Thirty-seven players came out to Mr. Cue Billiards in Lindenhurst, NY on Long Island to compete in the Amateur 9-Ball division of the Predator Pro/Am Tour for a double-points, two-day event held on September 7-8. This event was the twelfth stop of the Predator’s 2013 season.
In this event, arguably New York’s top junior pool player, Thomas Rice from Brooklyn, NY, broke through to win his first Predator Pro/Am Tour event. With his super-impressive win, Thomas has become the youngest winner in the tour’s five years running, at age fourteen. In addition to being an up-and-coming force on the Predator Tour, Thomas has also been impressive on the Tri-State Tour, having won at Gotham City Billiards in May along with other top finishes.
Thomas ran through the winner’s bracket unscathed with wins against Michael Callaghan (C+) 7-5, Jack Smith (A) 8-2, Eric Grassman (A+) 9-8, Asa Shaw (A) 8-4, Victor Nau (A+) 9-7, and met longtime New York competitor Pete Tascarella Jr. (B+) in the finals. Pete is the son of legendary Long Island-based custom cue maker Pete Tascarella Sr., and has also become very skilled with cue work. In this event at Mr. Cue, Pete Jr. brought out a high gear in his game to make it to the final.
Pete had an early loss in the second round of the winner’s bracket versus Victor Nau (A+) after having won in the first round against David Callaghan (C+) 7-5. He then bounced back with wins over Frank Jimenez (C+) 7-6, Bogie Uzdejczyk (A) 7-3, Robert Gipp (B) 7-3, Eric Grassman (A+) 7-6, Billy Santiago (B+) 7-1, and Steve Kalloo (B) 7-5. These six victories earned Pete a spot in the semifinal, where he avenged his earlier loss to Victor Nau with a 7-0 win.
In the finals, both Pete Tascaralla Jr. and Thomas Rice played exceptionally well, and had a close-fought battle. Thomas capped off the tournament with a gritty 9-7 win, and finished the final in remarkable fashion, firing in a very difficult bank on the eight ball. After making the eight, Thomas came out with perfect position on the nine, and the crowd erupted in excitement for him as he earned his first Predator Pro/Am Tour amateur title. After the match, Thomas was thrilled with the accomplishment, as well as having made history in becoming the tour’s youngest champion.
Thomas credits a lot of his recent success to his ability to watch and play with many of the great talents in New York, as well as being mentored by the legendary Earl Strickland, among others who have shaped his game.
Congratulations go out to Thomas Rice on his remarkable achievement, as well as on continuing to be an impressive talent in the sport’s exciting and ever-changing landscape.
Top Finishers & Payouts:
1st: Thomas Rice – $700
2nd: Pete Tascarella Jr. – $500
3rd: Victor Nau – $400
4th: Steve Kalloo – $300
5th/6th: Asa Shaw, Billy Santiago – $200
7th/8th: Eric Grasman, Shawn Sookhai – $125
The Predator Tour would like to give special thanks to their sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13, NYCgrind, PoolOnTheNet.com, and host room Mr. Cue Billiards.