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9-ball Championships - Top cue artists go head-to-head on McDonald Avenue

Shooting stick has never been as tense as it was at Skyline Billiards, 2515 McDonald Avenue, last month as 61 professional pool players cued up for a share of the $3,900 purse, as well as chance for nine-ball glory.

Seasoned pool professionals found themselves scratching for wins against several talented upstarts during the special tournament, which drew famed players like Francisco Bustamante, Johnny Archer, Manny Chau, Mika Immonen, Mike Davis, Chavez, Shaun Wilkie, Eddie Abraham, Matt Krah, Mike Dechaine and Alan Rolan to the three-year-old billiard hall.

The felt frenzy was part of the Blaze 9 Ball Tour New York City’s Championships.

“These were first class players,” explained Jeff Pole, the father of Skyline Billiards co-owner Robert Pole, who, with partner Sammy Wu, hosts tournaments at their seventeen-table hall between Avenues W and X. “They bring their own custom made cues and get on the covers of billiard magazines.”

It was also the first time that there was such a “wide variety” of talent.

“You would have a world class player knocked out by a new guy,” he said. “I don’t remember seeing anything like it.”

As the hours drew on, entrants playing were whittled down to just two: Francisco Bustamante versus Manny Chau.

In the end, Bustamante won the race to the 9, taking control of the match from the start and winning an easy 9-4 victory against his opponent.

Bustamante left Skyline Billiards with the grand prize of $3,053. Chau, coming in second out of 61 received $1500.

Third place winner Mike Immonen received $1150.

Cash awards ranging from $900 to $200 were given to those remaining in the top twelve.

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