The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour hosted an independent pool tournament for women, the first of its kind in Texas. Players were guaranteed six or seven matches in round robin stages, before they could be eliminated. The regional tour competition extended invites to Gulf Coast Tour players and a number of other regional tour players from the U.S. and Canada. The four-day, women-only 9-ball event, paid out $15,280, thanks to a culmination of players and sponsors, including Vapor Fiend, Cyclop Pool Balls, Poison Billiards, APA of North Harris County, Outsville Billiards, Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas, and the Gulf Coast Tour. The Tour would also like to thank Manuel Martinez of Zen Pool Studios, and sponsor Jon Lear, for providing a four-day live stream, at no cost to at-home viewers.
On October 31st, 2019, the first Gulf Coast Tour Invitational commenced, drawing 58 competitors from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The first two days of the event featured eight groups of round robin competition, races to five; eight players in two groups, and seven players in six groups. Player advancement from each group was based on match wins, game wins, game losses, then head to head, in that order. Gulf Coast Tour players were seeded into the groups based on their 2019 Tour performance. On Friday evening, at the conclusion of round robin play, the top four players from each group advanced, with the top 16 seeded into a 32-player, double elimination board, based on their round robin performance. The event paid 50% of the field, and all 32 competitors surviving the round robin stage, received a payday.
In group one, Ming “The Empress” Ng of Houston, Texas, suffered only one match loss to San Antonio’s Angela Garza, 5-2. The next best record was Houston’s Terry “The Terrorizer” Petrosino, with five match wins. Tam Trinh of Austin and Dallas’ Amanda Honaker also advanced with four wins each. In group two, Ellen Robinson emerged on top with six match wins, 34 games won, and only 12 games lost, while Angie Payne finished number two in the group, tying with Robinson on matches and games, but suffering more losses. San Antonio’s Naomi Garcia and Weatherford’s Chris Fields, tied with five matches each, also advanced from group two.
In group three, Kelly Jones of Mobile, Alabama and Ricki Casper of Dallas achieved perfect scores, with six match wins each. Jones suffered fewer games losses making her the top finisher in her group, while Casper settled into the number two spot. Sara Bork of Houston finished third, with five match wins, and although each player amassed four victories, Dallas’ Julie Comitini edged out Gail “Thunder” Roles of College Station, 24 games to Roles’ 23. In group four, Gail “Virginia Slim” Eaton booked the only perfect match score of the event, with seven wins. Pflugerville’s Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce slid into the number two spot with six match wins, while Austin’s Jennifer Kraber made it out with five. Edwidge Cavanna of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was the final player to move out, with four match wins. In group five, Rachel Hurst came out on top with six matches and 34 games won, while Kia Sidbury of Baltimore, Maryland finished second, with six and 30 games won. Austin’s Michelle Abernathy and San Antonio’s Sophia Lopez moved on with four matches each. In group six, Kim Sanders of Austin took the lead with six matches and 34 games won, while Houston’s Natalie Rocha busted out with six matches and 32 games won. Tanya Parsley of Fayetteville, North Carolina and Yvonne Asher of Seabrook moved on, both with four match wins. In group seven, Austin’s Michelle Cortez took the number one spot, with six match wins and 32 games won, while San Antonio’s Kawania Watson booked six matches and 31 game wins. Margaret Fox and Toni “Copperhead” Esteves forged ahead, with five and four matches, respectively. In group eight, Ashley Rice of Atlanta, Georgia and Janeen Lee Gardner of Petal, Mississippi tied with six matches and 34 games. Rice booked 13 losses to Gardner’s 14, making Rice the top seed in the group, with Gardner sliding into number two. Houston’s Kim Reiner advanced with five matches, and the “Princess of Pool”, Teresa Garland, with four match wins.
The top two players in each group were seeded into a 32-player bracket, in order of round robin finish. The remaining 16 players were drawn in randomly. The final stage format was races to seven on both sides, double elimination, with one, final race to nine. The first round began Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m., and ran down to the final eight players for Sunday. On her way to the winners’ side final four, Kim Sanders took out Sara Bork, 7-4, Angie Payne, 7-3, and Janeen Gardner, 7-5, while Ashley Rice tagged Tanya Parsley, 7-3, Ricki Casper, 7-5, and Ellen Robinson, 7-2. Kelly Jones was on a tear, defeating Edwidge Cavanna, 7-3, Yvonne Asher, 7-3, and Jennifer Kraber, 7-2. Rounding out the final four, Ming Ng bested Margaret Fox, 7-1, Terry Petrosino, 7-6, and Michelle Cortez, 7-1. On the one loss side, advancing to the final eight, Robinson eliminated Kia Sidbury, 7-5, while Chris Fields slid by Gardner, 7-6. It was Casper over Cortez, 7-5, and Kraber surpassing Payne, 7-2, rounding out the remaining eight for Sunday. The final day of competition kicked off at 12:00 p.m. On the winners’ side, Rice defeated Sanders, 7-5, and Jones sent Ng west, 7-6, staging a Georgia versus Alabama, hot seat match-up. Rice and Jones traded games, but when the score reached 5-5, Jones shifted gears to win the set, 7-5. On the one loss side, Robinson eliminated Fields, 7-4, but fell to Ng, 7-4, while Kraber ended Casper, 7-3, and Sanders, 7-5. Ng stopped Kraber, 7-5, and took out Rice, 7-3, for a rematch with Jones. In the championship final, Jones was focused, pacing herself for a battle to the finish line. Coming off three match wins, Ng was on a roll, and utilized that momentum. Early in the set, Jones seemed in control, but Ng turned up heat, passing up Jones to win the set, 9-4.
The Tour would like to recognize Gulf Coast Tour Board Member, Ruth Paine, who worked tirelessly with Kim Newsome, to direct the four-day event. Board Members Kim Pierce, Toni Esteves, Ming Ng, and D’Andrea McQuirter, were also on-site to lend support, and Julia Acevedo created beautiful logo stickers for 58 player gift bags and 32 payout envelopes. On Sunday, Kim Pierce produced a Ladies 10-Ball Ring Game, which not only garnered 16 players, but provided a fun outlet for those not competing in the main event. Congratulations to Teresa Garland, Yvonne Asher, and Michelle Cortez who split the winnings. Several ladies left the event, a different kind of winner. Julie Comitini took home a Poison Armor 2×4 cue case and a Predator second skin glove, Diana Cardona scored a Poison VX5 Break Cue, and Pat Thomas won a Poison Cyanide3-1 Playing Cue, in the Invitational raffle.
Finally, Gulf Coast would like to welcome its newest members; Kim Sanders, Jennifer Kraber, Shayla Neris, Autumn Dymale, Christi Oosse, Edwidge Cavanna, Ashley Julian, Ann Phoutphong, Amanda Honaker, Tanya Parsley, Kia Sidbury, Hopey Lawrence, Maria Cardona, Chris Fields, Julie Collins, Ashley Rice, Renee Benton, Rachel Hurst, Lea Ann Fowler, Ricki Casper, and Julie Comitini.
The 2020 Gulf Coast Tour schedule will be out soon. For more information, visit www.GulfCoastWomensTour.com.
Finishes (Payout $15,280)
1st Ming Ng $1,500/$1,500
2nd Kelly Jones $1,150/$1,100
3rd Ashley Rice $900/$740
4th Jennifer Kraber $750/$440
5th-6th Kim Sanders, Ellen Robinson $600/$250
7th-8th Chris Fields/Ricki Casper $450/$100
9th-12th Janeen Gardner, Kia Sidbury, Michelle Cortez, Angie Payne $275
13th-16th Kim Pierce, Gail Eaton, Terry Petrosino, Natalie Rocha $200 ea
17th-24th Teresa Garland, Sophia Lopez, Margaret Fox, Julie Comitini, Yvonne Asher, Tam Trinh, Kawania Watson, Kim Reiner $150 ea
25th-32nd Tanya Parsley, Amanda Honaker, Naomi Garcia, Edwidge Cavanna, Michelle Abernathy, Toni Esteves, Sara Bork, Rachel Hurst $100 ea