Qlympics Hosts Elite in First Two of Four US Open Billiards Events
Three bankers remain, eight contend for one-pocket title
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Despite a turnout hampered by the World 9-Ball Championships currently in progress in Manila, top bank pool and one-pocket players have survived to the latter stages of U.S. Open events in their billiards disciplines at the Qlympics. Moving these events to the Clarion Hotel Conference Center in Louisville, KY, from their home in Las Vegas for a number of years has brought more of the premier bankers from the Midwest into a tight field of 36, and two-time Derby City 9-Ball Banks division winner Jason Miller stands alone undefeated in the U.S. Open bank pool tournament. Unlike his triumphs across town at the Derby, Miller has had to display excellence in a full rack of 15 balls, adding more strategy to go along with his firepower.
The 2006 World All-Around champion from Dayton, OH, finished a run through the winners’ bracket that began Monday, defeating Owenton, KY, master John Brumback in the hot seat match this afternoon. Brumback missed far more often than usual in the 3-0 loss and will look to bounce back facing Indianapolis’ Brian Gregg in the semifinal tomorrow.
Gregg notched victories over tough contenders Ike Runnells and Rafael Martinez Chavez before taking his first loss to Miller, and on the one-loss side today he eliminated Tony “T-Rex” Chohan 3-1 and then Shannon “The Cannon” Daulton by the same score in the quarterfinal match. Gregg and Daulton have been fast friends ever since Gregg’s phenomenal comeback to win the $3,000-a-man banks ring game at the 2005 Derby City Classic and had an entertaining and blisteringly offensive bout. While past winner of this event Daulton took the first game, Gregg prevailed in the next, and after Daulton narrowly missed the 12 ball straight back with the score at seven balls each, Gregg sliced it perfectly cross-corner from the opposite end rail for a crucial 8-7 win to get a 2-1 lead. Daulton’s break was empty in the next, and Gregg pounced, running five banks in his first inning on the way to an 8-1 closer that left Somerset, KY-born Daulton in fourth place.
This evening will determine the final three in the U.S. Open One-Pocket competition as well, as eight remain from a field of 36. Daulton will face Chohan in the winners’-bracket final a little later. Each has trampled an impressive path thus far: Chohan with wins over Greg Sullivan, Chris Bartram, and Gabe Owen, and Daulton defeating Runnells, Gregg, young Cincinnati standout Shannon Murphy, and finally Sergio Perez.
Still alive on the B-side, Brumback and Miller will have another match today, playing one-hole this time with the loser settling for a tie for seventh place and the winner moving on to face Perez. Bartram is also still kicking and will play Rafael Martinez-Chavez for a shot at Owen.
The last three in each event will come back for the finale tomorrow, while U.S. Open competition in 10-ball and straight pool will begin Monday. If that wasn’t enough, the first of two $10,000 challenge matches begins tonight, with John Schmidt playing Danny Harriman in an all-around battle of one-pocket, straight pool, and 10-ball over three days. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for all of the latest from the Qlympics in Louisville.