Seminole Pro Tour / Cape Coral, FL
by Raymond Linares
The former world 10-ball champion, Shane Van Boening, asserted his dominance over a world-class field at the Seminole Pro Tour’s August 14-16 stop at Diamond Billiards in Cape Coral, FL. Amongst world champions in multiple disciplines, “The South Dakota Kid” showed that his skill set is ultimate in the game of 10-ball with his hill-hill defeat of Mika Immonen in the finals.
With an undefeated trek to the finals, Van Boening conquered Louie Smith 7-2, James Roberts 7-1, Neil Fujiwara 8-2, Larry Nevel 8-2, and Immonen 8-5 in the hot seat match. Securing a shot at his first Seminole Pro Tour championship, Van Boening then awaited the victor of a powerful one-loss-side bracket.
On the west side Larry “The Truth” Nevel was clearing a path straight for the title, eliminating Johnny Archer 8-3 and Steve Moore 8-2. But Nevel would fall one game short of a shot at the title, as he succumbed to “Iceman” in an epic hill-hill battle.
The finals were set, pitting the same finalists from the previous week’s Mezz Classic—Van Boening and Immonen. The two exchanged heavy body blows early on, but it was Van Boening who started pulling away. Leading 6-4 and looking like he was going to cruise to victory, Van Boening missed a makeable 6 ball. This allowed Immonen to close the gap to 6-5, proving to be a key game.
In the twelfth game, both players jockeyed back and forth for control of this crucial game. It looked like Van Boening would be the one to blink first after he attempted a kick-safety; however, the 4 ball that hung in the jaws of the hungry pocket was unkind to Immonen. After pocketing the long-distance 4, the Finn scratched in the opposite corner pocket.
Behind 7-5, it seemed that frustration was beginning to take its icy grip over Immonen, and he was forced to sit and watch as Van Boening took control of the match. But Immonen’s championship-level talent would not allow him to go out without a fight. He made a great run-out in the next rack after a failed safety attempt by Van Boening and then came with a crusher of a break, but he was unable to come up with a clean shot on the 1 and was forced to play safe.
Immonen earned that rack after a safety battle to make it 8-7 Van Boening, and his following break forced Van Boening into shooting a bank on the 1. The cue ball perfectly caromed the 4 downtable and simultaneously opened up the rack for a run-out. The entire tournament rested on one rack—one game for the title.
The final rack ended with Immonen breaking. With bated breath the crowd waited to see if he could complete the rally and win the tournament. Unfortunately for Immonen, his break did not bring him any rewards. Van Boening jumped up from the chair and with the cool, collected demeanor that has garnered him such success, he ran out the rack to claim the well-deserved title of champion.
1st Shane Van Boening $3,000
2nd Mika Immonen $2,000
3rd Larry Nevel $1,500
4th Steve Moore $1,000
5th Johnny Archer $700
7th Mike Davis $500
9th Yu Ram Cha $350
13th Jerry Calderon $250