Hardie claims first regional tour title on PremierBilliards.com’s Q City 9-Ball Tour

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In the course of her undefeated run to claim her first regional tour title this past weekend (March 23-24), Tracy Hardie faced six opponents, four of whom battled her to double hill, while a fifth chalked up one of those ‘almost’ double-hill challenges, falling just a game short. She didn’t engage in her only ‘clearly ahead’ win until her appearance in one of the winners’ side semifinals. As it turned out, the event featured 18 double-hill matches, just a little shy of one-quarter of the total matches played (76). The $250-added stop on the PremierBilliards.com’s Q City 9-Ball Tour drew 39 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC.

Things got dicey right from the get-go. Following a bye, Hardie opened her campaign in a straight-up race to 5 against Chuck Maxwell, who was just the first to let her know that if she was going to look for her first major victory, the going wasn’t going to be easy. She survived that first double-hill challenge and ran straight into another one. Dona Selman was awarded a single ‘bead on the wire’ in her race to 5 against Hardie and won three of the four matches she needed before Hardie closed out her second double-hill match 5-3.

Hardie advanced to her almost-double-hill match versus Damien Brads in a winners’ side quarterfinal. This time, it was Hardie sporting ‘beads on the wire’ (two of them in a race to 7). They tied in racks (5-5) but Hardie’s two ‘beads’ gave her the win and moved her into a winners’ side semifinal against Kelly Farrar.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the winners’ side bracket, two significant events occurred, which dictated the different opponents Hardie would face in the hot seat match and finals. One had already occurred when Farrar had defeated Hardie’s opponent in the final, Robbie House, in the third round. The other involved her hot seat match opponent, Jose Irizarry, who defeated Lewis Jones 7-2, Jordan Oak and Jerry Cannon, both 7-4, to draw John Higgins in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Hardie got a bit of a breather against Farrar. She was awarded three ‘beads on the wire’ that she didn’t need in their race to 8. Sporting winds of confidence beneath her wings, she sent Farrar to the loss side 5-2 and advanced to the hot seat match. Irizarry joined her after winning a double-hill match versus Higgins. Back to the grind, so to speak, for Hardie’s third and Irizarry’s second straight double-hill battle. With two ‘beads on the wire’ against Irizarry in a race to 7, Hardie claimed the hot seat 5-6.

On the loss side, Robbie House was working his way through a seven-match winning streak that would propel him into the finals and clear title to the ‘most matches played’ award (11). He navigated his way through two double-hill matches during the streak that had recently eliminated Justin Knuckles 5-1 and in his second, double-hill win, Wilson Dorsey, to draw Farrar. Higgins drew Jack Whitfield, who’d followed a winners’ side quarterfinal loss to Farrar with victories over Ron Ford 7-1 and Cody Jones 7-2.

Whitfield did what he could to get at Farrar for a quarterfinal rematch, eliminating Higgins 7-1. House, though, survived a double-hill match against Farrar and advanced to face Whitfield.

House began each of his next two matches with two ‘beads on the wire’ in a race to 7. He won them both 5-5, downing Whitfield in the quarterfinals and Irizarry in the semifinals. As a second bookend to her opening straight-up race to 5, the last of four double-hill matches and her sixth straight victory, Hardie chalked up the first regional tour win to appear on her AZBilliards resume.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Kayla and Jacob Corley and their Mickey Milligan’s staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor PremierBilliards.com, BarPoolTables.net (Randy Tate), TKO Custom Cues and Realty One Group results (Kirk Overcash), Dirty South Grind Apparel (Angela Harlan-Parker), Federal Savings Bank (Alex Narod), CHC Underground (Chris Clary) and AZBilliards.

This weekend (March 30-31), the PremierBilliards.com’s Q City 9-Ball Tour will mount a $250-added event, hosted by a new venue, Breaking Tradition in Kingsport, TN.
 
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