Daulton, Shuff, Immonen Notch Wins at U.S. Open
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
In the 7 p.m. winners’-bracket round, strong Northeast player Brandon Shuff took on Ryan Stone in a tight match that almost went double-hill. Shuff took an early lead but Stone tied it up and then took a 4-2 lead with the 9 ball going in on the snap. The score seesawed to 6-all when Shuff took the reins and won the next three racks in a row. A dry break put Stone one rack nearer, but Stone had no shot on the 1 ball after his next break, and Shuff cleared to reach the hill. He scratched on his following break, though, and Stone got another game under his belt to make it 10-8. A foul by Shuff gave Stone ball in hand, and Stone ran out. However, Stone didn’t come up with a playable shot after his last break, and he tried to play safe but left a shot for Shuff, who ran out for the 11-9 win.
Mika Immonen is making a strong bid for the winner’s circle. He was matched up with Florida’s Donnie Mills and took a commanding lead, running the first four racks. Mills started fighting back when his break started working and brought the score to 10-8. In the last game, Immonen played a formidable safety on the 2, and Mills was forced to attempt a jump shot, which he missed. With ball in hand, Immonen cleared the last rack to win 11-8.
Defending champion Shane Van Boening took on Ernesto Dominguez on the Accu-Stats table, with neither player giving up an inch. Filled with defensive play galore, the match finally arrived at 8-7 in Van Boening’s favor. At that point, Van Boening sped ahead, winning the next three racks in a row.
Texas’ Sylver Ochoa, who finished ninth in 2005’s event, stayed even throughout his match with Sweden’s Marcus Chamat until the score reached 8 apiece. Ochoa missed a safety on the 4 ball, and to his surprise, Chamat cleared that rack and ran the next two to win the match 11-8.
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In the 9 p.m. rounds, Josh Lewis of Daytona, FL, came back from a 6-0 start against Filipino straight-shooter Warren Kiamco. His breaks started working well for him, and once he was able to get a shot after the break, he came back to defeat Kiamco 11-9.
Darren Appleton, newly crowned 10-ball world champion, took down Ismael “Morro” Paez. Appleton had an early lead throughout and, leading 4-1, played a safe on the 4. Paez elected to bank the 4 cross-corner and the cue ball ended up caroming in the 9 to draw within two racks. A couple of misses by Paez brought the score to 6-3 in Appleton’s favor. Paez won another game after Appleton played won a safety match on the 4 ball, but it was not enough, as Appleton took the next five racks in a row to win the match 11-4.
Favorite Filipino Francisco Bustamante had an early lead against Imran Majid, who has been dominating the Great Britain 9-Ball Tour. With Bustamante up 8-6 in the race to 11, Majid was undaunted and came back to run the next four racks to reach the hill 10-8. Bustamante was faced with playing a safety on the 2, and he received ball in hand to run the table. Another safety battle saw Majid reach the hill, but after trading defensive moves on the 2 ball, Bustamante cleared to win their match 11-10.
Former world champion Ronnie Alcano matched up with U.S. Bar Table champion Mitch Ellerman in a fairly even match. At hill-hill, Ellerman played a two-way bank shot on the 1 ball, hooking Alcano. After some consideration, Alcano played a masse, coming two rails between the 3 and 4 for perfect shape on the 2 ball, which he made to run out for the 11-10 win.
Shannon “The Cannon” Daulton came through in fine fashion in his evening match, racing to a 10-0 lead against Beau Runningen. He came up with a dry break in the eleventh rack, and Daulton scratched on the 6 ball, giving Runningen ball in hand and the rack. Although Runningen was able to win another game, it was not enough to withstand “The Cannon,” as he took the match 11-2.
In the featured match-up at 11 p.m., CJ Wiley and Jeremy Jones matched up on the televised table. It was touch and go from the start to the finish. In the last rack at hill-hill, Jones had poor position on the 6 ball and still made it but left himself tough on the 7-8 combo. He made the combo and then had a tough shot on the 7 ball and had to go uptable to get position on the 9, which wasn’t a “give-me” but he still made it to advance.
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