US Open Champions Top Qlympics Podiums
Chohan holds Owen off in one-pocket, Brumback up-ends Miller in banks
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Taking center stage at the Qlympics in Louisville, KY, Tony “T-Rex” Chohan and Kentucky favorite John Brumback have claimed the first two of four U.S. Open billiards titles up for grabs in the Clarion Conference Center. Chohan brought his aggressive style of one-pocket past Shannon Daulton to claim the hot seat in the one-pocket event last night, and he stopped the charge of Gabe Owen in the second race to four of a true double-elimination final. Brumback came from the one-loss side after a lackluster performance against Jason Miller yesterday in the winners’-bracket banks final, getting past Brian Gregg in today’s semifinal before beating Miller twice in a row for the crown.
Chohan and Daulton engaged in a slug-fest of powerful bankers and smart aggressive play, but Chohan caught better rolls as Daulton bobbled a few more opportunities on his way to winning the first three games by progressively larger margins. “The Cannon” fought back, joining the shootout with two run-out wins of his own, but “T-Rex” reasserted himself there. Daulton ran five balls off of Chohan’s break, trailing three games to two, but had to survive the Sacramento native and Detroit resident’s kicking prowess in the subsequent shot. Chohan hung that kick attempt up, and Daulton didn’t clear the first ball in a combination at it from the hole. Seven and out dealt Daulton his first loss, the 8-5 win securing a 4-2 ticket to the finals for Chohan.
Owen worked last night to get a chance at Daulton in the semifinals. With a convincing 4-2 win over mastermind Rafael Martinez-Chavez and another by the same score over capable Sergio Perez, Owen looked prime to roar back from his first defeat at Daulton’s hands. While Owen is a less risk-oriented player, he showed spurts of strong offense against fourth-place finisher Perez, who had left all-around threat Miller in fifth place the match before but succumbed to an explosive two-inning loss in the midst of three opening wins for Owen and finally an eight and out to finish the night’s play.
The reigning Music City 9-Ball champ, Owen was known as a one-pocket threat well before claiming a U.S. Open 9-Ball crown in 2005. Despite a weak break that kept showing Daulton opening shots, Owen was able to take the first three games of the semifinal. While Daulton earned an 8 to -1 reprieve in the next, it was his only glimmer of hope to add another title to his impressive one-pocket resume. Daulton would settle for third place after an awesome 8-7 win for Owen, a classic game that carried Owen to the final. Daulton’s fourth-place finish in banks makes him an interesting candidate against other all-around contenders, but “The Cannon” has a tournament to run on his Great Southeastern 9-Ball Tour this week and will be absent for the 10-ball and straight pool events that start next Monday.
Chohan waited for Owen, who, by virtue of a 4-3 win, forced a second set. From a tie at one, Chohan’s aggressive play stopped generating opportunities for Owen and suddenly ended games in Chohan’s favor. With stunning shows of fearless firepower, Chohan swept the next three games 8-1, 8-0, and 8-1. The 4-1 victory finally validates the backroom conviction in Chohan’s amazing potential in all games, and perhaps maturity and seasoning have made the young “Cha-Ching” a new tournament threat.
While Chohan forfeited his first round in banks and surged back to the edge of the money with a seventh-place finish, established masters of the game were in position today. Gregg is from across the Ohio River in Indianapolis, and Miller is from Dayton, OH, but the Midwest bank eminence resides in Kentucky. Brumback overcame Gregg 3-1, the final game of long-rack banks a fine 8-7 shooter’s duel.
Miller had ruined Brumback’s one-pocket tournament the night before in a match determining a seventh-place tie. Facing 2006 World All-Around champion Miller in the final, the perennial high Derby City Banks finisher and former Lexington All-Stars Banks champ took the first game, only to watch Miller come to life. Down three balls to one in the second game, Miller rained down cross-side shots in a run of six banks on his way to an 8-3 equalizer. Forced by the rules of the tournament to break open, Miller took it to heart for the rest of the afternoon, this time making four balls on the break, running four banks, and slopping a fifth attempt into a different pocket. Five balls spotted surrounding the cue ball, and Brumback fought his way to a 6-3 deficit despite two scratches. Miller stopped him there and reached the hill first, but it would be his last win of the day.
With an 8-2 win that saw Miller finally miss a few, Brumback joined him on the hill, and Miller seemed to lose momentum there, missing banks he normally shoots a high percentage on repeatedly and allowing Brumback shots. The avid hunter found his prey this day, his familiar waggles and repeated adjustments lining up true shots on the way to an 8-2 win that ended the first set 3-2.
The wheels seemed to come off for Miller a second time, as he held a 7-6 lead in the first game of the second set with Brumback. He scratched on a cross-side, and Brumback mustered an 8-6 win from there. While Brumback’s break was often dry, Miller always made a ball but missed in game two, and Brumback ran four banks to open. Miller never looked the same, and Brumback stayed steady, winning 8-1 for a 2-0 lead. With the score tied at three in the next rack, Miller showed Brumback a cross-side that he never looked back from, running five and out for the 3-0 win and the U.S. Open Banks victory.
While the professional open tournaments resume Monday, TheActionReport.com’s Action Challenge 2 is underway. Class acts John “Mr. 403” Schmidt and Danny “The Springfield Flash” Harriman played a race to 400 balls in straight pool last night, the first in a three-leg all-around contest, ten grand a man. Harriman led Schmidt early on, but with a high run of 114 balls, Schmidt jumped back into contention. Trailing Harriman 310-305, Schmidt ran 67, the last a pocketed break ball that he was unhappy with and missed the touchy subsequent slow-roller. Harriman only managed to claim the thirteen balls remaining on the table to trail 372-323, making tough shots late with no classic break ball available.
When Harriman missed the ensuing break shot, Schmidt ran through the next two racks to claim a 400-323 win. Currently, the two are playing a race to ten in one-pocket, with 10-ball coming tomorrow night. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for all the latest from the Qlympics in Louisville, as this weekend the BCAPL 8-Ball Team Championships bring league play back to the fore.