From Two Hundred to Two

Rodney Morris

Six players awoke on Saturday knowing they had the opportunity to win more money, a half-million dollars, than any player who had ever come before. In pool your fate is in your own hands, yes, but also in the hands of your opponents. A lot needs to go your way. Your break must bear fruit and you need your foes trips to the table to be as brief as possible. Even the finest player cannot win if he is kept seated with no opportunities.

Today was judgement day for Efren Reyes, Dennis Orcollo, Mika Immonen, Oliver Ortmann, Corey Deuel and Rodney Morris. It was most certainly the most important day of their playing careers. While all were assured of fine paydays, only two would be able to make the finals and they would be the names remembered. And, as Fast Eddie told us: "You just don't get it do you Charlie. It's not about the money. It's never been about the money." But the money sure doesn't hurt.

Rodney Morris got off to the hottest start. The characteristic that most set him apart from the others was that Rodney was having fun, enjoying the moment. It seemed to drain any nervousness from him and ease his arm. Never tentative, Rodney commanded each table he faced. All the other faces, save the ever-relaxed countenance of Efren Reyes, were etched with the severity of the situation.

Three of the six knew prior to the final round that their cues would remain cased on Sunday. At that point Oliver Ortmann and Corey Deuel owned only a single win, nutting their absence from the finals. Mika Immonen had his chances and played well enough to capture three wins, but it would not suffice against the records of Morris and Reyes. Reyes had three wins prior to the final round and his win-loss percentage guaranteed his position in the grand finale. As it turned out it would be that percentage that gave Reyes the right to play in the finals. In the last round of the day Oliver Ortmann bested him 8-6, a victory that showed the determination and grit this great German player always has brought to any competition he has entered.

At the end of the day Rodney Morris had beaten all of the other players save Mika Immonen who took him down 8-5. His challenge on Sunday, Efren Reyes, lost to Ortmann and to Morris, but with a scoreline of 8-7 it was not a convincing victory for Morris, not the kind that provides an edge for the final.

Sunday at 1 PM will find Morris and Reyes making pool history. It will be an interesting test of skill and nerve, one that will be talked about for decades to come. We will post the results shortly after the final eight ball drops.