Miller comes back from semifinals to down Cleary and win Predator Pro Am stop at Steinway

When the Predator Pro Am Tour held its annual tour championships back in early December, the $10,500-added event drew 89 invited entrants. The winner, Rhys Chen, pocketed $7,000 for his undefeated run through the field. Though correlation does not always signify causation, it would appear that the $7,000 top prize in that event has led to increased interest in sufficient participation in Predator Pro Am Tour events this year to qualify for (be invited to) the 2018 Tour Championships. The Predator Pro Am Tour opened its 2018 season with a record 115 entrants at a $1,000-added event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Though Andrew Cleary battled Rick Miller and claimed the hot seat in this event, Miller returned from the semifinals to defeat Cleary and win the Predator Pro Am season opener.

Second and Third Chance events drew 16 and 14 entrants, respectively. Jason Carandang won the Second Chance event, downing George Poltorak in the finals. Victor Nau chalked up the win in the Third Chance event, defeating Jessica Lynn in that one.

In the main event, Miller advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Tom Wan, as Cleary squared off against Matthias Gutzmann in the other one. Cleary got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Gutzmann, and was joined by Miller, who’d sent Wan west 7-5. Cleary claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Miller and waited on his return from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Wan picked up Junior Singh, who’d defeated Jimmy Acosta 7-3 and Thomas Schreiber 7-5 to reach him. Gutzmann drew Mark Zamora, who’d eliminated Amy Yu 7-3 (ending a seven-match, loss-side winning streak for Yu), and Quang Nguyen 7-5.

Singh advanced to the quarterfinals 8-6 over Wan, and was joined by Gutzmann, who’d ended Zamora’s weekend 7-6. Gutzmann advanced another step, downing Singh in those quarterfinals 7-5. Miller ended Gutzmann’s three-match, loss-side trip with an 8-5 win in the semifinals.

In the extended-race-to-9 finals, Cleary was tasked with chalking up seven racks before Miller, at which point, the match and tournament would have ended with Cleary as its undefeated winner. Miller, though, reached the seven-match mark first, and added two more – to Cleary’s 3, total – to claim the event title.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff for their continuing hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, Capelle Publishing, NAPL,, and his own Predator Pro Am staff, including his wife, Gail Robles, Irene Kim, Mandy Wu, William Finnegan, and Rob Omen. This year's Predator Pro Am Tour will feature 11 stops that will include both Amateur and Pro events. The first of these, scheduled for February 10-11, will combine a $750-added event for Amateurs and a $250-added event for Pros, both to be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Story by Skip Maloney AZBilliards

L-R Andrew Cleary (2nd), Rick Miller (1st) and Matthias Gutzmann (3rd)
L-R George Poltorak (2nd) and Jason Carandang (1st)
L-R Max Watanabe (3rd/4th), Jessica Lynn Greibesland (2nd), Victor Nau (1st), and KC Clayton (3rd/4th)
Complete Payouts
1 USA MILLER Rick 2,000
2 USA CLEARY Andrew 1,300
3 USA GUTZMANN Matthias 800
4 SINGH Junior 500
5 USA ZAMORA Mark 350
5 USA WAN Thomas 350
7 USA SCHREIBER Thomas 250
7 NGUYEN Quang 250
9 ENG WONG Suzanna 200
9 YU Amu Yue 200
9 ACOSTA Jimmy 200
9 USA RAMIREZ Lidio 200
13 USA TIRU Chris 150
13 USA UDDIN Amir 150
13 USA LIO Ada 150
17 USA SALERNO Mike 100
17 USA MEYERS Patrick 100
17 USA MULLER Justin 100
17 USA NAU Victor 100
17 USA TANIYAMA Akiko 100
17 USA BONDOC Freddie 100
17 USA MELENDEZ Juan 100
2nd Chance Finishers
1 Jason Carandang
2 George Poltorak
3rd Chance Finishers
1 Victor Nau
2 Jessica Lynn Greibesland
3/4 Max Watanabe/KC Clayton
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