Lone Star Tour Finale
After a 47-year retirement from pool, 72 year-old Houstonian Jeff Sparks captured his first tournament win since 1972. Sparks went undefeated in the Lone Star Billiard Tour’s 52-player amateur 9-ball division, overcoming Deer Park’s Bobby Pacheco in the final set, 7-6, becoming the oldest player to ever win the amateur division. Pacheco also fought his way through the elite, 44-player open 9-ball division, defeating John McDowell in the finals, 9-3. This was Pacheco’s second, consecutive win on tour, with an amateur division win in July, and now this month’s open division. Congratulations to Bobby Pacheco who will advance to “open” player status in 2016! Kevin Nguyen and Chase Rudder were crowned the 2015 Lone Star Tour Champions, amateur and open divisions, respectively, for their year-end, number one rankings. These players will join the multitude of title-holders in the Lone Star Tour archives, documenting division and tour champions since 2009.
On October 10th-11th, 2015, Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, along with tour sponsors Poison by Predator Cues www.poisonbilliards.com, Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, Ozone Billiards www.ozonebilliards.com, and the APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, facilitated another successful Lone Star Billiards Tour event in addition to a women’s Gulf Coast Tour side-by-side 9-ball event, for players all across Texas and surrounding states, with a generous $1,500 added which drew 96 players and paid out over $9,000 in prize money.
In the amateur 9-ball division, all eyes were on Jeff Sparks, the super-senior pool veteran who came out of retirement to compete in the grueling, 2-day event; the ultimate test in player resolve and stamina. Sparks went undefeated, archiving wins over Will Felder, 7-3, Jack Cavalier, 7-2, Gabriel Romo, 7-5, and Kenneth Price, 7-3. The number one ranked amateur player and strong contender for the 2015 Lone Star Tour Champion title, Kevin Nguyen, kept his eye on the prize, logging wins over Logan Tunnell, 7-1, Tom Welch, 7-6, Chuck Adams, 7-6, Jesse Langston, 7-3, and Bobby Pacheco, 7-3. On the one loss side, after a first round loss to Jonathan Poon, 7-2, Mike White won an impressive five consecutive matches, with victories over Chance Allison, 5-3, Charlie Jenkins, 5-1, Ron Wrobleski, 5-2, Jack Cavalier, 5-2, and Bob Eaton, 5-0, before falling to Langston, 5-4. Welch also blazed through the one loss side, eliminating Keith Keithley, 5-0, Greg Trent, 5-3, Jonathan Poon, 7-0, and Curt Bovenzi, 5-4, before falling to David Chow, 5-1. Lassek ousted Erick Renteria, 5-2, while Romo eliminated Chuck Adams, 5-3. Langston and Lassek overcame Chow and Romo, respectively, by the same score, 5-2. In the next round, Langston found himself on the receiving end, losing to Price, 5-1, as did Lassek, who succumbed to Pacheco, 5-1. The one loss side was down to its final, two players, as Sparks and Nguyen geared up on the west side for a hot seat showdown. In the end, it was age over youth, as Sparks secured the hot seat over Nguyen, 7-4. Pacheco took care of business on the east side, as he finished off Price, 5-1, and dealt payback to Nguyen, 5-4. In the true, double elimination format, Pacheco would have to beat Sparks two sets; the first race to 7, and the second race to 5. Unfortunately for Pacheco, that didn’t happen. Sparks narrowly escaped Pacheco in the first set, 7-6.
Open 9-ball division action witnessed Pacheco defeat Gabriel Romo, 9-4, Will Felder, 9-0, Steve Williams, 9-1, and Erik Renteria, 9-4. Ernesto Bayaua made a strong bid for the hot seat as well with wins over Chuck Adams, 9-1, Lester Foy, 9-4, John Newsome, 9-6, and John McDowell, 9-6. Following a second round loss to tour newcomer, John Lassek, 9-5, Chase Rudder came back to win four consecutive matches until he was eliminated by John Newsome, 7-6. After suffering a 9-3 loss to McDowell in the third round, Lassek went on to eliminate Charlie Jenkins, 7-4, Sonny Bosshamer, 7-5, Steve Williams, 7-4, and Cesar Arechiga, 7-5, until he was ousted once again by McDowell, 7-4. Following a tough battle with Rudder, Newsome overcame Kenneth Price, 7-1, but was eliminated by Erik Renteria, 7-3. While McDowell and Renteria teed off on the one loss side, it was a battle to the finish for Bayaua and Pacheco. Pacheco slid past Bayaua for the hot seat victory, 9-8, while McDowell made quick work of Renteria, 7-2. McDowell went on to eliminate Bayaua, 7-6, setting the stage for a first-time match-up between McDowell and Pacheco. The finalists appeared fresh and full of energy as play commenced. Throughout the set, Pacheco’s ever-increasing momentum overwhelmed McDowell, who found it difficult to gain the least bit of ground. Pacheco captured the first set of the true, double elimination final, 9-3.
New at this event were “live” online brackets, making it possible for players to follow tournament progress on their mobile devices. “The Lone Star Billiards Tour looks forward to implementing new programs for 2016 aimed at increased visibility and value for our venues, sponsors, and players. Online brackets will be accessible through LoneStarBilliardsTour.com, however, we will still use paper charts on-site for our not-so-tech-savvy players and fans” says LSBT founder and tour director, Kimberly Newsome.
The Lone Star Tour would like to acknowledge, and thank, its 2015 venues, sponsors, and supporters: Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, Bogies West, Skinny Bob’s Billiards, Ariana’s, Poison by Predator Cues, Delta-13 Rack, APA of North Harris County, Ozone Billiards, Derrell Montgomery, Chuck Adams, John Newsome, Roger Allen Cue Repair, James Hanshew Cue Repair, Walter Kelley Cue Repair, and Bobby Garcia at RE Visual Concepts who captured some spectacular action shots during the finale. Special thanks to Teresa Garland and Ricki Casper for assisting with the online brackets and raffle ticket distribution for the Poison “players only” free raffle. Congratulations to Lone Star Player John Lassek who took home a brand new Poison Jump Cue, just for participating in the event!
The next event big event on the Texas tournament calendar will be the Space City Open IV, December 3rd-6th, 2015, held at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, 3040 FM 1960 E., Ste. 101, Houston, Texas, 77073. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/SpaceCityOpen or email SpaceCityEvent@gmail.com. Space City live streaming will be featured at www.SpaceCityOpen.com.
The Lone Star Billiards Tour would like to thank all of the players who participated this year, and encourage everyone who loves to play pool and compete in a friendly atmosphere, to attend a Lone Star Billiards Tour Event. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.LoneStarBilliardsTour.com. Please “Like” us at www.Facebook.com/LoneStarTour and “Follow” us at www.Twitter.com/LoneStarTour09.
-Lone Star Staff
1 Bobby Pacheco $500/$900
2 John McDowell $300/$660
3 Ernesto Bayaua $220/$420
4 Erick Renteria $150/$180
5-6 John Lassek, John Newsome $70/$120
7-8 Cesar Arechiga, Kenneth Price $50 ea
9-12 Chase Rudder, JJ Manley, Steve Williams, Will Felder $35 ea
1 Jeff Sparks $520/$900
2 Bobby Pacheco $340/$660
3 Kevin Nguyen $240/$420
4 Kenneth Price $150/$180
5-6 Jesse Langston, John Lassek $70/$120
7-8 David Chow, Gabriel Romo $50
9-12 Mike White, Tom Welch, Erik Renteria, Chuck Adams $25
Espinosa and Sanders
Break Out on Lone Star Tour
Round Rock’s own Justin Espinosa (above) came close to achieving something only one other amateur division pool player in the history of the Lone Star Tour has ever achieved; winning both divisions at the same event. Espinosa emerged victorious in the amateur 9-ball division, closing out an overtime set against Jimmy Krone, 4-1, while Brian Sanders came from behind to defeat the young Espinosa two sets in the open 9-ball division final, 7-4, 5-4. These were first-time wins for both competitors at the Lone Star Tour 6th Annual 9-Ball Event and Texas Open Warm-Up, held at Skinny Bob’s Billiards, August 22nd-23rd, 2015, which included a Gulf Coast Tour ladies 9-ball event, and drew more than 90 players, breaking the room’s own 2013-14 tour attendance records and paying out close to $7,000 in prize money.
The hospitable and ever-so-gracious Skinny Bob’s Billiards, home of the prestigious and longest-running billiard event in Texas, the “Texas Open”, along with tour presenter Poison by Predator Cues www.poisonbilliards.com, and sponsors Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, Ozone Billiards www.ozonebilliards.com, and the APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, facilitated another monster event for Round Rock, Texas, whose pool community seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Bob’s added a very generous $1,000 to the Lone Star Event and $435 to the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour 9-Ball event, held on Sunday. Owners John and Sue Cielo couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout, and the great Poison products they received in lieu of their generosity. This is the sixth year Skinny Bob’s has hosted the Lone Star Tour, and Mr. Cielo had this to say about the long-standing relationship. “It's been a pleasure hosting the Lone Star and Gulf Coast Tours every year. Being in such close proximity to the historic Texas Open 9-Ball Championships has given those pool players the opportunity to test their latest skills on the very equipment they'll be competing on again, come Labor Day Weekend. Coupled with Kim's professionalism in managing the tournaments, this has proven to become a treasured partnership where we look forward to these events at Skinny Bob's Billiards every single year.” As if being the premier pool spot for Round Rock, Austin, and surrounding areas, wasn’t enough, Skinny Bob’s has taken it a step further, opening “Skinny Bob's II”, a smoke-free pool room next door, with video poker, a flat screen TV, and eight new Diamond bar tables. The addition is open for business, hosting weekly league and tournament play. The Lone Star Tour encourages everyone to “Stop in!”
There were 93 players in attendance and 128 division entries competing in the two-day event which included a women's 9-ball division drawing 29 players on Sunday. In the amateur 9-ball division, Justin Espinosa fought his way through an elite, 59-player field, besting David Escobedo, 5-2, Troy Reed, 5-2, John Palmore, 5-4, and Mark Cardenas, 5-0, while sleeper Jimmy Krone took out Matt Bickers, 5-2, Jacob Pena, 5-3, John Wright, 5-1, and Chad Henson, 5-1. Action was abundant on the one-loss side, as Lufkin’s Ralph Foy eliminated Pena, 4-1, Steve Kilgore overcame Jose De La Rosa, 4-2, Gerald Holland forged past Escobedo, and Matt Verenski ousted Drew McCoy. Foy went on to defeat Matt Wong, 4-1, and Wright bested Kilgore, 4-2. John Eagle squeezed by Holland, 4-3, and Verenski blew past Palmore, 4-2. At this point, there was no clear front runner on the consolation side. Veteran player Wright was undoubtedly the contender to beat in the top bracket, plowing through Foy, 4-1, and besting Cardenas, 4-3, while Eagle sent Verenski packing, 4-1, only to succumb to Henson by the same score. On the winners’ side, Espinosa handily defeated Krone for the hot seat, 5-3, while Henson’s luck ran out on the one-loss side, losing to Wright, 4-2. Wright’s momentum was impressive, but it was no match for Krone’s determination. Krone ended his run, 4-2. The final match between Espinosa and Krone was a fight to the bitter end. Krone commanded the first set, slaughtering Espinosa, 5-1. Thereafter, a gloom lingered and it was uncertain if Espinosa would recover, but in true champion form, Espinosa came back to win the second set, 4-1. It was a hard-fought final by both competitors. Congratulations to Justin Espinosa on his first Lone Star Tour title!
The open 9-ball division boasted a 40-player, star-studded cast including the usual suspects, David “Lil D” Henson, Brian Sanders, James “Bastrop” Davis, Sr., and the 2014 defending champion, James “Junior” Davis, Jr. Due to the time constraints presented by three divisions playing simultaneously, the open division races were shortened on Sunday to 7 and 5. Open division action witnessed Espinosa and Sanders tear through their brackets. The young Espinosa took down Travis Phelps, 8-2, James Sanders, 8-5, James Dugger, 8-3, and Mickey Verenski, 7-5, while Sanders handily defeated Jeff Reamer, 8-4, Mauricio Chairez, 8-6, David Escobedo, 8-1, and David Henson, 7-4. After suffering an 8-3 loss to Henson in the winners’ side fourth round, Davis, Jr. ousted John Wright and Verenski by the same score, 5-3, while Davis, Sr. eliminated Victor Belmares, 5-4, and Henson, 5-1. In true, competitive spirit, father and son faced off, while Espinosa and Sanders kicked off the hot seat match. Sanders fell short, losing to Espinosa, 7-5, while Davis, Jr. overcame Davis, Sr., 5-3. Junior gave it his best shot, but Sanders was focused on an Espinosa rematch. He eliminated the defender, 5-1, and entered the final round. Espinosa appeared lackadaisical in the first set while Sanders seemed supercharged and read to annihilate. Playing strong and steady, Sanders took the first set, 7-4, but Justin wasn’t quite finished. After a short recess, the players came back and took it to the hill. Sanders closed out the final set, 5-4, to win his first open division title. Congratulations to Brian Sanders on his first Lone Star Tour title!
Many thanks to the entire staff at Skinny Bob’s for hosting another first-rate event, and Adam Cooper and Tangela Hunt for assisting with tournament duties. The Poison cue raffle was held on Saturday, and local event participants James Sanders and Matt Bickers took home Poison AR4 and VX playing cues, respectively, compliments of Poison Billiards.
The Tour would like to encourage everyone who loves to play pool and compete in a friendly atmosphere, to attend a Lone Star Tour event. The next stop is October 10th-11th, at Bogies Billiards & Sports Bar (3040 FM 1960) in Houston, Texas, and hosts a Gulf Coast Tour side-by-side event on Saturday, October 10th. On September 12th-13th, the Gulf Coast Tour will stage its first $1,000 added, stand-alone women’s 10-ball event and WPBA Masters Qualifier, also hosted by Bogies Billiards & Sports Bar, players’ meeting beginning at 11:00a.m. The famed Space City Open IV will be held December 3rd-6th, 2015, also hosted by Bogies. To download the event flyer and pre-register for open 9-ball, one-pocket, 9-ball banks, and ladies 9-ball, visit www.LoneStarBilliardsTour.com and pay via the PayPal box on the home page.
The WPBA sanctioned Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour and the Space City Open are sister companies of the Lone Star Billiards Tour (est. 2009). For information about event hosting and sponsorship, please contact Kimberly Newsome at 713.825.1411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lone Star Staff
Lone Star Staff
1 Brian Sanders $550/$620
2 Justin Espinosa $390/$410
3 James Davis, Jr. $210/$200
4 James Davis, Sr. $90/$90
5/6 Mickey Verenski, David Henson $45 ea
7/8 John Wright, Victor Belmares $35 ea
1 Justin Espinosa $620/$500
2 Jimmy Krone $450/$375
3 John Wright $260/$125
4 Chad Henson $140/$80
5/6 John Eagle, Mark Cardenas $60/$60 ea
7/8 Mickey Verenski, Ralph Foy $45 ea
9/12 John Palmore, Gerald Holland, Matt Wong, Steve Kilgore $25 ea