Owen and Martinez March through U.S. Open Straight PoolWinners’ final set, four will return in 14.1 as 10-ball joins one-loss play at Qlympics
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
In unbeaten fashion, Gabe Owen and Rafael Martinez-Chavez have taken command of the U.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship at the Clarion Conference Center in Louisville, KY. Joining further one-loss bracket play with matches that will determine the other half of the final four, gladiators with eyes on the final five in U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship have also begun play on the Diamond tables at the Qlympics. One match determining a fifth-place tie in the latter event will wait until tomorrow, as both participants have posted $250 for a special six-man 10-ball ring game tonight to round out the cue-sporting festivities.
Owen ended the undefeated performance of Huidji See in both events with a sound 150-38 victory this afternoon. Martinez would have a harder-fought victory over Jason Miller, the Dayton, OH, all-around great coming back from an 85-65 deficit. With a run of 49 balls, Miller took a 122-86 lead, but with a chance to close the door later up 140-113, a surprising miss relegated Miller to spectator status. Martinez cleared the remaining eight balls and found one to split the rack apart with. With an amazing recovery of position, a full-cue jump with draw to a slammed combination to clear up traffic along the foot rail, Martinez extended his run to 22 balls with a great break shot to the last 15 he would need. He cleared those calmly to complete the 150-140 victory, 37 and out.
There are still matters to settle on the B-side of the chart, but everyone left has made the money. Californian Jim Mendoza came up a match short, falling to the charge of John “Mr. 403” Schmidt, who took a strong early lead with a run of 65 and closed a 150-46 victory with another break of 55 and out. The 2003 Legends of Straight Pool winner Schmidt is currently in a match with Miller that will leave the loser in a tie for fifth place and bring the winner back tomorrow to face either See or Danny Harriman.
Harriman traded the lead with Shannon Murphy throughout his previous match, neither player able to break into a third consecutive rack with any great result as the match reached the latter stages. In the end, a Murphy miss of a tricky back-cut after a funny break ball left Harriman 30 and out for a 150-124 win. Having left one half of the 10-ball winners’ bracket final pairing in a tie for seventh place, Harriman will try to stop the other half in fifth, See a formidable foe with a second-place finish in this year’s World Straight Pool Championship.
Owen has been busy in both tournaments this week and attempts to keep his 10-ball hopes alive against young Jason Klatt of Winnipeg, the loser stuck just outside the payout window with a tie for seventh place, and the winner moving on to face Martinez later tonight. In the other match determining a seventh-place finish, Dee Adkins and Joonas Ohtonen played a little early to make the 7:30 start time of TheActionReport’s interesting 10-ball ring game tonight, which both will participate for $250 a man. Ohtonen held on to a 10-6 lead for an 11-10 victory.
Louis Ulrich will play Ohtonen in the tournament tomorrow morning but is also in action with a shot at a $2,000 winner-take-all pot, with six entrants and $500 kindly added by Greg Sullivan of Diamond Billiards Products. While the race-to-100 10-ball showdown between Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland that starts tomorrow night will be pay-per-view, this evening’s offering can be viewed for free on the web. Rounding out the field in that race to 13 for the cash will be Murphy, Chris Bartram, and Adam Behnke. Check back with InsidePOOLmag.com later tonight for an update on those proceedings, as well as results from the remainder of U.S. Open events play from the Qlympics.