A new format for our GrandMasters made its debut at the 9-Ball Championships - the Chinook Winds Open 10-Ball Championships. While the rest of us played 9-Ball, the GrandMasters played 10-Ball in what Western BCA and Chinook Winds Casino Resort hope to be the first of many such events that will eventually attract the best players in the country. The Men's and Women's Open 10-Ball events were just that, open to anyone with the courage and confidence to go up against our best. When play got underway there were 10 women, including 2 masters and 23 men, including 10 masters and 1 men'sA.
The Women's Division of the 10-Ball Open was comprised of all Western BCA players. Kim Jones (LTD), the runner up last time, played her way to the point, sending Liz Cole (NPL), Andrena Browne (EV), Andrea Saenz-Maes (NPL) and, in the point match, Suzanne Smith (NPL) to the back side along the way. Andrea made a strong push to get to the final, but had to settle for 3rd ($500) as Suzanne wanted a chance to redeem herself in the final and was not to be denied. The final between Kim and Suzanne started out with Kim breaking game 1 but having to push out. Suzanne stepped up to the table and proceeded to run out. Kim took game 2 (a grinder) and game 3 (early 3-10 combo) to take the early lead (2-1). Suzanne evened the match, taking game 4 (2-2). Kim ended up winning the match and the title Champion, with a score of 7-5 and earning $1,200 in prize money. Suzanne proved herself a worthy opponent her first time competing with the Grand Masters and received $800 for 2nd place.
There were many familiar names and faces in the Men's 10-Ball Open division but there were also some new ones, including players from Canada, Alaska and even Ohio. In the end, it came down to a new name vs a previous champion. Rafael Martinez (LTD), new (to Western BCA events) and former GM Champ, Stan Tourangeau (LTD) met twice on the way to the title. They met first in the point match, Rafael won that one. Stan then sent Eddie Mataya (NPL) home in 3rd place ($1000) and went on to the final. There is not a lot to say about the final. Rafael made short work of Stan (2nd place, $1475), taking the match (9-2) and the 1st place prize ($2500) in roughly 45 minutes. Raphael shoots very quickly and efficiently and did not give Stan many chances at the table. Watching Raphael was a real treat to the pool players; his focus and remarkable skill.