|MEN'S GRANDMASTER CHALLENGE|
|WOMEN'S GRANDMASTER CHALLENGE|
The Men's Grand Master Challenge introduced a new format (triple elimination) in hopes of giving our elite players a better way to compete with their peers and showcase their talents. Six Grand Masters (Rich Geiler, Dan Louie, Eddie Mataya, Damian Pongpanik, Stan Tourangeau and Don Wirtaman) and four top Masters (Darrold Crain, Marvin Holmes, Steve Linglebach and Paul Marquez) went up against each other to see who would lay claim to the title. Stan made it very clear from the beginning that he was there to win cruising through the no-loss portion of the bracket undefeated. Then he had to wait and see who would emerge to meet him in the final. Darrold, Steve, Paul and Eddie were able to only win one match each before leaving the competition. Damian won three matches and nearly made the cut but ended up one out of the money. Marvin, the one master to cash ($250), played well and made a great showing. Dan Louie, former GM champion, had to settle for 4th place and $400. After losing two matches early on, he won three in a row before being ousted by Don. Crowd favorite Rich Geiler came to play. After a first round loss he settled in and won 5 matches in a row. But that was as far as he would go, earning a 3rd place finish and $625. The finals were set. Don Wirtaman zigzagged his way through the brackets, winning two matches, losing two matches and winning two matches to get to a shot at Stan who sat undefeated on the point. With two losses he would have to make the most of this opportunity. But this was not his day and he would get no farther than 2nd place and the $975 check. Stan Tourangeau, with five straight wins over the three days of the competition, accepted the Champions trophy and a check for $1500 and a new Men's Grand Master Champ was crowned.
The Women's GrandMaster Challenge had a new format. They would play a triple elimination format for a total purse of $3000. In the new Women's Grand Master Division there were 7 Grand Masters (Carissa Biggs, Linda Carter, Liz Cole, Cindy Doty, Kimberly Kirk, Andrea Saenz-Maes and Cindy Sliva) and 1 Master (Karla Bagley-Tias) playing for a 1st place prize of $1000. Play got underway on Wednesday morning with 4 matches and the race was on. Kimberly and Liz got off to the best start, winning their 1st two matches. Karla and Carissa made it tough on themselves by losing their first two matches. Karla won a tough match against Cindy D. before leaving the competition with a loss to Carissa. Carissa fared somewhat better, winning three matches before bowing out. Linda and Cindy D. were only able to win one match apiece before being put out. Andrea fared slightly better, winning two matches before being eliminated. It had by now become evident that the two front runners were Cindy S. and Kimberly with Liz and Carissa trying to keep up with them. Liz and Carissa, both with records of 3 wins and 3 losses, finished in 3rd ($575) and 4th ($375) respectively. Kimberly, the early favorite, had but one major obstacle between her and the top prize and her name was Cindy Sliva. Cindy S., on her way to the Triple Crown (1st place finishes in all events - singles, scotch and teams) was on a mission and would not be denied. Kimberly was her only loss early on (2nd match) and they would meet three more times before it was over with Cindy S. winning all three of these matches. Kimberly graciously accepted her 2nd place check for $850. Cindy S. claimed the 1st place trophy and the $1000 check and will reign as Champion until the next time the Grand Master Women go head to head.