Maxifantasincredulous action at 41st Annual Texas Open 9-ball championship.

Great 9-ball pool action finished Tuesday morning September 2nd as 128 elite players from around the US and Texas competed for over $10,000 in Open Division prizes at the longest running 9-ball tournament in US history in Round Rock, TX.
No one was falling asleep this time as the action kept the spectators on the edge of their chair all evening.

The big story was the super play of the newcomers and local players. After 16 years, James Davis Jr (Austin) had his best finish losing to Sean King (Oklahoma City) in the quarter-finals to grab 4th place. The match went back and forth, but Sean got the break he needed to face professional pool player Rob Saez in the Semi-finals.

Sean is a Desert-storm vet making his first Texas Open appearance.
Rob and Sean were wearing the same shade of red shirt and it was difficult to tell them apart from a distance. Fortunately, every seat in the house at Skinny Bob’s billiards was a great seat and many people were standing on the bleachers watching the finals from the other side. Rob was wearing the latest edition championship pocket polo shirt that was sold in 6 colors this year.

Sean never trailed the entire match, but broke dry Hill-7. Rob was hooked on the 1 ball and had to jump to make the 1 ball and drew it back perfectly for shape on the 2 ball, then made perfect shots back to back, including a 3 ball bank to side pocket to tie the match 8-8. Rob made the 1 ball on the break and ran to the 8 but the cue ball ran a little too long. After cutting the 8 ball thin to the corner, the cue ball hit the edge of the side pocket preventing perfect shape on the 9 which is unusual for Rob as his 9 ball shots are usually perfect. Rob had missed a 9 when it was tied 5-5 with similar shape, but this time he made it. The crowd erupted in appreciation for both players who played their hearts out for the respectful crowd of about 150 patrons.

Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant, professional pool player/instructor from Houston, TX with , was competing with a divine custom-made James Hanshew cue stick during the tournament that took 5 years to design and build. It was designed with biblical symbols of a cross constructed with wood mentioned in the bible: Black Palm, Olive and Pine woods. Rob was kicked to the elimination side by Charlie Bryant (Houston) in the hot-seat match and had to win twice if he was to claim the championship a second time in 4 years. Charlie Bryant was down 5-7 when Bryant breaks dry (nothing falls). Rob cuts the 1 thin to the corner, and cue ball runs too far for good shape on 2. The 2 and 7 were tied up on the side rail, and he plays a carom to pocket the 7 ball. He kicks the 2 ball two rails for side pocket and it falls but the 3 ball is hooked, and he kicks it safe leaving cue ball hidden behind the 8 and the 3 is near the 9 ball. Bryant is hooked on the 3 ball after the classic Rob Saez safety he had been making successfully all weekend. Bryant made a seemingly impossible jump-carom 3-9 ball combination across the length of the table to pocket the 9 in the corner pocket! The crowd goes wild! And yes he did plan it; or maybe it was divine intervention? Holy 9-ball combination batman! Maxifantasincredulous! Really, there ain’t enough superlatives in the Texas book to describe how great that shot was, y’all. ;-)

The finals game-1 match was nearing the 2-hour mark and Bryant was down 7-8 when Rob breaks and makes the 7. Rob runs to the 9 and cue ball runs long of perfect shape. He makes the 9 in the corner but the cue ball spins off the side rail and falls in the top right-hand corner pocket for a foul and loss of game. And yes Bryant did yell “Hillbilly-on-the-hill after all” in a modest kind of drawl realizing that he might have had to fight it out another 2-hours if Rob had made that shot without scratching.

Hill-Hill. Bryant breaks and makes the 5 but the 1 ball appears to be hooked because the 6 and 7 are tied up with the cue ball. Bryant cuts the 1 ball thin enough to make it in the corner, but the cue ball kisses the 4 ball near the side pocket on its way to the 2 ball and almost scratches. His shape comes up short, but he cuts the 2 ball that was frozen against the side rail down the rail to the corner with perfect speed and angle, and makes the 6-7 combo, then has perfect position on the 8 ball. He makes a fist pump after making the 6-ball and points to the sky to thank the heavens for his good fortune after the 9 ball falls. He was presented with the beautiful Bob Vanover Trophy by Skinny Bob’s John Cielo at 2:20am Tuesday morning and smiling under that huge hillbilly beard. All competitors deserve a tremendous amount of applause for fantastic action all weekend, the 41st year of the annual championship.

Article by ____________ and posted on AZBilliards 9/2/14



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"I have been using OB shafts to play with for the many years. I have found that it is easier to draw, hold and masse the cue ball with them than any other shaft. I can cut a ball thinner with an OB and the draw angle off the ball is greater. When using side spin, I don't have to get as far out on the ball. I recommend the OB shaft to all of my students as having the 'Hillbilly Seal of Approval'. They come back and thank me for opening their eyes. In my opinion, OB makes, by far, the best shaft on the market."

-Charlie "The Hillbilly" Bryant 2013





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