Jennifer Yo came out on top amidst an impressive field of 46 semi-professional players to capture the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour Spring 9-Ball Event, and the first championship title in her pool career. The Austin, Texas player faced off with Houston’s own Natalie Rocha in a fight to the bitter finish. Although Rocha bested Yo in the first set of the true double elimination final, 7-6, Yo came back to win the second set, 5-4.
On February 11th, 2017, some of the most talented female pool players in Texas and Louisiana converged on Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar in Houston, Texas, to compete in the one-day, $500 added 9-ball event, vying for a place in the Gulf Coast Tour winners’ circle. Room owners David and Shannon Richardson, along with tour sponsors Cyclop Pool Balls www.facebook.com/CyclopPoolBalls, Ozone Billiards www.OzoneBilliards.com, APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, and www.OutsvillBilliards.com, facilitated another successful event for the women of the Gulf Coast Tour, the second of 11 events scheduled for 2017. Growing by leaps and bounds, the WPBA sanctioned regional tour has already amassed a following of 67 player members this year, in addition to securing a new venue, CK Billiards, in Dallas, Texas. Last year the tour amassed 76 player members, the highest to date, and because this year’s numbers are already high, the tour anticipates breaking 100 player members before the end of 2017.
A Gulf Coast Tour victory has eluded Jennifer Yo since 2014, when she finished second to Jennifer Kraber in her first Gulf Coast Event. Since then, Yo has been working on her game, and her 2017 Gulf Coast Tour season proves it. The first event of the year witnessed Yo losing a finals match to Gail Eaton, but at this event, second place was in the rear view mirror. Yo made her way to the final four winners’ side with wins over Amber Keithley, 7-2, Tangela Hunt, 7-1, Terri Resendez, 7-3, and Robyn Petrosino, 7-4, while Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce staked her claim, ousting Jennifer Dooley, 7-2, Julie Enzensperger, 7-2, Tiffany Mundie, 7-3, and Mercedes Vasquez, 7-5. Ricki Casper took down Tina Williams, 7-6, Veronica “Pistol” Perez, 7-4, Loretta Lindgren, 7-3, and Diana Cardona, 7-3, while seasoned veteran, Gail “Virginia Slim” Eaton, took out Cindy Tillman, 7-0, Gail Roles, 7-2, and newcomer Brittany Williams, 7-4. The final four was also taking shape on the one loss side. Williams took out Teresa Garland, 5-3, while Perez came back to win four straight matches, eliminating first-time player Audrey Arcelli, 5-1, Megan Hardin, 5-4, Monica DeTuncq, 5-2, and Diana Cardona, 5-1. The youngest player on tour, 14-year old Aryana Lynch, dusted off Lindgren, 5-2, and R. Petrosino, 5-2, while Natalie Rocha, who lost her second match to Erica Hanlon, 7-4, went on to defeat Liz Mitchel, 5-1, Terry Petrosino, 5-4, Vasquez, 5-2, and Lynch, 5-3. Back on the east side, Yo took care of Pierce, 7-5, and Eaton made quick work of Casper, 7-2. The hot seat match was set, and players fought to stay alive on the one loss side. Williams ended Perez’ run, 5-2, and eliminated Pierce, while Rocha bested Lynch, 5-3, then Casper, 5-4. The hot seat match witnessed Yo defeat Eaton in a tightly-knit race, 7-6. Back on the one loss side, with her head still above water, Rocha went on to eliminate Williams, 5-4, and Eaton, 5-2, tallying seven straight wins to meet Yo in the finals. There was no doubt about it, Rocha was gaining momentum with each win, and the first set of the finals was no different. Yo’s chances were few and far between, as Rocha kept pace, annihilating the hot seat winner, 7-1, for her eighth consecutive win. In the final set, Yo’s tenacity emerged, and in true champion form, she captured the second set in a hill-hill thriller, 5-4. Congratulations to Jennifer Yo on her first-ever win in her pool career!
Gulf Coast Tour welcomes brand new members Brittany Williams (Longview, TX), Audrey Arcelli (Round Rock), Kaleigh Reiland (Webster, TX), and Amber Watts (Quitman, TX). A special “congratulations” goes out to Veronica “Pistol” Perez from Austin, Texas, who achieved her highest tournament finish to date!
The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour is open to players of all ages and skill levels, however, the top 32 WPBA Exempt Professionals are not permitted to participate. The next Gulf Coast Tour 9-ball event will be held on March 18th, 2017, at Bogies Billiard, 3040 FM 1960 East, in Houston, Texas. This event will be played on 9’ tables with Cyclop TV Set Pool Balls. Free practice begins at 10am, and the mandatory players’ meeting begins at 11am. For more information about the WPBA sanctioned, Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour, visit GulfCoastWomensTour.com. Follow us on Facebook @gulfcoasttour1 and Twitter @gulfcoasttour.
The WPBA (Women’s Professional Billiard Association) is the governing body of women’s professional billiards in the U.S. The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour is a sanctioned, WPBA Regional Tour, part of the grass roots system that feeds the WPBA Pro Billiards Tour. Amateur and semi-professional, female players, who aspire to play women’s professional billiards, must qualify through this elite system in order to attain the sought-after title, WPBA Exempt Professional. Have you ever considered taking your game to the next level, looking for a different challenge? Are you tired of the same old week-in, week-out routines deterring the progress of your game? Is it your dream to play in a pro event, or turn pro? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to find the WPBA Regional Tour nearest you. Exclusively, WPBA Regional Tour Players gain access to WPBA Pro Event Qualifiers and earn valuable WPBA Regional Tour Points which count toward earning invitations to the annual WPBA Regional Tour Championship and WPBA Pro Events. Live your dream, support and become a part of, the longest-running, professional billiard organization in the U.S., the WPBA.
If you are interested in starting a WPBA Regional Tour in your area, or participating on a WPBA Regional Tour, please contact the WPBA Office at 1.855.FOR.WPBA or visit www.WPBA.com.
Written By: Kim Newsome
Photos By: Kim Newsome
1st Jennifer Yo $430
2nd Natalie Rocha $300
3rd Gail Eaton $210
4th Brittany Williams $140
5th-6th Ricky Casper, Kim Pierce $70
7th-8th Veronica Perez, Aryana Lynch $50 ea.
9th-12th Teresa Garland, Diana Cardona, Robyn Petrosino, Mercedes Vasquez $25 ea.