J. Shaw, A. Fisher, G. Visoiu are Winners at ESPN Billiards Shootout
Jayson Shaw Wins 25th Int’l Challenge of Champions
“I watched this Tournament as a young boy and to now win it is amazing” said an elated Jayson Shaw moments after capturing the 2016 International Challenge of Champions title. The pressure packed $25,000 winner-take-all event was held at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 20. Shaw, from Scotland, defeated Shane van Boening of the United States in “sudden death” in the final match and was crowned the new “Champion of Champions.” The two semifinals and the Championship match were taped by ESPN for telecast beginning Sunday, December 11 at 4:00 EST.
“You have to play your best the entire tournament,” said Shaw “There’s no margin for error. I won the lag to break in Sudden Death and I knew if I missed one shot I would lose $25,000! That is pressure.”
Shaw played Kevin Cheng of Taiwan in the first Semifinal match. Cheng was off his game and Shaw played flawlessly winning both races to 5 handily 5-0 and 5-3.
Shaw, the 2016 Derby City Classic 10 Ball Champion and Bergen Open 9 Ball Champion 9-Ball Champion then met Shane van Boening in the Finals who had defeated Alex Pagulayan, the 2016 Canadian Open Champion, in a sudden death tie breaker in the other semifinal. Alex won the first set 5-3 and Shane won the second set 5-4. The sudden death game went back and forth with Shane pulling out a victory.
In the Finals, battling back and forth Shaw won the first set 5-4 and Van Boening took the second set 5-1. The momentum appeared to be with van Boening, but in the one game sudden death Shaw won the lag, ran the table, and emerged the winner.
The crowd gave Shaw a standing ovation when he won the final match. He raised his arms in victory and then accepted the highest single purse in international winner-take-all tournaments. The trophy and the check were presented by Gregg Hovey of Billiards International.
The 2016 event was the 25th annual International Challenge of Champions and the very last event to be held at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, set to close on October 10, 2016. Bill Talerico, Executive Vice President Sports & Entertainment for Taj Mahal, was delighted with the event and the support displayed by the crowd of pool fans. “This is a great event for the Taj Mahal to go out on. I am only sorry we will not be around to host this again next year.”
Allison Fisher Wins 19th Tournament of Champions
“I am finally back,” said an excited Allison Fisher moments after capturing her sixth International Tournament of Champions title. Allison now leads Ga Young Kim who holds five Tournament of Champion titles. The thrill of victory was all the greater since it had been several years since she won her last Tournament of Champion title.
The spirited $15,000 winner-take-all event was held at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 21. Fisher, the 2016 Masters Champion, defeated Kelly Fisher in the final match and was crowned the new Woman’s “Champion of Champions.” The semi and final matches require a player to win two sets, race to four games each set. In the event of a tie, the pressure becomes brutal with a one game sudden death tiebreaker. The two semifinals and the Championship match were taped for broadcast by ESPN beginning Sunday, December 11 at 1:00 pm EST on ESPN2.
“We may look cool out there, but the pressure is overwhelming,” said Allison. “I knew I had to play well from the start being matched first against Ga Young, and then to meet Kelly in the finals I couldn’t let up.” Kelly Fisher started out strong in both sets of the Final with a 2-0 lead, only to see Allison come back in each set and win 4-2, 4-2 for the Championship trophy and the winner’s take all check.
Allison had to go through Ga Young Kim in the first semifinal. Ga Young, the 2016 WPBA U.S. Open winner, got ahead early three games to one but Fisher fought back and won the first set 4-3. Fisher then took complete control, playing perfectly and defeated Ga Young 4-0 in the second set.
The other semifinal also brought cheers from the crowd. Kelly Fisher of Ireland prevailed against Jasmin Ouschan of Austria by a score of 4-3 and 4-2. Jasmin played tough and led in the first set but missed a couple of key shots allowing Kelly to close her out.
The crowd gave Allison Fisher a standing ovation when she won the “Champion of Champions” title, her sixth, making her the winningest player in Tournament of Champions history. She raised her arms in victory and then accepted the winner’s purse of $15,000. The trophy and the check were presented by Gregg Hovey of Billiards International.
The 2016 event was the 19th Annual International Tournament of Champions. Bill Talerico, Executive Vice President of Sports & Entertainment for Trump Taj Mahal, was delighted with the play and the crowd of pool fans. “We were extremely pleased with this event,” he said. “This is the last event to be held at the Trump Taj Mahal, and it was first class all the way. I wish we could hold this event next year. It was great for Atlantic City.”
Gabi Visoiu Wins Trick Shot Magic Championship
TRICK SHOT MAGIC was held September 22 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Gabi Visoiu defeated Andy Segal 8-6 in the Finals. The two semifinals and the Championship match will be broadcast by ESPN on Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST on ESPN2.
The format for Trick Shot Magic consisted of two skill shots and four artistic show shots by each player in each semi-final and 8 artistic show shots in the Finals. Each player executed a challenge shot of their choice, and their opponent was required to duplicate the shot or lose a point. In the semifinals, the players alternated shots in head-to-head matches, performing intricate trick shots meant to stymie their opponents. A sudden death tiebreaker to decide a match required an eight rail bank shot onto the face of a $100 bill. The Championship Finals match pitted the two greatest Trick Shot players in the world in a head to head match for the right to claim the title “Trick Shot Champion”.
The Championship match was poetry on Simonis blue, with Gabi Visoiu defeating 5 time Trick Shot Magic Champion and current World Champion Andy Segal by a score of 8-6 to take the Championship Trophy. Visoiu combined traditional multi-ball shots with his masse skills to overcome Segal’s talents with multi cue tricks. The Trump Taj Mahal crowd gave Visoiu a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the Championship match. The victory was particularly rewarding for Visoiu as he had competed in Trick Shot Magic for 5 years without a victory.
The Semi-final matches featured newcomer Will DeYonker, who qualified for the event in a special tournament held over the summer in Long Island, New York. Will delivered several unique shots but fell short to Andy Segal when one of his tricks was deemed in violation of the rules by referee Dave Nangle. Segal went on to win 7-5. The Second semi-final featured 2016 WPA Jump Shot and Follow Shot World Champion, Jamey Gray from the United States. He was defeated by Gabi Visoiu 7-3. The trophy was presented by Gregg Hovey of Billiards International.
In addition to the fine tournament site at the Trump Taj Mahal, the event was sponsored by Diamond Billiard Tables, Aramith Tournament Billiard Balls, Simonis Cloth, J. Pechauer Custom Cues, CueMate Cue Stands, PoolDawg.com, Cuetec, Marty Carey Jump Cues and Bill Westley Racks. The event was produced by Gregg Hovey of Billiards International.