Rice Double-Dips Grooms at Buckeye Amateur Event
Great Southern Billiard Tour / Fairfield, OH
by Lea Andrews
What does a Kentucky boy do the weekend of “The Run For The Roses”? If he’s Shannon Daulton, he takes the Great Southern Billiard Tour the farthest north it’s been so far and runs the Buckeye Amateur event, an A/B, $1,500-added tournament held at Michael’s Billiards and Games in Fairfield, Ohio. A total of 43 entrants made their way from as far as North Carolina and Michigan to battle it out for top honors, but it was David Rice who walked away with the $1,000 first prize.
Among the field was 12-year-old B-ranked Billy Thorpe and 14-year-old A-ranked Landon Shuffett, both of whom made it into the top 16 to return for play Sunday. Billy was knocked out by AA-ranked Arlo Walsman, but the seasoned Shuffett made it to the final four on the winners’ side before being sent west by Mike Grooms.
After his 9-6 win over Shuffett, Grooms, who had already bested Chris Hutchinson 9-4, Mark Slye 9-4, and Mark Ritter 9-8, went on to face David Rice in the match for the hot seat. Rice, having had narrow 9-8 victories over Mike Cantrell and Arlo Walsman early in the tournament, arrived in the hot seat match fresh off back-to-back 9-4 wins over Ed Hancock and Chris Bosse. The momentum didn’t quite stay with him, though, and he lost the hill-hill match, leaving him to face a tight-playing Shuffett.
Rice got up 8-5 with strong outs, one 9 ball on the break, and one three-foul, but it looked like Shuffett was poised to stage a comeback when he made it 8-6 with a 3-9 carom and then 8-7 with a 1-9 combination. He literally threw in the towel, though, when Rice got perfect position on his final 9—Rice stood up and shook Shuffett’s hand when the towel landed in front of the shot.
It was time, then, for a rematch with Grooms, and Rice would have to win both sets of the true double-elimination final match to claim first. He took the first set after getting up to a 5-3 lead and increased it from there, closing it out 9-4.
Both players were surely worn out when the second set began at 12:30 a.m., but Rice managed to push past it and jump to an early 4-0 lead. Grooms took the fifth rack to get on the board but couldn’t get anywhere from there. After making a stellar length-of-the-table bank on the 6 and finishing up the rack that put him on the hill, Rice went on to the winner’s circle with a 9-3 victory.
1st David Rice $1,000
2nd Mike Grooms $500
3rd Landon Shuffett $300
4th Mark Ritter $200
5th Chris Bosse $150
7th Ed Hancock $90
9th Mike Cantrell