DECATUR - At age 51, Jeannie Vogelsang considers it "awesome" to play pool in Decatur.
She's good at it. She's the only woman in the top-rated Triple Play League on Tuesday night at Starship Billiards.
And she has another distinction: She'll be playing this weekend in the women's division of the U.S. Amateur Championship in Tampa, Fla., conducted by the American Poolplayers Association.
The double elimination event is a combination of 8-ball and 9-ball matches. Sixteen players are entered, including 2008 champion Amy Chen of Norcross, Ga., after qualifying in regional tournaments. Vogelsang qualified in Addison in September after a summer of practice.
In the tournament final, Vogelsang came from behind to upset Tina Larsen of Palatine, two-time U.S. Amateur champion. "It looked like she would never miss," Vogelsang said. "She finally did and I put in some strong shots."
Vogelsang began playing pool in 1976 at age 17. She was a rapid learner.
While living in the Peoria area, she played in pro tournaments in Chicago, Memphis and Davenport, Iowa, and won the Peoria women's city 8-ball championship. She also has played three-cushion billiards and was an instructor for the Billiard Congress of America.
Out of action for eight years, she resumed competing about 18 months ago. "I'm having the time of my life," she declared while practicing 9-ball strokes. "My second career is in Decatur."
She plays mostly 9-ball these days. This will be her first appearance in the U.S. Amateur.
The American Poolplayers Association leagues in the Decatur area are operated by Kim and Bruce Jones. For information, call 864-1274 or e-mail email@example.com.