By: Gerry Mayen
The 2010 Seminole Pro Tour returned to a familiar location this past weekend, Capone’s Billiards, in Spring Hill, FL. The field of 49 players was as strong a field as the previous tour stops this season. Several local players participated for the first time on this year’s tour and of course there were the usual Pro Tour veterans that made their appearances in the bracket.
Several hill-hill matches highlighted the tournament and kept all the spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the weekend. Newcomers took over the east side of the bracket for most of the tournament, but the skilled veterans, with their backs against the wall and no room for error on the left side of the bracket, showed their prowess and ended up in the money.
The highlight of the first round of matches had to have been Rodney “The Rocket” Morris, winner of the last tour stop in Hollywood, CA and former house pro at Capone’s, against Donnie “Big Ern” Mills. Morris jumped to an early lead, but Mills quickly surpassed the deficit to defeat “The Rocket” 7-5. Morris then faced another tough opponent, Pro Tour regular James Roberts, in his next match. Roberts, who had previously lost 6-2 to Corey Deuel, would not fair any better versus Morris, as Morris would advance with a score of 7-3. Morris would continue with victories over Jerry Troy (7-4), Ricky Sanchez (7-1), and Charlie Williams (8-7) and finally met his match and lost (8-2) against young Justin Hall, who was riding a hot streak of his own. Morris finished in 9-12th place and took home the $425 prize.
Tommy Kennedy, Charlie Williams, Corey Deuel, Tony Crosby, and Neil Fujiwara all saw their names moved to the left side of the bracket during the first day of the tournament. Kennedy and Fujiwara were unable to recover from early defeats and had early exits from the tournament. Williams, Deuel, and Crosby faired a little better by making it to the money but all three finished in 13-16th place along with Raymond Linares.
Deuel began the tournament very strong with some amazing shots that had all spectators in awe of his skilled shooting. Deuel defeated Johnny Causey (7-1) and James Roberts (7-2), but then faced Robb Saez, who sent Deuel west by beating him 7-3. On the one-loss side, Deuel faced a formidable foe in Pierre Palmari and squeaked by 7-5. Deuel would then square off against Anthony Meglino. South Florida native Meglino would end Deuel’s weekend play with an 8-5 defeat. Deuel finished in 13-16th place and collected the $325 prize money. Meglino would continue to face Stevie Moore in his next match and lose in a thrilling hill-hill match to finish in 9-12th place.
The king of the hill match had two players who were making their 2010 debut in the Seminole Pro Tour Donnie Mills facing Robb Saez. Saez had made it to this point with victories against Bob McCulley (7-0), Tommy Kennedy (7-6), Corey Deuel (7-3), “Iron” Mike Davis (8-5) and Shaun Putnam (8-2). Mills road to the hot seat match consisted of matches against Rodney Morris (7-5), David Ross (7-0), Julio Aquino (7-5), Stevie Moore (7-2) and Johnny Archer (7-6). Saez would jump to an early lead in the match against Mills, but Mills ran several racks in a row and took the victory 8-3.
Saez would move to the one-loss side to face Johnny Archer in the semifinals match. The match would see each player make short runs, but it was Archer who would get the better of Saez and move on to the championship match, and send Robb Saez to a third place finish and a $1,500 prize.
The championship match was an instant classic. Mills had displayed some powerful breaks all weekend, while Archer had played his typical methodical style game to help him advance to this point. With the match tied at 2 games apiece, Archer missed a straight shot on the 9 ball that would have left an easy shot on the 10 and send him up 3-2, instead it was Mills who took the early 3-2 lead. The two players would exchange racks and each had spectacular shots to their credit. Mills finally made a move with the score tied at 6. Archer shot a safety shot on the 6 ball, leaving a near impossible shot for Mills. Mills would bank in the 6 across the table and had the crowed in an uproar. He would go on the run the rack and go up 7-6. Archer would tie it back up at 7 and at one point turned to the crowd and asked who was cheering for him and requested their cheers.
The crowd’s cheers would not be enough for Johnny Archers, as Donnie Mills would finally get the win with a count of 9-8. Mills secured the first place trophy and the $3,000 first place purse. Archer would settle for second place and the $2,500 prize.
We thank Rocky McElroy, owner of Capone’s Billiards and the entire Capone’s staff for hosting this wonderful event. The Seminole Pro Tour will next be at the Marietta Billiards Club in Atlanta, GA on July 9-11 and have a guaranteed prize pot of $20,000. The entire tournament will be streamed live at www.seminoleprotour.com.