|Story by Alison Fischer and Irene Kim
For the sixth stop on the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s 2016 season, pool players from around the New York City area headed to Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY to do battle in 9-ball on April 9-10. With the Super Billiards Expo starting in just a few days, many of the players took this as an opportunity to get in gear to compete in this highly anticipated event.
Coming through with an undefeated run, Connecticut-based player Brooke Meyer saw his way again to the top of the chart at Steinway. Remarkably, Meyer (winner of the 2015 “A” Class Player of the Year award) came in with a repeat performance – he won his first-ever Predator Tour stop the very same weekend, at the very same place, one year ago.
To start the tournament, Meyer had two tough battles in the upper bracket, going down to the wire with 7-6 wins over Lidio “Rasta” Ramirez (A+) and Billy Santiago (B+), followed by a 7-5 win over Carlos Luna (A). He closed the day with the next match, garnering a decisive 7-4 win over Rhio Anne Flores (B+). On day two, Meyer started strong with a 7-2 win over another former Steinway winner, Stewart Warnock (A+). This five-game run positioned Meyer in the “hot seat” match against Alison Fischer (C+), the B/C/D winner’s bracket finalist.
For Fischer, who began playing on the tour in 2008, it was her first time in a winner’s bracket final. To get to the second day of the tournament, Fischer took five straight wins, which included three “hill-hill” matches. On the second day, she had a 7-4 win over Greg Matos (C) to move on to the “hot seat” match against Meyer. In a close back-and-forth battle, Fischer got to the hill first at 7-6, only to miss a difficult 9-ball, making it 7-7. Meyer broke and ran to a three-to-nine combination to secure his place in the final.
On the loss side of the bracket, two matches determine who will move on to the quarterfinal: one from the upper bracket and one from the lower. In the upper bracket match-up, Annie Flores (B+), one of NYC’s toughest female players, defeated Stewart Warnock (A) with a solid score of 7-4. Meanwhile, Abel Rosario (B) and Greg Matos (C) faced off in the lower bracket, ending with Matos also winning 7-4. Underdog Matos then took the quarterfinal match against the favorite, winning 8-3 against Flores.
The semifinal was a rematch from earlier in the day, as Alison Fischer’s loss to Brooke Meyer gave Matos another opportunity against her. Matos battled, recovering from a 4-1 deficit to tie it at 4-4, only to have Fischer move on to win 7-4. This is Greg Matos’s best finish on the tour.
In the final (a “modified” single race to eight), Fischer got her second shot at Meyer. If Meyer got to eight first, he would win, but if Fischer won eight first, the set would extend to ten. With the handicap difference, Fischer was spotted three games in the race. Although Fischer fought to stay in the match, Meyer succeeded with a strong performance, winning 8-6, to take his second Predator Tour title.
Along with the main event, a “Second Chance” tournament was held on the second day for players who had been previously eliminated. Thirteen players competed in a single-elimination format for the first prize in this event. “B” class player Pablo Sanz would walk away on top, defeating Dan Faraguna, William Finnegan, Dave Callaghan, and then Amir Uddin in the final.