Mike Davis Wins the Reno Open
By InsidePOOL Staff
Mike Davis went undefeated through the 236-player field at the Reno Open to claim his final victory over Santos Sambajon, Jr., in the finals. The Reno Open is a biannual tournament in its nineteenth year that is sponsored and hosted by the Sands Regency every December and June.
At 11 a.m., the final four players returned to the tournament room. Max Eberle, house pro at Hollywood Billiards and columnist for InsidePOOL Magazine, met Sambajon in the one-loss side to determine fourth place. Sambajon, a member of the feared Filipino contingent, took the lead at first, but soon it was Eberle who brought the score to 6-3. Unfazed, Sambajon fought back to catch Eberle at 6 and then proceed to take the lead at 8-7. When he left the 1 ball hanging in the following rack, Eberle ran out to make it a hill-hill match. However, when Eberle came up dry on the break, Sambajon ran out the tough rack to win the match 9-8.
In the hot seat match, Davis and Cliff Joyner of Rocky Mount, NC, traded games until Joyner pulled ahead 7-5. Davis, who was having troubles making balls on the break, managed to win the next three to take the hill. He made nothing on his next break, but when Joyner missed the 4 ball, Davis ran the remaining balls and sent Joyner to meet Sambajon in the one-loss side.
Before the match began, Master of Ceremonies Scott Smith kept the audience entertained with his good-natured banter with Joyner regarding some of his past triumphs in the back room. Sambajon and Joyner stayed close until a scratch on the 5 by Joyner with the score at 4 apiece gave Sambajon the edge. He won that game and the next two. He reached the hill only to watch Joyner stage a comeback to bring the score to 8-7, but when Joyner scratched on the break in the last rack, Sambajon played a nice out to win the match 9-7.
The finals were true double elimination, so if Sambajon were to win the title and the first-place prize, he would have to beat Davis twice. Davis, who has been playing seriously for the past 11 years or so, has really made an impact in 2003 and shows no signs of stopping. The heart and mental fortitude he displayed in the final match were enviable. He took a 3-1 lead over his opponent, who quickly turned the tables and brought the score to 6-3 Sambajon. Still troubled with his break, Davis faltered, and Sambajon reached the hill after another break-and-run with Davis at 5. A couple of key missed by Sambajon, coupled with some excellent play by Davis, made it a hill-hill match. When he made the 6 ball on the last break, it was over – he ran the rest of the rack out like a champion to win the first professional tournament of his career.
1st Mike Davis $12,000
2nd Santos Sambajon, Jr. $6,500
3rd Cliff Joyner $3,600
4th Max Eberle $2,500
5th John Schmidt, Johnny Archer $2,000
7th Tony Annigoni, Jeremy Jones $1,500
9th Troy Frank, Ralf Souquet, Jose Parica, Arturo Rivera $1,100
13th George Michaels, Louis Ulrich, Scott Frost, Jimmy Mendoza $700
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