Flores, Pritchett & Wong win Predator events in week prior to Predator Tour Championships

Sometimes, even the tiniest crack in what looks like an impregnable concrete wall can lead to the destruction of the entire wall. Think of a crack in a dam, that spreads with the pressure of a wall of water behind it, finally bringing the whole dam down. On the weekend of November 20-21, a week before its Tour Championships, the Predator Pro Am Tour held its final tour stop, which set a tour precedent by becoming the first event in the tour’s history at which all three events (main, Second and Third Chance) were won by a woman.

A tiny crack in the seemingly impregnable wall of separation between men and women pool players? Or just an isolated event on a random regional tour stop that no one will remember in a week? We shall see.

Although 2017 has been Rhio Anne (Annie) Flores’ best recorded earnings year, to date, her undefeated run at the $1,000-added main event of the Predator Pro Am Tour stop this past weekend, which drew 73 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, was her first tour victory of the year and her first on any tour/event in over three years. She was runner-up at a Tri-State event in May, placed third (with Vivian Villareal) at the 2017 Super Billiards Expo Women’s Championship in March, and has placed among the top 10 in all but one of the events in which she’s competed and cashed this year (she was 17th at the 7th Annual Ginky Memorial).

To go along with Flores’ victory, Debra Pritchett chalked up a win in the 16-entrant Second Chance event, defeating Justin Muller 11-4 in the finals. In the Third Chance event, which drew 12 entrants, Suzzie Wong downed Max Watanabe, double hill, in the finals to complete the unprecedented trio of women winners at a single stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour.

Flores faced separate opponents in the hot seat match and finals of the main event. She downed Gary O’Callaghan, double hill, to get into the hot seat match against Jose Kuilan, who’d defeated Junior Singh 7-1. Flores claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Kuilan and waited on what turned out to be the return of Singh.

On the loss side, Singh picked up Matthias Gutzmann, who’d defeated Keith Jawahir 7-5 and Bianca Martinez 6-3 to reach him. Martinez had lost in the opening round of play and won eight on the loss side, before Gutzmann ended her run. O’Callaghan drew Jimmy Acosta, who’d eliminated Elvis Rodriguez 7-5 and Raphael Dabreo 8-6.

Singh and O’Callaghan advanced to face each other in the quarterfinals; Singh 7-5 over Gutzmann and O’Callaghan 8-2 over Acosta. Singh and O’Callaghan fought to a deciding 17th game in the quarterfinal, and it was O’Callaghan who took aim at the last 9-ball. He missed the shot, and Singh advanced to the semifinals, where he defeated Kuilan 7-5.

As he’d done in the quarterfinals against O’Callaghan, Singh battled Flores in the finals to double hill. Flores, though, took the final game and claimed the event title.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Capelle Billiards Press, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine. The final event of the 2017 Predator Pro Am Tour season will be the annual Tour Championships, open to anyone who’s competed in at least five events throughout the season, with entry discounts available for competitors with larger numbers of appearances on the tour. The estimated $10,000-added event, scheduled for December 2-3, will be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY, and will also feature two $250-added Second Chance events for the upper and lower brackets.

The event will also name tour Player of the Year in nine separate divisions, including Female Player of the Year, who is likely to be Annie Flores, whose victory this past weekend moved her ahead of Amy Yu. The Tour Championships will be streamed live with commentary by Upstate AL throughout the weekend.

Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards

 
L-R Jose Kuilan (3rd), Annie Flores (1st) and Junior Singh (2nd)
L-R Justin Muller (2nd) and Debra Pritchett (1st)
L-R Max Watanabe (2nd) and Suzzie Wong (1st)
Complete Payouts
1 USA FLORES Annie 1,400
2 SINGH Junior 950
3 KUILAN Jose 600
4 USA O'CALLAGHAN Gary 400
5 ACOSTA Jimmy 250
5 USA GUTZMANN Matthias 250
7 MARTINEZ Bianca 200
7 USA DABREO Raphael 200
9 USA LABOY Miguel 150
9 USA RODRIGUEZ Elvis 150
9 JAWAHIR Keith 150
9 USA MELENDEZ Juan 150
13 USA BERNARDO Ron 100
13 USA RAMIREZ Lidio 100
13 USA BISRAM Kris 100
13 USA LAM Duc 100
2nd Chance Finishers
1 Debra Pritchett $160
2 Justin Muller $100
3rd Chance Finishers
1 Suzzie Wong $130
2 Max Watanabe $70
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