Williams, Corr Win BCA Open Titles
by Mike Panozzo May 18, 2002, 9:08 PM EST
Williams' flawless play in Las Vegas led to his first major trophy-hoist.
Playing flawlessly in his first major tournament final in front of a packed Riviera Hotel Ballroom in Las Vegas, and with ESPN's unforgiving lenses trained on his every move, 25-year-old Charlie Williams swept past road roommate Tony Robles, 7-4, Saturday afternoon to win the men's division of the 2002 Billiard Congress of America Open 9-Ball Championships.
Williams, who spends countless hours promoting the fledgling United Poolplayers Association and promoting his own tournaments, never trailed in the match and successfully ran out from the break in his final four trips to the table in the alternating-break format match. And while Robles, the 36-year-old crowd favorite from New York, played confidently and accurately, a missed 3 ball while trailing 4-3 proved to be his undoing.
"That one shot cost me the match," said Robles. "After that I needed for him to lose his break, and that never happened."
"We were both shooting well," said Williams. "I knew whoever made the first mistake on his break was going to be in trouble."
At 5-3, the final three racks were run-outs. Unfortunately for Robles, Williams had the break in two of those games.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said Williams, who credited Hall of Famer Nick Varner with aiding his mental approach to the game. I'm totally surprised that I'm playing so well, giving how much work I'm doing and how little practice I'm getting."
Williams earned $15,000 from the $64,000 men's prize fund, while Robles picked up $7,500 as runnerup.
In stark contrast, the title match in the 64-player women's division more resembled a Twilight Zone episode than a championship-caliber finale, with Karen Corr outlasting Vivian Villarreal, 7-4, to win the $15,000 top prize.
With neither player able to run a single complete rack, wasted opportunities and strange choices were the order of the day. From the opening rack, in which Villarreal, hooked on the 2 ball, eschewed her allotted time-clock extension and literally gave Corr cue ball in hand, the match took on one eerie turn after the next. The normally reliable Corr missed position on numerous shots, and rattled several balls late in racks, while Villarreal miscued in consecutive racks. The match reached an almost fitting conclusion when Corr missed the 7 and Villarreal rattled the 9 in the final game.
"It's such a big match, and I was trying so hard to make up for last year," said the top-ranked Corr, referring to the 2001 BCA finale in which missed on the 8 ball in the deciding rack against eventual champ Jeanette Lee. "I could tell the match was going to be a struggle, and I kept trying not to panic."
For Villarreal, making her first title-match appearance in more than two years, the manner in which she lost the match left her in tears.
"I hurt so much to lose that way," said the theatric Texan, whose parents, brother and longtime coach were in the packed Riviera Ballroom stands. "I told Karen I wish she had just run the final two racks."
The win is Corr's second consecutive in, having recently captured the WPBA Veijas Classic. Villarreal earned $7,500 as runnerup.
Corr battled through a mistake-prone match to beat Vivian Villarreal in the women's final.
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