Horsfall leads Thursday Challenge of Champions field

John Horsfall shoots, as Steve Tipton and Ralf Souquet look on

Day one of the International Challenge of Champions is complete, and the field is down to four players who will compete for the $50,000 grand prize on Thursday.

In the first match of the day, Canadian 9-Ball Champion John Horsfall defeated Ralf Souquet 7-5. Souquet, who did not play with his best match, commented that he had just returned from Chinese Taipei but that it was still not an excuse for how he played. "I simply did not play my best game today" Souquet commented.

The second match of the day saw Francisco Bustamante defeat English Champion Daryl Peach 7-3.

After the dinner break, Earl Strickland scored his second straight victory over Chinese Taipei superstar Ching-Shun Yang. Strickland scored a close 11-9 win over Yang last month in Cardiff. This time, the match was not nearly as close as Strickland won 7-2. "I had lost to him 3 straight times. I guess I owed him a couple" said Strickland after the match. Earl continued; "He only made one ball on his four breaks. When he is not making a ball, he is vulnerable. I'm pretty good at being creative and finding a way to make a ball on the break."

The final match of the day saw Efren Reyes score a 7-4 win over Holland Champion Nick Van Den Berg. Efren took a quick 3-1 lead, but a mistake in game five allowed Van Den Berg to get back to 3-2. Van Den Berg had chances the entire match, but his soft break was not helping him gain control of the table. The rules in this event require players to call the 9-ball. Trailing 4-6, Van Den Berg stood up from a shot on the game-winning 9-ball to make sure he had called the ball. That lapse of concentration may have cost Van Den Berg, as he then missed the 9-ball and lost the case game to Reyes.

Thursdays matches will feature Horsfall vs Strickland at 4:00PM and Bustamante vs Reyes at 5:00PM with the winners playing each other at 7:00PM for the $50,000 prize.

Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe

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