Straight Pool Hot Seat Belongs to OwenMartinez and See remain in 14.1; 10-ball draws to a close tonight at Qlymics
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Unheralded in the discipline and never having run 100 balls, Gabe Owen has made the U.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship final without a loss. With a 50 and out, Owen took the winners’ final from Rafael Martinez-Chavez 150-95, putting him in his second U.S. Open event final at the Qlympics in Louisville, KY. Huidji See has come back from a defeat at Owen’s hands with the high run of the tournament against Danny “The Springfield Flash” Harriman and a second upending of John “Mr. 403” Schmidt to reach tomorrow’s semifinal against Martinez, where the winner will move on to one 200-point match with Owen for the title.
Owen began with a run of 23 and then one of 46 when Martinez only mustered one ball to lead 69-1, but mixing in ball denial with runs of his own, Martinez was able to rally to a 100-95 deficit. While he successfully pocketed his break ball at that point, Martinez was left without a straight-in shot and slammed a combination off the mark while scratching off the stack to give Owen the last opening he would need. Owen carefully bridged across each rack to follow on his way to the clinching 50-ball string.
Coming up from the one-loss side last night, See broke out a run of 143 against Harriman from an early deficit, and while Harriman managed to get to 77 there, See claimed the remaining seven balls to stop any notion of a comeback there. Facing Schmidt today, See fell behind to an initial 49-ball run from the reigning Legends of Straight Pool champ, but with another lengthy run mid-match, he took a 146-92 lead that would hold up when Schmidt scratched kissing into the pack a second time off a break shot. Schmidt conceded the five balls See needed for a 150-104 triumph that brings him back against Martinez tomorrow.
The remainder of tonight’s play will be in the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship, which will draw to a close tonight. See will face Cincinatti, OH, 22-year-old comer Shannon Murphy in the winners’ final, the young sharpshooter hot off a $2,000 win in last night’s ring game put on by TheActionReport. While Murphy reached 13 games first in the lengthy six-man ordeal, fellow participants Louis Ulrich and Joonas Ohtonen came back this morning to play on the one-loss side of the tournament. Ohtonen’s long trip to the States from Finland has finally gotten the best of him, as he quit down 7-0 to Atlanta’s Ulrich, having come up hooked for the 3 ball and ready to settle for a fifth-place tie with Owen, who himself fell 11-9 to Martinez last night before exacting his revenge in a different game today.
Ulrich and Martinez will play alongside the hot seat match, the loser claiming fourth place. The four remaining players will settle the 10-ball title tonight, while reigning world 10-ball champion Shane Van Boening begins a race to 100 at that game with Earl Strickland in The Action Challenge II. Check back with InsidePOOLmag.com later to see if Van Boening can get out of the gate as well as he did against Corey Deuel in his win in The First Action Challenge, as well as for results from the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship at the Qlympics.