Florida State 9-Ball Championships / Fort Pierce, FL
Robb Saez earned the Florida State 9-ball title August 21 when he bested Butch Croft in the finals of the Florida State Open 9-Ball Championships. This $2,000-added event drew 47 players to Ultimate Billiards in Fort Pierce, FL.There were some marquee match-ups right out of the gate with Louis Altes turning a 5-1 deficit against Jeff Beckley into 7-6 win. Saez, playing an improving Jerry Calderon, looked strong and won the match 7-2. He followed that up with wins over Todd Anderson 7-4 and Jarred Schlauch 7-3 and then notched an 8-5 victory over Anthony Meglino to reach the winners’ side final.
One of the surprise players of the day was relatively unknown player Jason Steman from Atlanta. Steman had people talking, with his comprehensive wins over Altes 7-2, Justin Hall 7-6, and then 7-5 win over Tommy Kennedy, who was looking to take his seventh straight win on the Poison Tour. But Jacksonville’s Croft proved to be too strong for Stemen and booked himself a winners’ side final with Saez after a hard fought 8-6 win.
Calderon wreaked havoc on the one-loss side after a second-round loss to Saez, eliminating Dave Ross, Richard Knight, Tony Crosby, Hall, Raul Alverez, Jarred Schlauch, Steman, and then Meglino to put himself in the semifinals. The hot seat match was a tight affair, with both players matching each other shot for shot to take it to the wire. At 7-7 Saez held his nerve and captured the hot seat 8-7. Croft then had to deal with Calderon, and he did so convincingly with a 7-1 victory.
Having played solid pool all weekend, Saez continued to do so in the final match. Croft never got out of second gear as Saez raced to a 9-5 win to take the $1,000 in first-place prize money and the title, plus the entry into the Seminole Pro Tour’s Steve Mizerak Championship.
1st Robb Saez $1,000
2nd Butch Croft $600
3rd Jerry Calderon $500
4th Anthony Meglino $400
5th-6th Tommy Kennedy $300
7th John Foster $190
9th Chris Gentile $85