Bobby McGrath Wins 2008 International Speed Pool Challenge
Bobby McGrath defeated Dave Pearson for the International Speed Pool Challenge crown and the $40,000 winner-takes-all purse. ESPN Zone Las Vegas was host to the October 1 event, which was taped for three 1-hour telecasts on ESPN and the first ever to be broadcast in high definition.
The third annual event drew an international lineup battling for the hefty first-place prize. The action in speed pool is fast and furious with two sets, twelve racks in each set, the first set straight pool and the second set 8-ball. Players routinely run racks of fifteen balls in about one minute, and the player with the lowest accumulated time for twelve racks wins the match.
For the second year in a row, McGrath and Pearson emerged from the pack as the top guns. In the championship match, McGrath, the defending champion, overcame Pearson by scores of 6:43 / 7:29 minutes the first set and 8:45 / 9:14 minutes the second set to capture the title and $40,000. In semifinal action, McGarth zipped past Nick Nikolaidis of Canada 7:14 / 7:19 in the first set and 9:29 / 11:09 in the second set. The other semifinal saw Pearson zap Tan Chin Seng of Malaysia in straight sets 6:42 / 8:35 and 9:12 / 10:39. McGrath displayed blinding speed to defeat Pearson, who holds several speed pool records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Even then, it went to the last rack of the second set to decide the championship match.
The standing-room-only crowd gave Bobby McGrath a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the final match. The winners check was presented by Blaine Martin of Connelly Billiards and Ivan Lee of Simonis Cloth. The presentation brought another round of cheers from the audience.
In addition to the fine tournament site at ESPN Zone at the New York New York Hotel & Casino, the event was sponsored by Connelly Billiards, Aramith Super Pro Balls, Simonis Cloth, L.E.A.N.I. Italian Slate, AcCue Shot Target Practice Device, Executive Billiards Delta-13 Rack, and Silver Cup Chalk. The event was produced by Billiards International, Ltd.