.00
17 Ken Johnson $175.00 49 Ken Gouso $75.00
17 Jay Beatty $175.00 49 Will Hathcock $75.00
17 Dave Hemmah $175.00 49 Jerry Decker $75.00
17 John Pasquarella $175.00 49 Eric Pender $75.00
17 Max Eberle $175.00 49 Chris Tate $75.00
17 Brendon Crocket $175.00 49 Dave Kirby $75.00
25 Julio Berger $150.00 49 Amir Shoshan $75.00
25 Jaden Brock $150.00 49 Tony Sardo $75.00
25 Fach Garcia $150.00 49 Bill Pence $75.00
25 Gerardo Jamito $150.00 49 Mark Arnold $75.00
25 Frank Howe $150.00 49 Jeff Tolbert $75.00
25 Curtis Johnson $150.00 49 Dennis O’Brien $75.00
25 Ray Tedrick $150.00 49 Randy Kukla $75.00
25 Jonny Warren $150.00 49 Shane Erickson $75.00