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02-11-2005, 08:26 AM
Page not as sharp in return

By Travis Sawchik, Rocky Mount Telegram

Friday, February 11, 2005

Wilson's Jennifer Page was not as unsettled as she thought she would be Thursday in the first round of the Carolina Women's Billiard Classic.

Still, Page was nervous.

She had not played in a tournament since 2001, and she found herself pitted against Monica Webb, the Women's Professional Billiard Association's fifth-ranked player.

In the opening series, Page cleared the first eight balls in the 9-ball game and had set up what appeared to be an very makable shot on the nine ball, the final ball lying on the green felt.

With the ball in great striking position, Page lost out to her nervous energy as it took control of her cue stick's motion and nudged the ball slightly offline. The 9-ball rimmed out from the corner pocket and cost Page early momentum.

While Page did win the second game, Webb won the match 9-1 and sent Page to the one-loss bracket where she will take on Tina Larsen today at 12:45 p.m.

"I thought I held my composure pretty well," Page said. "I try to tell myself all the time that I'm playing in a weekly tournament, to forget about all these professional people (I'm) playing ... to get nervous energy off me."

Page imagined she was at Sharks-N-Shooters, her usual billiard home court. But the competition was much different Thursday.

Webb was as precise as a surgeon and carefully planned her shots in advance while controlling the cue ball masterfully.

"I was pretty satisfied with the way I'm playing," Page said. "I didn't show it in that match. I'm playing pretty good for only being given a month to practice."

Page entered the tournament the only one of the eight WPBA events that will not be held in a casino this year via the lone sponsor's exemption.

Tony Davis, the CEO of PrimeQuest, which is based in Rocky Mount, met her two months ago and decided to give the exemption after watching her play.

"There was not much I could (teach) her," Davis said.

Page has played in professional tournaments before, and even gave current No. 1 ranked Allison Fisher a challenge during a 9-4 loss in 1999.

But Page put billiards on hold during her pregnancy in 2002.

So, whether Page makes a run today in the one-loss bracket seems to be a secondary issue. She is just pleased to be back.

"It's great," Page said.

Travis Sawchik can be reached at 407-9950 or tsawchik@coxnews.com