Tsunami Hits Arizona
Western Women’s Amateur Open
by Samm Diep
The Western Women’s Amateur Open crowned its first champion in Susan Tsunami Williams July 13. The Payson, AZ, tournament took place at the resort-like Mazatzal Hotel Casino while it rained for three consecutive days. The format was 10-ball, race to 9, on Diamond Smart Tables. Of the 21 ladies, only four returned for Sunday matches.
Like a tsunami, former Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour champion Williams tore through the field, leaving no survivors, including escaping a hill-hill battle with former Canadian snooker champion Grace Nakamura. Having previously dodged two hill-hill bullets herself to make it to the semifinals, the petite Nakamura came up a little short this time. Meanwhile, on the B side, current OB Cues Tour champion Heather Lloyd was getting her revenge against Arizona’s star Bernie Store, whom she lost to in the second round. Her relentless safety play would ultimately secure her a spot in the semifinals against Nakamura.
Right out of the gate, Lloyd and Nakamura both started off strong. An unfortunate missed 9 ball for Lloyd left an even score that would’ve been 3-1 in Lloyd’s favor. Like a female equivalent to Alex Pagulayan, Nakamura’s showboating style was more than entertaining for casino spectators. In the end, Lloyd made one too many errors finishing with a deficit of 9-6. The modest Lloyd commented that she was still happy with her performance but could use some more bar table experience.
The first set of the finals brawl between Williams and Nakamura would be no different than their previous match. The first half included three-foul offenses from both players and a 10 ball break from Nakamura, in which she exclaimed, “All eighty pounds of me!” The second half began as a complete scratch-a-thon all the way to 7-7, before Williams worked through a tough rack, banking in the 10 ball to get to the hill first. Keeping with the theme, Nakamura tied the score to 8-8 before taking the first set.
Williams was determined not to see a repeat in the second set. At the end of the day, her smooth stroke and tenacity paid off. She strung together two beautiful runs to get to the hill before Nakamura gave up ball in hand and left a 3-10 combo to close out the match. The final score was 9-3. “Wow,” was all the overjoyed Williams had to say.
1ST Susan Williams
2nd Grace Nakamura
3rd Heather Lloyd
4th Bernie Store
5th Sue Lance
7th Emily Wilmoth
9th Samm Diep