Shane Wolford has won the Chuck Markulis Memorial title at Hard Times Billiards of Sacramento to boost his Mosconi Cup chances with a maiden win on the World Nineball Tour beating Skyler Woodward in the final 11-9.
Wolford, buoyed by a run to the UK Open Pool Championship Last 16, came in firing in California as Oscar Dominguez played host to some of the Americas best with the likes of Woodward, Gerson Martinez, Tyler Styer, and Billy Thorpe all lining up aiming to climb the Race to Mosconi Cup standings.
The competition was fierce with Wolford having to overcome Skip Nikakis, Phil Prentice, and Sean Lewis to reach the single elimination stage before Max Eberle and Nicholas De Leon were downed ahead of a crunch clash with BJ Ussery who had snapped off the Bob Stock Memorial tournament last month to boost his own Mosconi Cup hopes. With Ussery conquered, Peru’s World Cup of Pool representative Martinez proved to be no match in the semi-finals for Wolford who was on a mission.
Victory for Wolford in the final over Woodward sees the Virginia native move into one of the three automatic qualification spots on the USA’s Race to Mosconi Cup standings whilst Woodward has extended his advantage as the leading player for Team USA to a difference of nearly $10,000 over Shane Van Boening. The result also sees Wolford move inside the world’s top 32 for the first time whilst Woodward leapfrogs Mohammad Soufi to become the new WNT No. 14.
Styer’s hopes of sealing the title were ended by Woodward in the quarter-finals whilst host Dominguez suffered at the hands of Martinez. Thorpe meanwhile fell to Hunter Lombardo in the quarters whilst rising star Lukas Fracasso-Verner lost out to Francis Ritarita.
Three spots for both Team Europe and USA are up for grabs off the World Nineball Tour Rankings with all eyes on the one-year list for hopefuls. The first automatic pick for each side will be locked in after the conclusion of the European Open Pool Championship set to take place in Fulda, Germany from August 8-13 with the second automatic selection to follow at the US Open Pool Championship from September 25-30 at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City before the final automatic spot will be given after the conclusion of the inaugural Asian Open Pool Championship from October 10-15.
NEXT WORLD NINEBALL TOUR EVENT
The Mezz Bucharest Open will take place in Romania’s capital at IDM Club from June 16-18 with the field stacked full of some of the biggest names on the World Nineball Tour including Van Boening, the Ko brothers, David Alcaide, Wiktor Zielinski, and Alexander Kazakis all set to do battle.
NEXT MATCHROOM EVENT
The next signature Matchroom multi-table open event comes next at the Pazo de Ferias y Congresos de Lugo in Spain for the first-ever Spanish Open Pool Championship from June 20 to June 25 with the first-ever FSR Junior Open taking place on June 23-24. Buy your tickets here from €15.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool will follow in Spain from June 27 to July 2 in the same venue with the tournament seeing 31 countries battle it out for glory as the hosts look to defend their title.