Defending Champ Van Boening Dethroned
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
Shane Van Boening met with two-time runner-up Jose Parica on the Accu-Stats table in the evening rounds. Though Van Boening took the first two racks, the score fluctuated from there. At 5-3 Van Boening, Parica grabbed the next four racks in a row to take the lead. Unfazed, Van Boening won the next five racks to reach the hill. Parica fought back to make it 10-9, and then to everybody’s surprise, Van Boening missed a straight shot on the 8 ball for the win, which brought it to hill-hill. Parica pocketed three balls on his final break and almost made the 9 ball as well. After pocketing the 4 ball, he lined up for a three-ball carom on the 9 to win the match, sending the defending champion west.
Johnny Archer, another former winner of this event, was facing a 4-3 deficit in his match against Brandon Shuff, but a dry break by Shuff gave Archer an opportunity that he capitalized on to tie at 4-all and then break and run the next two. Shuff hooked himself on the 2 ball in the next, and Archer went up another game and then broke and ran the following, making the score 8-4. An exchange of safeties leads to an error by Archer, and Shuff took the next rack, but it was his last. Shuff hung the 7 in the following game, and Archer cleared that table and broke and ran the next two for the 11-5 win.
In one of the quickest winners’-side matches of the evening, Mika “Iceman” Immonen put Shawn Putnam on ice with his incredible break and excellent defensive play. After Putnam won the first rack, Immonen took utter control of the match and won 11 in a row to take the match.
View the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship tournament brackets (updated after each round)
See the 2008 U.S. Open live
One of the featured one-loss side match-ups for Thursday night’s rounds was between two former Open champions, Corey “Cash Money” Deuel and Earl Strickland. Though he held a strong early 4-0 lead, Strickland quickly was facing a tied score 6-all. At that point, tournament promoter and founder Barry Behrman approached Strickland and asked him to remove his headphones. The players traded the next six racks, with the score arriving at 9 apiece. Strickland broke dry, and Deuel cleared the table to reach the hill.
There was a bit of controversy when Strickland asked Deuel to re-rack the balls, but Deuel pushed after his next break and Strickland gave the option back. Deuel played defense, but Strickland kicked and made the wired 1-9 combo to make it hill-hill. A dry break by Strickland led to a safety battle on the 1 that saw Deuel eventually pocket it, but Deuel then tried for and missed a combination attempt on the 5-9. A miss on the 5 by Strickland gave Deuel a free hand at the table, which he ran to win 11-10.
Also in the one-loss side, newly crowned 10-ball champion Darren Appleton matched up against Donnie Mills. Appleton held the early 6-2 lead but watched as Mills started to climb back into the match. Mills reached the hill with Appleton still at 9. Appleton broke and scratched, which led to a safety skirmish over the 3 ball. Appleton went for an aggressive shot and missed, leaving Mills with a clear table to run out, winning 11-9.
Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news in the sport of billiards and pool.