In an epic hill-hill match, John Schmidt eked out a 13-12 victory over Corey Deuel in the finals of the Diamond Open 10-Ball Professional Players Championship. Schmidt had been sent to the one-loss side by Deuel in the final four of the winners’ side Saturday evening and fought his way back to the finals in Sunday’s rounds.
The quarterfinal match kicked off the day’s events, with Schmidt and Charlie Bryant facing off. Though the match was fairly even at the beginning, Schmidt caught fire and quickly pulled ahead to an 8-4 lead. “Hillbilly” earned one more rack for himself after Schmidt missed a fairly easy 3 ball, but when Bryant played a weak safety on the 2 in the following rack, Schmidt cleared the table to reach the hill. Bryant had another chance to get back in the game when Schmidt badly missed the 4 ball in the side, but Bryant took a flyer at the cross-table bank and barely missed. With an open table, Schmidt ran out from there, winning 10-5.
Schmidt, who just recently won the one-pocket division at the Derby City Classic, remained on a tear in the semifinals against young gun Oscar Dominguez. He maintained a two-rack lead until mid-match, when Dominguez was able to bring the score to 6-5 Schmidt with a break and run-out. The latter half of the match saw some excellent and strong defensive moves by both players. Dominguez attempted to three-foul him, but Schmidt was able to escape and pull ahead 7-5 after a costly miss by Dominguez on the 10 ball. Dominguez looked to be in good shape in the next but hung the 8 ball in the corner pocket—fortunately for him, he hit the cue ball behind the 10. But Schmidt coolly kicked in the 8 and then rattled the 10 ball. Dominguez was left with a bank, which he missed, and then Schmidt closed out that rack. A quick combo on the 10 ball put Dominguez one rack closer, but his empty break in the following rack gave Schmidt the hill at 9-6. Schmidt had the break in the final rack, and though he barely escaped a scratch in the side after shooting the 2, he got back in line and dished up for a 10-6 victory.
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The final match was an extended race to 13, and Schmidt held the lead almost the entire way through. There were multiple empty breaks that affected both players, though, despite Deuel’s apparent mastery of the draw break. The biggest gap between the two came when Schmidt was up 8-5, but Deuel closed that quickly enough to make it 9-all. One more rack for each made it a race to 3, and then Deuel took the lead for the first time in the match when Schmidt broke dry. Things looked grim for Schmidt when Deuel took the next rack as well to reach the hill, but though Schmidt came up empty on the next break again, Deuel missed the 1 ball, and Schmidt cleared the table. Deuel scratched on the break in the following rack, and Schmidt played a tough put to make it a hill-hill battle and send the crowd into a flurry of excitement. Schmidt broke dry in the final rack, and Deuel was faced with a road map to get out. However, on his way the 5 ball skidded on him. Schmidt came back to the table for the last time and cleared the remaining balls for an impressive 13-12 win.
1st John Schmidt $20,000
2nd Corey Ceuel $7,000
3rd Oscar Dominguez $5,000
4th Charlie Bryant $4,000
5th Ralf Souquet $3,500
7th Al Lapena $3,000
9th Marcus Chamat $2,500
Shane Van Boening
13th Rodney Morris $2,250
17th Brandon Shuff $2,000