Undefeated Run for Rice

Undefeated Run for Rice
Second Annual Invitational 9-Ball Tournament / Louisville, KY

by Tom Fryer
Bank pool Hall of Famer Truman Hogue’s Second Annual Invitational 9-Ball Tournament, sponsored by Jeff Griffith’s Diamond Pub in Louisville, KY, was held February 23-24, much to the delight of event winner David Rice. The 2007 version of this tourney was one of the best events in Kentuckiana all year, and it inspired boosting the field from 64 players to this year’s booming 96-player roster.
The format was races to 6 on both sides with alternating breaks on ten Diamond 7-footers. The “invitational” part of the format was that none of the area’s elite players was invited. Several local pool industry businesses added a total of $1,500 to the prize fund, and so popular was this event that all 96 entries were paid more than a week in advance.
The action really heated up in the winners’-side semifinals. Rice got past Elizabethtown’s Duke Laha by a 6-4 count. Bryan Roberts of Louisville made the hill first at 5-3 in the other semi, but two tricky safeties that came just short for Bryan, coupled with a successful Minton break, gave Richard Minton three chances to run out, and he cashed all three to win 6-5.
The one-loss side got dangerous at this point. Pre-tournament favorite Russ Edwards of Somerset was lurking and proceeded to end Bryan Roberts’ strong bid 6-2, while Laha’s first appearance on the left side ambushed Indianapolis’ Gary Gentry at 6-4.
Rice rampaged through to the hot seat over Minton 6-2. Edwards returned to action on the one-loss side with Laha and held The Duke to a strong fourth-place finish in a hill-hill thriller. This left just Edwards and Minton on the left side, and in another tense match, Edwards prevailed 6-4, leaving Minton with an excellent third-place performance.
The finals were formatted as true double elimination with each race being lengthened to 9. The play was excellent, as no more than two games separated the opponents at any point. Edwards, who was a stone’s throw from elimination into ninth place in an earlier match, was poised on the hill at 8-6. But he got no further than second place as Rice won the last three to claim the championship as the only undefeated player.
1st David Rice
2nd Russ Edwards
3rd Rich Minton
4th Duke Laha
5th Bryan Roberts
Gary Gentry
7th Robert Frost
Nathan Wagner
9th Donny Sinkhorn
Dave Grau
Troy Brown
Jackie Bell