O’Neal Owns Great Southern Billiard Field
Great Southern Billiard Tour / Murfreesboro, TN
by Lea Andrews
The first and last face Josh O’Neal saw at the June 26-27 Great Southern Billiard Tour event belonged to Russ Edwards, the first and last of O’Neal’s many victims. AA-ranked O’Neal went undefeated through the field of 40 that arrived at Murfreesboro Billiards in Murfreesboro, TN, for the $1,500-added event, which was sponsored by Nick Varner Cues and Cases.
While AA-ranked Edwards was moving steadily through the left side of the bracket following his first-round 10-5 loss to O’Neal, O’Neal was making his own steady path through the winners’ side. A strong 10-2 win over A-ranked Ryan Dunn put him into the hot seat match against Mike Laney, who’d just sent AA-ranked Billy Young west 10-6. O’Neal, who’d had several high finishes on the tour but had yet to make it to the finals, earned his first finals appearance with a convincing 10-1 victory.
On the one-loss side, former winner Daniel McKinney took care of fellow A-player Brad Hutchins 9-5 and B player Ricardo Nixon 9-5 to face Young, whom he ousted by yet another strong score of 9-5 to reach the quarterfinals, where he met up with a determined Edwards. Edwards, who’d just run through B players Heath Reynolds 9-5 and Jeremy Scarpace 9-1, and A-ranked Dunn 9-4, went smoothly through McKinney 9-7 to advance to the semifinals against Laney. Both of O’Neal’s victims fought hard all the way to hill-hill for the right to the rematch in the finals, but Edwards marked up the final game, moving on to the true double-elimination final match 9-9.
But revenge was not in the cards for Edwards. The fact that O’Neal was in the finals for the first time, and that he could stand to lose the first set, didn’t slow him down at all—he pushed hard to maintain complete control throughout the set, earning his first tour win 10-3.Results:
1st Josh O’Neal $1,000
2nd Russ Edwards $500
3rd Mike Laney $300
4th Daniel McKinney $200
5th Billy Young $100
7th Ricardo Nixon $65