Brusnwick Metro Korea International Championships Day 1 and 2

Defending Champion Mika Immonen lost a heartbreaker

This years event drew a record number of Japanese players as 25 Japanese players attended the event for Stage 1 and Stage 2. This added to the intense rivalry between Korea and Japan. On top of this were the foreign stars from Germany, Finland, USA, China, and England.

Japan's two billiard associations were represented at the event which are the JBC (Japan Billiard Council) and the JPBA (Japan Pocket Billiard Association). JBC is known for such events as the Tokyo 9 Ball Finals and players such as Hiroshi Takenaka, Go Takami, and Miyuki Sakai while JPBA is known for All Japan Championships and players like Kunihiko Takahashi and Hisashi Kusano.

Stage 1 qualifying rounds had the majority of the Korean players qualifying, taking 12 spots in the mens with 4 spots going to Japanese players. On the womens side, all 3 spots went to Korea including up and coming sensation 18 year old Eun Ji Park.

Day 2 saw half the Koreans advance and about half the Japanese players advance. Mika Immonen, Charlie Williams, Ralph Eckert, Lee Chenman also advanced on the mens side while Tina Meraglio and Miyuki Sakai were the only foreigners to advance on the womens side. Round 2 was next and once again the Korean women showed their dominance eliminating the foreigners from the winners side. 2005 KPT Player of the Year Sung Hyun Jung edged Japan's Junko Mituoka 7-6, Tina Meraglio defeated Japan's Hitomi Hijikata but then dropped a loss to Korea's Mi Sook Kwan 7-3. Korea's #1 Yuram Cha and #2 Yun Mi Lim advanced to the winners semi-finals unscathed.

Korea's legendary captain Shin Young Park defeated Japan's captain Shuji Nagata to advance into the next day. Korea #1 Young Hwa Jeong dropped a close 9-8 match to Korea's #4 Seung Woo Ryu. Charlie Williams avenged himself 9-5 against Korea's Sung Wook Choi who defeated him last year at the Korea Pro Tour Championships while young Filipino hopeful Roberto Gomez was getting a tough welcome into Korea by being eliminated by #5 KPT ranked Kun Jae Lee. Lee also eliminated Nagata the next match.

Hayato Hijikata, the 17 year old boy pool wiz from Japan, schooled his Korean opponent in the 1st round and then demolished So Shahirah from UK 9-1 the next match. Takenaka skimmed by China's Lee Chenman 9-8 while Kusano advanced to the final 16 with ease.

The big upset of the day was defending champion Mika Immonen losing 9-8 to unknown and unseeded Korean Hee Chul Kim. Immonen losing 8-4 down ran 4 racks to get to 8-8 but had a unlucky kicked cue ball scratch that left Kim an out for the win.

Thanks to Don Dorris, V.P. International Sales for Brunswick Billiards, and Joe Bruenning , Brunswick's top installation manager, for their special visit and meticulous assistance in making sure the Metro Tables were playing their absolute best.

The final day will be aired on MBC ESPN for 6 weeks and showcasing the world's best at the elegant Koryo Hotel in Bucheon Seoul .