U.S. Amateur Billiards Champions Crowned
Winner of Men’s and Women’s Divisions Advance to ‘09 Pro Event
LAKE SAINT LOUIS, MO (December 3, 2008) — The top amateur players in the country came to Mr. Cues II in Atlanta in early November to compete for the coveted U.S. Amateur Champion title.
Amy Chen of Norcross, Ga., is the 2008 U.S. Amateur Women’s Champion after defeating Rhio Anne Flores of Jersey City, N.J. Chen went undefeated in her first U.S. Amateur Championship appearance, defeating Flores in the finals 9-5.
The finals featured a see-saw battle at the outset in the 8-Ball set. Flores got on the board first, with Chen taking the next two games. Flores followed by winning consecutive games herself. Chen closed out the 8-Ball set with a win and the score tied at 3 games apiece.
In the 9-Ball set the two players again traded wins before Chen went on a run that saw her win three consecutive games. Now trailing by three games, Flores won the sixth game, but it was all Chen from there. She took the next two games for a 9-5 win.
“I’m comfortable with this venue because I play here all the time,” said Chen of playing the tournament at Mr. Cues II. “At the same time, I felt really nervous because there were a lot of people here and I’m not use to people watching me play,” said Chen.
Chen wins an all expenses paid trip and a spot in the 2008 WPBA Classic Tour event.
Travis Gunn of Hewitt, Texas, is the 2008 U.S. Amateur Champion in the Men’s Division after going undefeated throughout the 3-day tournament in Atlanta. Gunn capped off his outstanding performance with an 11-7 victory over Chris Walls of High Springs, Fla.
In the finals, Gunn jumped out to an impressive 7-0 lead in the 9-Ball set before Walls mounted a nearly monumental comeback. Walls took the next six games of 9-Ball and trailed by only two games as the players switched to 8-Ball.
In the 8-Ball set, Walls took the first game to pull within one. Gunn, however, finally regained the momentum and took the next four games to secure an 11-7 win and the title.
“When I got ahead 7-0, it seemed like I started missing 9-balls left and right. He was starting to get back in the match, and I was giving him all the confidence in the world. I don’t care much for 8-Ball, but I was praying to get to the 8-Ball set because I kept missing on the 9-ball [during the 9-Ball set],” said Gunn after the match.
Gunn wins an all expenses paid trip and a spot in the 2009 U.S. Open Men’s pro tournament.
The 2008 U.S. Amateur Championship, produced and conducted by the American Poolplayers Association (APA), was held at Mr. Cues II in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 7-9. Preliminary qualifying rounds were held throughout the country in mid-Sept., with more than 1,500 players attempting to qualify.
Chen and Gunn competed with the nation’s most highly skilled amateur players who were all vying for the U.S. Amateur title. The Men’s Division consisted of 128 players, while the Women’s Division featured 25 players. As Champions, Chen and Gunn will return next year to defend their coveted titles.
Both Flores and Walls finished as the Runners-up. Finishing in 3rd Place in the Men’s Division was Brian Parks of Bakersfield, Calif. In 4th Place was Jason Richko of Trinity, Fla. Tying for 5th Place in the Men’s Division are Carl Gay of North Augusta, Ga., and Robert Hall of Huntsville, Ala. Betty Sessions of Conyers, Ga, .rounded out the top finishers in the Women’s Division with a 3rd Place finish.
The U.S. Amateur Championship is a double elimination tournament that offers the nation’s top amateur players the opportunity to showcase their skills through a combination of 8-Ball and 9-Ball matches, in the only APA event that does not use The Equalizer® handicap system.
The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League throughout the United States, and as the Canadian Pool League in Canada. More than 260,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9Ball league play. The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.
The APA produces three major tournaments each year—the APA National Team Championships, the APA National Singles Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out nearly $1.5 Million in cash and prizes annually!
The APA and its championships are sponsored by Cuetec Cues.