It was a fiery start for Houston’s Ricki Casper who took the 41 player field by storm at the first Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour 9-ball event of 2016. Casper took on the formidable Terry Petrosino in the finals making it an all-out test of wills, and setting the tone for a brand new season on the Gulf Coast Tour.
On January 2, 2016, drawing a season opener, record number of players, the Gulf Coast Tour hosted its first, one-day event of the New Year at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas, and thanks to room owner David Richardson, and tour sponsors Delta-13 Rack and the APA of North Harris County, the Gulf Coast women started the New Year out with a bang! Tour director, Kimberly Newsome, reminisced about their 2015 accomplishments. “Gulf Coast finished on top last year, with the largest WPBA membership, procuring 11 invites to the 2016 WPBA Regional Tour Championships. Membership numbers increased 104% from 2014 to 2015, and I believe it’s a result of the competitive, atmosphere we provide, mixed with a little fun and craziness. It’s a perfect balance that allows players to take their game to the next level, and create friendships along the way. I think this positive “wave” is just another indicator of things to come.”
On the battlefield, 2015 tour champion, Ricki Casper, fought her way through a distinguished field of talent, booking wins over Kay Mikolajczyk, 7-0, Gail Eaton, 7-2, and Yvonne Asher, 7-2, while “Texas Heat” Kim Pierce ousted Liz Mitchel, 7-4, Angie Payne, 7-4, and Sara Bork, 7-3. Former tour champion, Belinda Lee, overcame Mercedes Vasquez, 7-4, Mindy Williams, 7-2, and Stacy Mendrick, 7-2, while Tiffany Waters bested Liz Yorek, 7-4, Yvonne Garcia, 7-5, Teresa Garland, 7-6, and Toni Esteves, 7-3. Casper sent Pierce west, 7-2, and Lee made quick work of Waters, by the same score. Veteran player, Terry Petrosino, lost her second round match to Gail Eaton, 7-2, and secured a string of wins on the west side, eliminating Yorek, 5-1, Mikolajczyk, 5-2, Alicia Huff, 5-0, and Tangela Hunt, 5-1. Other one loss side action saw Garland defeat Asher, Natalie Rocha best Mendrick, 5-3, and Eaton overcome Esteves, 5-2. Petrosino made quick work of Garland, 5-0, and Waters, 5-2, while Eaton eliminated Rocha, 5-1, and Pierce, 5-2. Back on the east side, it was a hot seat duel between former Gulf Coast Tour Champions, Casper and Lee. As Petrosino charged on the west side, taking out Eaton, 5-4, Casper secured the hot seat over Lee, 7-4. When the dust settled, Petrosino had logged an astounding 9 consecutive wins, which included a final win on the one loss side, over Lee, for a shot at the title. Casper and Petrosino teed off in the final, competing for cash and tour points, in a true, double elimination format. Casper was determined to start her year off right, with a clean, undefeated record, and that she did. Petrosino fell to the former champion in the first set, 7-4. The tour would like to thank Teresa Garland for running this event, and all those who assisted.
The Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA), the governing body of women’s professional billiards in the U.S., celebrates its 40th birthday this year! The Gulf Coast Tour is a sanctioned, WPBA Regional Tour, one of 13 regional tours positioned across the U.S. which make up the grass roots system that feeds the WPBA Pro Billiards Tour. Amateur and semi-professional, female players, who aspire to play women’s professional billiards, must qualify through this elite system in order to attain the sought-after title, WPBA Exempt Professional. “The Gulf Coast Tour is proud to be sanctioned by the WPBA, four years running. We qualified Gail Eaton to play in the 2016 Soaring Eagle Masters held at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, MI., February 3-7, 2016, and qualified 11 of our top players for the prestigious, annual, WPBA Regional Tour Championships (RTC). Needless to say, the women of this tour are highly motivated, making progress with their games, and doing it with a positive spirit, and I love it,” raves Newsome. The tour would like to recognize its top, 2016 RTC finishers; Gail Eaton, 3rd, and highest Texas finisher; Kim Pierce, Loretta Lindgren, Elizabeth Mitchel, 17th; Ricki Casper, 25th.
Players, friends, and fans, the next Gulf Coast Tour 9-ball event will be held Saturday, February 27, 2016, at Bogies WEST (9638 Jones Road, Houston). Free practice begins at 10am, and the players’ meeting begins at 11am. There will also be a Lone Star Billiards Tour 9-ball event beginning on Saturday, sign-up 11am-1pm.
For more information about the Gulf Coast Tour, please visit www.GulfCoastWomensTour.com. Follow us on Twitter @gulfcoasttour. Find us on Facebook /gulfcoasttour1.
1st Ricki Casper $420
2nd Terry Petrosino $280
3rd Belinda Lee $190
4th Gail Eaton $130
5th-6th Tiffany Waters, Kim Pierce $60 ea
7th-8th Teresa Garland, Natalie Rocha $40 ea
9th-12th Yvonne Asher, Stacy Mendrick, Toni Esteves, Sara Bork $25 ea