Rodriguez Rakes in First Place
Predator 9-Ball Tour / Queens, NY
Nearly 40 players came out to Master Billiards in Queens, NY, the weekend of July 26-27 to vie for first place on the Predator 9-Ball Tour. Big names included Mika Immonen, Shaun Wilkie, Shin Park, Mike Fingers, Bobby Blackmore, and Tony Robles, with Jorge Rodriguez going home with top honors.
On Sunday, the top six were brought back to fight for first place. Shin Park faced Mhet Vergara in the semifinals, where he took a huge 7-0 lead before Vergara caught a gear to earn five racks in a row. Vergara couldn’t go any further and fell to Park 9-5. Rodriguez just had all the right moves in his match with Shaun “Get Some” Wilkie and earned the 9-6 win. Vergara seemed to keep that gear moving in his next match against Immonen, taking a stunning 5-1 lead over “Iceman,” but Immonen came back strong and tied the match 7-7. The battle ensued and a missed opportunity by Vergara let Immonen squeak out the win 9-8.Wilkie seemed to be having an off day in his match against Robles. Though Wilkie took a 3-0 lead at the beginning of the match and had some spectacular shots, a few out-of-position cue balls let Robles escape with the 9-7 win to face Immonen.
The quarterfinal match started out with Robles coming on strong, taking a commanding 5-0 lead over Immonen. But Robles seemed to lose focus and missed four kill-zone shots to allow Immonen the next seven racks in a row. Robles regrouped and took control to earn the next two racks, and then they traded the next two to make it 8-8. An empty break by Robles gave Immoen his opportunity—he ran through the rack but under-stroked the 6 ball, leaving him virtually tied up with the 7. A disappointed Immonen tried his best to cut it into the corner but missed, allowing Robles to close the set 9-8.
For the hot seat, Park took a commanding 6-2 lead over Rodriguez, and though Rodriguez came with some great shots to try and close the gap, it was too big a lead for Park to lose, and Rodriguez fell to Park 9-2 and prepared to battle Robles on the one-loss side
On a mission, Rodriguez took a huge 5-0 lead over “The Silent Assassin” early in the match. But Robles regained momentum and closed the gap to 8-7 Rodriguez. Another dry break by Robles in the next gave Rodriguez the advantage, and he ran through to the 6 ball, only to have it skid and miss the corner pocket. Robles scratched on the super-thin cut left for him, allowing Rodriguez the 9-7 win.
1st Jorge Rodriguez
2nd Shin Park
3rd Tony Robles
4th Mika Immonen
5th/6th Shaun Wilkie
7th/8th Joey Kong