Qlypmics Continues as Owen and Bartram Battle for 14 HoursLooming rematch seems likely in straight pool, upsets shake 10-ball event
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Play started back up in the second set of two U.S. Open events contested at the Qlympics in Louisville, KY, today, but not before a late-night session drained a pair of competitors. Starting at two Sunday afternoon and grinding until four AM Monday, Gabe “The Babe” Owen and Chris “Dante” Bartram set the stakes at $7,000 for a twelve-ahead set in 10-ball, the Columbus, OH, road player getting the last two from 2005 U.S. Open 9-Ball champ Owen. TheActionReport crew filmed and broadcast the epic struggle, which ended with a settlement.
Owen was able to end up six games ahead giving Bartram the last two, and they squared up for half the posted cash in time to get a little rest before the U.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship bracket was drawn up from a scant 18 players. John “Mr. 403” Schmidt and Danny “The Springfield Flash” Harriman are at opposite ends of the bracket and seem likely to rumble to the finals and reprise their match from The First All-Around Action Challenge last week. The races are to 150 points in the tournament, as opposed to the mighty 400-ball test that Schmidt won over Harriman, but with great confidence in his new cue courtesy of sponsor OB-1 that he first hit balls with during a mammoth new high run of 403 set at Q-Master Billiards II just before the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in Virginia last month, Schmidt will be watched as the clear favorite.
While Schmidt was the winner of the 10-ball event at the recent Great Southern Classic II in Atlanta, his path in the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship here will be a bit rougher. Huidji See got into town last night and was jumped on by action hounds Eric Durbin and Will Peay, but both booked loser against the big up and comer. See held an 8-4 lead against Schmidt, and while the 2006 U.S. Open 9-ball champion rallied to a tie at nine games each in the alternate-break format, Schmidt scratched on the subsequent break and was relegated to the chair. Clearing those ten balls and smashing in three in the next rack, See finished the break and run for the 11-9 stunner.
While his next match in the Clarion Conference Center will offer Schmidt a chance at revenge in straight pool, See will play in the last four on the winners’ side in 10-Ball against Louis Ulrich, who is looking in form and merciless. Cincinatti, OH, young gun Shannon Murphy came back from a 7-2 deficit facing Bartram. While Bartram managed to hold a tenuous 10-8 lead, he never got the chance to get off the hill, Murphy running out a dry break to catch him 10-10 and breaking and running for the case game victory.
Rounding out the undefeated ranks, Murphy will play Rafael Martinez-Chavez, who stopped Jason Miller 11-6. Miller was coming off an 11-9 win over Owen, and with the absence of many other high finishers from the U.S. Open One Pocket and Full Rack Banks events last week, those two are in the best position to claim the all-around bonus. With a small field of 18 in the 10-Ball event as well, despite the obvious dearth of international players drawn away by the World Pool Championships in Manila, there are questions as to where all the uninvited Americans are.
“We’re very disappointed with the turnout,” event organizer and BCAPL head Mark Griffin said. With $5,000 added to each of these events, Griffin cited lengthy advertisement and flyer campaigns for the fledgling offering of these events under the Qlympics umbrella and expressed uncertainty as to where to go from here. “I want to know where the communication breakdown is between us and the players,” Griffin said.
While they are few, the combatants are of high quality, and there is plenty of outstanding pool left to be played in Louisville. Keep your eyes on InsidePOOLmag.com for all of the latest from the Qlympics, as U.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool and 10-Ball play continues through Friday, and Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland begin The Action Challenge II race to 100 in 10-ball later this week.