Music City Open Begins
By Michael Basha
Just over a hundred pool players have entered the 21st Annual Music City Open in Nashville, TN, at the infamous JOB Billiards. This race-to-11, double-elimination tournament boasts a guaranteed $6,000 added to be played for on a collection of 3 ½ by 7 foot Diamond pool tables, with the first-place winner receiving a Gibson guitar on top of the prize fund.
A fair share of the preeminent players from Derby City Classic have journeyed south for this tournament, including former Music City Open winners Johnny Archer (‘06), Jonathan Hennessee (’04), and two-time winner and current defending Music City Open champion Gabe Owen. Other notable players in the field include Sparky Ferrell, Bobby Pickle, Cliff Joyner, John Schmidt, Chris Bartram, Alex Pagulayan, Louis Ulrich, current reigning U.S. Open 9-Ball champion and action hound Shane Van Boening, Rafael Martinez, and young gun Eric Behnke.
The first round saw almost all of these players dodge each other in the draw and advance to the second round easily, but inevitably a clash occurred when 2006 U.S. Open winner John Schmidt drew the “Leader of the Philippine Invasion,” Jose Parica. Both players were fighting fit and in form, but Parica managed to figure out the break quickly and used it to close the door in the final stretch and defeat Schmidt 11-7. Owen caught a bye in the first round but will have to get by Archer in the second round to stay alive on the winners’ side tomorrow afternoon.
The traditional Midnight Madness mini tournament is scheduled to take place Saturday night, with Archer, Owen, Parica, Hennessee, and Van Boening all already signed on to the $500-a-man, winner-takes-all, single-elimination, race-to-11 event. With room for two or three more players, there’s no telling who will fill the spots to take a stab at the cash. The tournament will run through to Sunday until a champion is crowned.