Strong resumes have been proven worthless on the Stan James Canadian Nine Ball Tour. Former World and US Open Champion Alex Pagulayan could manage no better than 5th place as he fell first to Edwin Montal (9-7) and then was cast aside easily by Paul Potier (9-3). Current Canadian National Champion Brady Gollan could fare no better. He also wound up in the tie for fifth place when he was bested by John Horsfall (9-8) and then by Jeff Kennedy (9-6).
Jeff Kennedy, by claiming fourth place here, maintains his strong tour points position, although now in second place narrowly behind winner Edwin Montal, and had yet another fine tournament. When he beat Brady Gollan he was at the tail end of a fine display that included victories over Dave Martin (9-6), Gary Hauck (9-5) and Phil Tourangeau (9-6).
Paul Potier, who will become a father any day now, showed a lot of power in Kelowna. After being sent to the one-loss side by John Horsfall (9-6) in a match that he described as a ‘nightmare’ (“It was one of those matches were nothing went right for me and everything worked for the other guy”) he came into Sunday with a firm resolve and put in a good day’s work. He put down Mike Vidas (9-8) and then steamrolled Raymond Cruz (9-1) before ending Pagulayan’s road. His next opponent was current tour points leader Jeff Kennedy and Potier put on another exhibition in that match, taking it home with a 9-2 score line.
John Horsfall, a former mainstay on the Canadian billiard scene who has been pursuing other interests of late, also made a fine statement this weekend. Drawn into one of the more difficult areas of the brackets, Horsfall took down, among others, Potier (9-4), Jeff Kennedy (9-7), and Brady Gollan (9-8) before moving undefeated into his match with last year’s tour champion Edwin Montal. It was then that things began to unravel for Horsfall. He lost hill-hill to Montal and then experienced the same fate, losing by one game, in his rematch with Paul Potier in the Semi-finals in a match that saw Potier come back from 4-0 down to take the match 9-8.
Montal, who had been pegged as the underdog in his match against Alex Pagulayan, never trailed in that match and took his usual low-key attitude into the arena for his match against John Horsfall to determine who would occupy the hot seat and enjoy a ticket to the finals. His no-sweat attitude won the day in a marvelous match against Horsfall that came down to a single rack that appeared to be going the way of Horsfall until he became snookered on the five ball. When he missed the kick Montal easily swept the remaining balls and rested as Horsfall prepared to take on the hot stick of Potier. When Potier won against Horsfall our final was set. Paul Potier versus Edwin Montal for the title.
The finals, a race to eleven games, started off as a very close match but soon Montal began to edge ahead. At 9-7 Potier regained control of the table and took the rack home to draw within one. He took the next rack as well and the match was tied at nine games apiece with a maximum of only three games left to determine our winner. Potier’s break came up dry, but Montal scratched on the two ball and Potier used the ball in hand opportunity to run out the rack and gain the hill. However, his next break also failed him and Montal once again came to the table. This time it was Montal who took the reins and joined Potier on the hill with a six-nine combination. Montal made the five ball on the break but missed the one ball in the side and brought Potier back to the table. Potier had no shot and tried to play safe but left the one ball available. Montal grabbed this lifeline and pulled himself home to take the title 11-10.
The Stan James staff wishes to thank Breakers Billiards and Bistro for the use of their venue as well as sponsors Stan James Bookmakers (www.stanjames.com), Canada Billiard and Bowling, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls.
1) Edwin Montal $3,000
2) Paul Potier $2,000
3) John Horsfall $1,500
4) Jeff Kennedy $1,000
5-6) Alex Pagulayan, Brady Gollan $ 750
7-8) Raymond Cruz, Dave Martin $ 500
9-12) Mike Vidas, Craig Kerry, $ 250
Gary Hauck, Dave Martin