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Mello Crowned Regional Tour Champion
Mar 3, 2008, 12:33 PM

Mello managed to regroup on the one-loss side. (Photo by Roberta Case)
Over the weekend, 64 players with aspirations of playing full-time on the women's professional circuit decended on Spring Hill, Fla., for the WPBA Regional Tour Championship. Top players from every regional tour in the nation were eyeing the five paid entries into Classic Tour events in 2008 for the winner.

After dropping her third-round match, Susan Mello rattled off eight wins in a row on the left side to advance into the final. There, she topped Ellen Van Buren of Ladies Spirit Tour, 9-7, for the title.

Mello, a top player on the Arizona Women's Billiard Tour, took home $600 and the five paid WPBA qualifiers (a total value of $3,100). Van Buren pocketed $1,050 for her second-place performance.

On the winners' side, Mello had two tough matches to begin her tournament. She outlasted Dawn Fox and Debbie Schjodt with a pair of 7-5 victories to face Morgan Steinman. Ranked 40th on the WPBA, Steinman controlled the match from the start, sending Mello to the one-loss side by a 7-3 score.

Stringing together seven wins to work her way into the final, Mello allowed only one opponent past four games. In the left-side final, she eased past Corrine Johnson, 7-3.

Van Buren, who finished eighth in total points on the Ladies Spirit Tour in 2007, took the shortest road to the final. She won six matches in the winners' bracket, including a tight 7-5 win over Johnson for the hot-seat.

The final looked to be another no-doubter for Mello, as she stood on the hill, 8-4. Johnson, however, took the next three racks to close the gap to 8-7. But that was it for Johnson, as Mello cleaned up the next rack for the title.

2008 WPBA Regional Tour Championship:
1. Susan Mello $600 & Five paid qualifiers
2. Ellen Van Buren $1,050
3. Corrine Johnson $800
4. Stephanie Mitchell $600
5. (tie) Morgan Steinman, Cheryl Squire $450
7. (tie) Tina Hess, Kim Jones $325