Mullins Mows Down Great Southern Field
Great Southern Billiard Tour / Sanford, NC
by Lea Andrews
Paul Mullins is no stranger to the Great Southern Billiard Tour, but he found himself in uncharted territory when he reached the finals, and he staked his claim when he sunk the final 9 ball. “The Cheetah” sprinted through the strong field of 52 that gathered at Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC, on May 1-2 for the $1,500-added event.
Mullins edged out fellow B player Glen Smith to reach the hot seat match against AA-ranked Jeff Abernathy, who’d breezed by Mike Hagood 11-2. A strong 7-6 victory earned Mullins the ticket to the finals, while Abernathy moved over to the other side of the bracket to try for a rematch.
On the one-loss side, another of Mullins’ victims was already on his own quest for a rematch. A-ranked Glenn Russell, who’d fallen to Mullins 7-5, ousted B-ranked Steve Jenkins 9-3 and A-ranked Brad Shearer 9-7 to meet up with Hagood. Meanwhile, B-ranked Shawn Ray took care of A players Larry Faulk 7-2 and Greg Taylor 7-7 to face Smith, whom he put in fifth 7-6 to reach the quarterfinal match. There he faced Russell, who’d had a smooth 9-3 win over Hagood. A 9-6 victory over Ray put Russell one step closer to a rematch with Mullins, but Abernathy had other ideas, and holding Russell to six games, Abernathy claimed the rematch for himself.
Both Mullins and Abernathy were in the finals of the Great Southern Billiard Tour for the first time, and they fought back and forth for the victory that had so far eluded them. But Mullins, overcoming a tendency toward late-tournament timidity, snatched the win in one set 7-9.Results:
1st Paul Mullins $1,000
2nd Jeff Abernathy $500
3rd Glenn Russell $300
4th Shawn Ray $200
5th Glen Smith $125
7th Greg Taylor $75
9th Larry Faulk $35