WPBA BEST IN THE WEST – THE SAN DIEGO CLASSIC Hosted by the Viejas Casino – Alpine, CA
The Tournament in Review Article and Action Photos By Anne Craig - WPBA The WPBA San Diego Classic, the season opener, came to a close with a bang as Monica Webb won her 2nd consecutive WPBA Title. In a thrilling final match versus Ga Young Kim, Monica proved her mettle by coming back from a 3 game deficit, down 1-4, to win the trophy by a final score of 7-5.
The Viejas Casino is the longest running venue in WPBA history with this being its 13th year! All bets were off as the rankings reset to zero, so everyone had a chance to start off the year at #1 with a win here. The Viejas Casino hosted its Charity Pro-Am on Wednesday evening, raising money for The Alpine Women’s Club. Top 16 competitors such as Jeanette Lee, Monica Webb, Gerda Hofstatter, enjoyed shooting with fans, who had paid $50 to play in the Pro-Am. The first day started early with 12 competitors at 10:00am as Tournament Director Steve Tipton called out the events first matches. This year marked the first full year of free live web streaming of our non-televised rounds made possible by Pooldawg.com, the WPBA Presenting Sponsor for Web Streaming 2009. Each round for the first 3 days of the San Diego Classic would feature one match streamed live over the internet for free. Web fans were treated to matches featuring players such as Monica Webb, Allison Fisher, Kelly Fisher, Gerda Hofstatter, Ga Young Kim as well as their hometown favorites; Holly Sholes, My-Hanh Lac, Brittany Bryant to name a few. Overall the live web streaming was a huge success with numbers that reached into the hundreds.
With a new crop of up and comers, the established players needed to watch their backs and the first day saw many of those well-established players upset. Top 20 seeded player Julie Kelly lost her first round match after competing versus Holland native Tamara Rademakers who qualified for this event on the WPBA’s Regional Tour – The Ladies Spirit Tour in Florida. Another Regional Tour star, Liz Cole from the Northwest Women’s Pool Association in Washington State, defeated top ranked Melissa Little in their match, 9-7.
The real fireworks began as Eleanor Callado, four-time National Collegiate 9 Ball Champion, matched up versus phenom Jasmin Ouschan from Austria. Eleanor played strong from the start and the match was never more than 1 game in either players favor. Jasmin, always tough, looked to surge ahead but Eleanor was not to be denied and defeated the #14 ranked player 9-7, shocking Jasmin into the one loss side.
The next shot heard ‘round the tournament arena was the 2nd round web feature match between Kelly Fisher and Jennifer Chen. Jennifer, ranked #24, hadn’t had a strong win against a top 5 opponent in awhile. She played well against Kelly who seemed a bit out of sorts, and summarily knocked the #1 seed into the loser’s bracket. It’d been quite some time since Kelly was defeated in only her 2nd round of a tournament.
The hits just kept on coming when Holly Sholes defeated Ga Young Kim in their 2nd round match, 9-7. Ga Young took a 3 -0 lead but Holly caught up and tied the match. She continued her run to 6-4, where Ga Young attempted a surge but was still down 8-6 when Holly made the 9 with a bit of luck to win the match.