Blaze 9-Ball Tour / Drexel Hill, PA
by Skip Maloney
Ed Matushonek held on to survive a hill-hill struggle against Adam Kielar in the finals and capture first place in the season opener of the Blaze 9-Ball Tour the weekend of February 7-8. The $1,000-added event, hosted by Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill, PA, drew a full compliment of 64 entrants.
From among the winners’ side final four, Matushonek locked horns with Lee Holt, defeating him 7-3 to move into the hot seat match versus Joey Testa. Testa, having sent Eddie Abraham west 7-6, moved to join him when Matushonek prevailed to gain the hot seat 7-5.
Kielar, in the meantime, was working his way to the finals from the one-loss side. He got by Shaun Wilkie 6-3 and Scott Freeman 6-2 to face Holt, as Josh Brothers dispatched Matt Krah 6-4 and Bill Ianieri 6-3 to meet Abraham. It was Abraham advancing to the quarterfinals against Kielar, where Kielar moved into the semifinals with a 6-4 win. Kielar survived a hill-hill struggle versus Testa to get a double-elimination shot at Matushonek.
Kielar and Matushonek traded racks back and forth in the finals, with neither getting further out in front than two games. Kielar reached the hill first and Matushonek responded by running the next rack to tie it. Matushonek broke the final rack and scratched. Kielar lined up a 1-9 combination that failed. Matushonek stepped to the table and after sinking five, scratched on the 6 ball. With a second ball in hand opportunity, Kielar made another attempt to line up a combination that would have ended the game and forced a second set. Kielar missed the 6-9 combination, and Matushonek made him pay. He finished out the rack, concluding his undefeated run through the tour’s season opener.
1st Ed Matushonek $1,250
2nd Adam Kielar $650
3rd Joey Testa $450
4th Eddie Abraham $270
5th Lee Holt $200
7th Scott Freeman $150
9th Shaun Wilkie $100
Bill Smith, Jr.
13th Kenny Williams $70