Moore Takes Great Southern 9-Ball TourGreat Southern 9-Ball Tour / Greenville, SC
by Rick Davis
A full 64-player field assembled at Sporty’s in Greenville, SC, for the February 17-18 stop of the Great Southern 9-Ball Tour, where Atlanta’s Steve Moore powered his way back from the one-loss side to take another title in his usual dramatic fashion.
The event included a great cross-section of top male pros, as well as WPBA stars and Hall of Famers. Early action saw Monica Webb defeat Earl “The Pearl” Strickland 9-5, and after Strickland lost his next match he was done for the weekend. His two-and-out showed just how deadly this tour could be.
On the winners’ side everyone was scrambling through the gauntlet. Landon Shuffett, everyone’s favorite young gun, made his way through three rounds until a 9-0 drilling by Varner sent him west. Nearby was Gabe “The Babe” Owen, who found his way to the hot seat match to meet “The Kentucky Colonel.” Once Varner powered his way past Owen 9-3, all eyes looked to Varner as the favorite.
No one on the one-loss side was ready to be counted out yet; however, the sheer level of talent on the board made every win incredible. Leading the board was Moore, recent winner of the Derby City Classic 9-ball banks division, and while he is always a threat anywhere he goes, a long road awaited on the west side. Moore faced and eliminated Jason Klatt, an adversary from the Florida Pro Tour, 7-5. Another pair of wins, including a 7-1 slap to Scott Rabon, and Moore found his way to the quarterfinals.
Josh Roberts chipped away a pair of opponents before falling to Larry “The Truth” Nevel, who had eliminated Shuffett 7-3 in the previous round, along with top WPBA pro Helena Thornfeldt, the round before that. Nevel handed out a doughnut to B. White by virtue of a crushing 7-0 match to face Moore.
Things moved into high gear from there as Moore glided past Nevel 7-4 and then, to the shock of those in attendance, shut out former U.S. Open champion Owen 7-0 to reach the finals. With the true double-elimination format, everyone seemed to think Varner the favorite because of the odds alone, but once Moore took the first set 9-3, it was anyone’s game. With a final race to 7, Moore cocked his game up yet another notch, giving up only two racks as he torched Varner again—this time 7-2—to capture the event.
The Great Southern 9-Ball Tour will visit Randolph’s Billiards next on March 3-4 in Hickory, NC.