Van Boening Eclipses Alcano, Claims 32nd U.S. Open Title
13-10 finals victory clinches 9-ball’s most coveted crown for the pride of South Dakota
by Paul Berg, Inside POOL Magazine Staff
The journey literally began Sunday night, but in Shane Van Boening’s heart as an American pool player, tonight ends a quest that probably began as soon as he could draw his cue ball. The 24-year-old from Sioux Falls, SD, has had an impressive year, finishing runner-up at the Enjoypool.com event in Las Vegas and the World Summit of Pool in New York and snapping off the World 10-Ball Championship in Jacksonville, FL. Tonight, with a 13-10 finals defeat of reigning world 9-ball champ Ronato Alcano, Van Boening has become the 32nd Annual U.S. Open 9-ball champion.
With four players of the original 233 entrants remaining at the start of the day, Van Boening faced Japan’s Tomoki Mekari in the final of the winners’ bracket. Van Boening had already defeated Sylver Ochoa, Chad Pike, Sparky Ferrell, Marcus Chamat, Ronnie Wiseman, and Corey Deuel before booking his ticket to the hot seat match with an 11-4 dispatching of Alcano in their first meeting. Facing Mekari, Van Boening jumped out to a 5-0 lead amidst mistakes from the Japanese. Mekari rallied with a pair of lucked-in 9 balls, the last an out-and-out miss of a straight-in shot that found another pocket. Mekari broke and ran to draw within two, and while Van Boening kept him down, Mekari broke and ran out late in the match to tie it 9-9. Mekari missed a fateful attempt at a 1-8 combination in the next, and Van Boening left him in his chair from there, clearing and breaking and running out for an 11-9 entrance to the single race-to-13 finals.
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As they were playing, Alcano was making short work of the only remaining past Open winner. Ralf “The Surgeon” Souquet played exceptionally well throughout the week, but facing Alcano, he missed far more often and fell 11-3 to land in fourth place. Mekari was next on the lanky Filipino’s chopping block, as Alcano gained another large early lead, later breaking and running twice consecutively to reach the hill to Mekari’s paltry two wins. Alcano won 11-5 from there, Mekari’s last bit of fight enough to earn a slightly better final score and a third-place finish.
In a rematch with Van Boening, Alcano’s soft cut break gradually became as ineffective as it had in their previous match. While Van Boening lost his early 3-2 edge, he stayed with Alcano, missing only three balls to Alcano’s impressive total of two for the entire match, retaking the lead at 9-8. With a pivotal roll up 10-9, Van Boening attempting to jump to bank the 2 ball and instead kicking behind it and landing the cue ball in jail for Alcano, the South Dakotan took an 11-9 lead. His version of the soft cut break dropped four balls in the next, and Van Boening ran out to reach the hill. While his scratch on the next break gave Alcano a tenth win, the Filipino’s dry break in the next gave Van Boening a run-out to savor, and he took his time polishing off the 13-10 triumph.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
With the conclusion of play, promoter Barry Behrman handed Van Boening his oversized $50,000 check amidst a champagne toast and fan revelry.