Chau and Nguyen Capture 2015 Lone Star Kick-Off
Hailing from Peru, professional player Manny Chau (pictured left) fought his way through an elite field of open 9-ball division players, taking home the title at the Lone Star Billiards Tour Kick-Off event held January 24th-25th at Bogies Billiards & Sports Bar in Houston, Texas. Chase Rudder made a big splash with a short-lived hot seat victory over Houston south-sider Nick Hood, until meeting Chau in the finals. Destroying the amateur 9-ball field was up-and-comer Kevin Nguyen who faced off with tour newcomer Horacio Cortez for the amateur title. Nguyen captured his first-ever, long awaited, tour victory.
Sunday afternoon, matches went into overtime as 71 competitors grinded to the bitter end. In the open division, Chase Rudder (above right) flew undefeated to the hot seat with wins over Marvin Diaz, 9-1, Danny Lee, 9-6, Ernesto Bayaua, 9-6, and Chau, 9-6. Nick Hood devoured Mike Liang, 9-4, Yoko Joe, 9-6, John McDowell, 9-3, and finally Masahiro “Hiro” Nakahara, 9-6. Early upsets included Kevin Nguyen over professional player Shawn Putnam, 9-5, and Andy Jethwa over world champion Rafael Martinez, 9-5. On the one loss side, Putnam staged a comeback with 5 consecutive wins over Rudy Sanchez, 7-2, Eric Hsu, 7-3, Jethwa, 7-3, Bayaua, 7-3, and Nakahara, 7-4. Nguyen eliminated Martinez, 7-5, and in turn was eliminated by McDowell. Winners’ side hot seat action saw Rudder take an early lead over Hood, 4-0. Hood returned fire, but it was too little, too late, as Rudder secured the win, 9-6. Back on the west side, Putnam secured 7th-8th position defeating Nakahara, 7-4, while Chau eliminated McDowell, 7-1. Putnam overcame Chau, 7-1, and Hood, 7-2, to meet Rudder. Chau decimated Rudder both sets, 9-3, 7-1.
Kevin Nguyen had an incredible run in the amateur division defeating Scott White, Jason Bagby, 7-5, Mike Nguyen, 7-3, and Bobby Perez, 7-3. New to the tour, Horacio Cortez defeated K.G. McCormmick, Sonny Bosshamer, 7-4, Wayne Stephens, 7-6, and Chuck Adams, 7-3. On the one loss side, Stephens defeated Masahiro Nakahara, 5-2, and Jeff Corona eliminated Garett Sitz, 5-3. It was Rudy Sanchez over Jeffrey Chen, 5-3, and Abel Laura over Mike Nguyen by the same score. Nakahara defeated Sitz, 5-2, and it was Laura over Chen, 5-3. After suffering his first blow to Nguyen, Perez came out swinging, besting Nakahara, 5-0, and Laura, 5-4.In the hot seat match, Nguyen took down Cortez, 7-3, pairing Cortez and Perez in the next round. Both players fought for every shot until a crucial hill hill mistake cost Perez the set. In the finals, Cortez proved a more-than-worthy opponent, taking the first set from Nguyen, 7-4. After a short break, the players flipped the coin and began the second set. Nguyen did an excellent job regrouping, as he took the lead, and the final set, 5-3.
This year the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour (www.facebook.com/gulfcoasttour) will stage a women’s 9-ball event at each Lone Star Tour stop. There were 22 ladies competing in Saturday’s 9-ball event, with Ricki Casper emerging undefeated with a final 7-2 win over 2014 Gulf Coast Tour Champion, Belinda Lee. For more information, visit www.gulfcoasttour.wordpress.com.
The next event will be March 7-8 at the all-new Bogies Billiards West located at 9638 Jones Rd., Houston, Texas.
1st Manny Chau $440/$500
2nd Chase Rudder $290/360
3rd Nick Hood $205/$230
4th Shawn Putnam $145/$140
5th-6th Masahiro Nakahara, John McDowell $65 ea.
7th-8th Ernesto Bayaua, Kevin Nguyen $45 ea.
1st Kevin Nguyen $400/$400
2nd Horacio Cortez $260/$260
3rd Bobby Perez $180/$130
4th Abel Laura $120
5th-6th Masahiro Nakahara, Chuck Adams $65 ea.
7th-8th Garett Sitz, Jeffrey Chen $45 ea.
9th-12th Wayne Stephens, Jeff Corona, Rudy Sanchez, Mike Nguyen $25 ea.