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.


Rasmussen Rules the Flamingo Billiards Tour

(pctured left Kelly Cavanaugh, right winner Nicolle Rasmussen)

* reported by Michell Monk

Orlando, Fla. (April 11, 2010) ― April 10th brought out 11 women to the Flamingo Billiards Tour event held at Corner Pocket Billiards in Orlando, Florida.  Although a small field, it was filled with talent.  A new winner, but hardly a newcomer, emerged victorious ― Nicolle Rasmussen.

Sparks started flying early as two top players got knocked to the one-loss side after the first round.  Sandy Hamor defeated Helene Caukin and Jessica Barnes sent Stephanie Mitchell west.  Hamor continued her trek until losing to Kelly Cavanaugh.

Mimi McAndrews won her first two matches then lost to Rasmussen, who set a match record ― four 9-ball combination shots, almost made a fifth, and earning the nickname “Nicolle ride-the-nine Rasmussen!”  Keva Hevener, who lost to Cavanaugh, retaliated by defeating McAndrews, while Caukin avenged her earlier loss to Hamor.

The single-elimination portion of the tournament drew Hevener against Cavanaugh and Caukin against Rasmussen.  Caukin took the first game, but missed the 9-ball giving Rasmussen the second game. Next, Rasmussen snapped the nine in the side.  Jumping out to a 5-1 lead, Caukin cut into Rasmussen’s streak to trail by three.  However, Rasmussen won the next game putting her on the hill.  Caukin broke and ran to a tricky 3-ball and missed, allowing Rasmussen back to the table.  Methodically running the rack, Rasmussen “willed” the cue ball away from the pocket to avoid scratching in the side.  Rasmussen made the 9, eliminating Caukin 7-2.

In semi-final 2, Cavanaugh started out struggling with her mechanics and missing two 9-balls, which Hevener pocketed to go up 3-1. Next, Cavanaugh scratched on the break. Hevener, with ball-in-hand on the one, missed the shot trying to get difficult shape on the two.  Fortune turned and Cavanaugh ran out.  She easily caromed her next win after Hevener left the 9-ball hanging.  Hevener missed the 9-ball again, and Canavaugh took the lead 4-3. The players alternated the next three games, and Cavanaugh reached the hill first.  In the 11th game, Hevener maneuvered a meticulous out but left herself a difficult shot on the nine and missed.  Cavanaugh made a long 9-ball shot to win the match.

The finals pitted best friends Rasmussen against Cavanaugh.  Rasmussen scored first.  Cavanaugh quickly tied the match and then won the next two games.  Moments from taking the lead by three, Cavanaugh missed the 9-ball and Rasmussen pulled within one game.  Despite that miss, the force was with Cavanaugh as she methodically put together racks to reach the hill, leaving Rasmussen behind at three.  In the next game Rasmussen missed a touchy safe on the 4-ball leaving Cavanaugh a chance to close the match.  But fatigue and pressure set in and Cavanaugh uncharacteristically missed the 7-ball.  Rasmussen ran out and the score was 6-4.  With the momentum shifting again Rasmussen took the next two racks to tie the match.

The final game showcased nerves. Both players exchanged misses.  Rasmussen left the 6-ball hanging in the corner pocket leaving Cavanaugh with an extremely difficult position shot to the seven.  Jokingly, Cavanaugh asked Rasmussen if she could “phone a friend.”  Both laughed and then it was back to business. Cavanaugh made the shot, got shape for the 7-ball, made that shot and left a thin cut on the nine in the side but missed.  Rasmussen stepped to the table, lined up the shot and fired the 9-ball in, winning her first Flamingo Billiards Tour title!

The FBT and players would like to extend a special thanks to Tesh Patel of Corner Pocket Billiards (www.cornerpockerbilliards.com) for their patronage, equipment and hospitality.  Another very special thanks to Tour supporter Glenn Votel for adding $100 bonus to the payout.  And a huge thanks to our Tour sponsors Ozone Billiards (www.ozonebilliards.com), Boynton Billiards (www.boyntonbilliards.com) and Tweeten Fibre (www.tweeten.us) for their valued support.

RESULTS
($250 added, $100 bonus, modified double-elimination)

1st        Nicolle Rasmussen ($310 + $50 bonus)
2nd       Kelly Cavanaugh ($250 + $50 bonus)
3rd        Helene Caukin ($100)
3rd        Keva Hevener ($100)
5th        Sandi Hamor ($50)
5th        Mimi McAndrews ($50)
7th        Melissa Durkin
7th        Stephanie Mitchell
9th        Jessica Barnes
9th        Shanelle Lorraine
9th        Barbara Harris