Jonas Luz ousted fellow Brazilian Fabinho 5-4 in a gripping final to win the 2023 Pan American Snooker Championship held at the Rio de Janeiro Yacht Club.
Victory for the 37-year-old from Esteio-RS means he will be nominated for a two-year professional World Snooker Tour card.
Organised by World Snooker Federation member the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA), this year’s event featured players from Canada, the United States of America, Mexico and the host nation Brazil. The entrants were drawn into eight round robin groups of five, with the top two from each pool qualifying for the concluding knockout rounds.
Luz finished second in Group 8 having won three of his four matches; his only defeat coming against former professional and table topper Itaro Santos (Brazil).
The eventual champion survived a deciding frame finish as he came from behind to defeat recent Pan American Seniors Championship finalist Zico (Brazil) 3-2 in the last 16 before a more comfortable 3-0 success against Charlie Brown (Canada) in the quarter-finals.
On Finals Day in the last four, Luz pipped Rafinha (Brazil) on the colours in the deciding frame for a 4-3 win.
Emerging from the other side of the draw was 41-year-old Fabinho who didn’t drop a single frame as he came top of his group and then dispatched Ajeya Prabhakar (USA) 3-0 in the last 16.
In the last eight, Fabinho produced a big upset as he eliminated pre-tournament favourite Igor Figueiredo (Brazil).
Ex-professional Figueiredo – winner of this tournament in 2019 – was going for a title double in Rio having won the Seniors category earlier in the week. Things were going according to plan for the 46-year-old as he compiled a 114 clearance in the opening frame of his quarter-final tie, but Fabinho claimed the next three frames – including a break of 88 in frame three – for a memorable 3-1 win.
Fabinho then ended the hopes of Daniel Holoyda (USA) 4-0 in the semi-finals, top scoring with a 55. In the previous round, Holoyda – who has dual Polish-American citizenship – defeated Santos 3-0.
In the best of nine frames title match, Fabinho took the opening two frames on the colours but Luz responded (48 break, frame three) as he levelled up at 2-2 heading into the mid-session interval.
A 47 break from Fabinho in frame five looked like putting him back in front but Luz crafted a green to pink clearance to go ahead for the first time, although two efforts of 40 in frame six got the Paraná cueist back on level terms.
Luz went one up with two to play before Fabinho sent the contest all the way with a break of 54 in frame eight as he left his opponent pointless.
In a tense deciding frame for the title, whilst on a break of 43 Luz potted the third-to-last red – the ball that would leave his opponent needing a snooker – but went in-off at the same time. However, with that red ball now off the table, Fabinho needed penalty points, and his task was made even more difficult later on when he fluked a red that he didn’t want to pot. Luz later sank the final red to confirm the biggest accolade of his career to date and earn qualification to snooker’s professional circuit for the first time.
Results from the 2023 Pan American Snooker Championship