Second Annual Chuck Markulis Memorial / Sacramento, CA
by Lea Andrews
Out of a stellar 91-player field, Rafael Martinez emerged undefeated to take first in the Second Annual Chuck Markulis Memorial tournament, held August 15-16 at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA. Chuck Markulis’ son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Karen Markulis, owners of Hard Times, added $2,500 to the tournament pot, while Joe Gonzales added $500 and announced the opening of his room, Hard Times Billiards in Modesto, CA.
Following a 9-7 win over Sacramento’s Jeff Gregory, Martinez met in the hot seat match Jose Parica, who’d squeaked past Santos Sambajon Jr. 9-8. Managing to hold “Amang” to 7 games, Martinez awaited an opponent for the finals.
On the one-loss side, Ernesto Dominguez, whose son Oscar had suffered an early exit at the hands of Sy Nakashima, got past Dale Altajora 7-5 to meet 71-year-old Hard Times legend “Little” Al Romero, who managed to push the match hill-hill. It was Dominguez who marked up the final game, following it up with a hill-hill match against Gregory, but this time coming up short. Meanwhile, Southern California’s Greg Balliet backed up a 7-6 win over Mike Mitchell with a 7-6 win over George Michaels, who was coming off a 7-2 win over young Austin Murphy. Next up for Balliet was Sambajon, but Balliet managed just four games against the Filipino powerhouse, who went on to a 7-5 win over Gregory, earning a rematch with Parica in the semifinals. There he once again took the match hill-hill, but this time, he was the one to get the satisfaction of the final 9 ball, and he was the one with the chance to dethrone Martinez.
But in the true double-elimination final match, Martinez wouldn’t allow Sambajon the chance to take the first set and put them on equal ground. Taking control of the match and not letting go, Martinez secured first place with a strong 9-4 win.
1st Rafael Martinez $2,000
2nd Santos Sambajon, Jr. $1,350
3rd Jose Parica $500
4th Jeff Gregory $400
5th Greg Balliet $300
7th George Michaels $250
9th Austin Murphy $200
13th John Henderson $150
17th Chris MacDonald $100