Our newest premier event, the Montana Invitational, was finally launched April 24th. The late addition of a satellite tournament, the Spring Showdown, caused some hectic last minute searching for a site large enough to seat an estimated maximum of 20 players. As it turned out, Bill McBroom generously offered the services of the University of Missoula. As it also turned out, a low turnout of players emerged from the rafters anyway to swoop down on a great opportunity, that of qualifying for a spot in the State Closed Championship.
Director Greg (the Octopus) Nowak observed that all the players had a great time in this competitive event. Many of the games were exciting and almost resulted in upsets by the lower-rated players.
David Duke from Billings gave a determined effort throughout the tournament, but an equally determined Mike Jensen kept the balance. Both players were tied with three points apiece at the finish, but Jensen, a past state champion, won the right on tiebreaks to compete inthe 6-person Closed to be held in October. It was nice to have David back in the arena -- this editor sure isn't eager to be paired against him at this year’s Open, because David is sure to have the “eye of the tiger.”
Rudy Katzl, Mike Stubblefield and Rick Stuckey all took home some cash, while Dave "Mrs. Folgers" Shughart had time between refilling the coffee pot to play one of the most exciting games of his life against Jensen in the last round.
Rick Stuckey also had David down for the count, but Lady Luck was the referee that day and Duke won the battle.