CueSports International, Henderson, NV — Justin “Iceberg” Bergman double-dipped Skyler Woodward in the finals of the 10-Ball Division at the 23rd Annual US Bar Table Championships taking place this week at the Westgate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The 10-Ball Division began Monday with 74 players and by Wednesday the field had whittled down to just three young rising stars in the U.S. billiard scene: Bergman, of Fairview Heights, Ill.; Woodward, of Paducah, Ken. and Billy Thorpe of Dayton, Ohio.
Bergman’s path to the finals included wins over Miguel Batista, 7-6; Jason Klatt, 7-1; Jesse Piercey, 7-4; Dale Stanley, 7-2; and Vilmos Foldes, 7-1; before he was sent to the B side of the bracket by Woodward, with a score of 3-7. But being on the loser’s side of the bracket didn’t appear to slow Bergman’s energy or determination.
Bergman, who celebrated his 29th birthday Friday, beat Shane Van Boening, 7-6, in the loser’s bracket and then went on to beat Larry Nevel Jr., 7-2 and Thorpe, 7-6, before facing Woodward in the finals for the $3,800 first place prize. And Bergman knew he had his work cut out for him. Woodward had posted solid wins over Manny Perez, 7-5; Mo Salamah, 7-4; Bret Huth, 7-0; Chris McDaniel, 7-2; and Thorpe, 7-4, to take the hot seat.
The finals match was a study in opposite styles of play. Woodward showed off his relaxed confident free-wheeling game while Bergman was cautious and methodical, visualizing each detail of his game plan at the table before executing a single shot. And Bergman’s meticulous play coupled with controlled and successful break shots led to his victories over Woodward. Bergman beat Woodward by a score of 7-5 in the first match and 7-6 in the second.
Bergman took home $3,800 for the win and Woodward collected $2,200. Thorpe, who finished third, won $1,600.
In the Women’s Division, Jessica Frideres, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, was waiting in the hot seat when Rebecca Wagner, of Las Vegas, returned for revenge. Frideres had wins over Grace Nakamura, 5-1; Heather Cortez, 5-3; and Adina Pelletier, 5-0, before sending Wagner to the loser’s bracket in a hill-hill match.
Wagner posted wins against Trinh Lu, 5-3; Kimberly Whitman, 5-4 and Mary Coffman, 5-0 before losing to Frideres. Wagner faced Nakamura in the loser’s bracket and beat Nakamura, of Ontario, Can. in a hill-hill match to reach the finals.
Both women showed solid skills and depended on plenty of safety play to keep the score tight. But in the end, it was Wagner who would make the final mistake, allowing Frideres to win the hill-hill match and the 2016 USBTC 10-Ball Champion title.
Frideres earned $725, Wagner, who got second, received $425. Nakamura finished third for $275. For complete results and payouts, go to www.playcsipool.com.
The US Bar Table Championships continue through Aug. 28, with the 9-Ball Division underway and the 8-Ball Division to start Friday.
In addition, players who place in the top 32 of each open division receive Mosconi Cup USA Team points on a sliding scale. The top three American players with the most points at the end of the year will be selected for the USA Mosconi Cup Team.
Sponsors include: OB Cues, the Official Cue; Kamui, the Official Tip; Diamond Billiard Products, Cyclop Balls, Simonis Cloth, BadBoys Billiard Productions, FargoRate, Magic Ball Rack and Matchroom Sport.
The 2016 US Bar Table Championships are produced by CueSports International, the parent company of the BCAPL and USAPL. CSI also produces independent events, such as the US Open 10-Ball Championship, the US Open 8-Ball Championship and much more. For more information, visit www.playcsipool.com or call 702-719-POOL.
CueSports International (CSI) ◊ 2041 Pabco Rd., Henderson, NV 89011 ◊ 702-719-7665 ◊ 866-USA-POOL