Peach beats Feijen hill-hill for Lugo International 9-Ball Open Win

Niels Feijen, Daryl Peach, Francisco Bustamante and Marcus Chamat

The beautiful city of Lugo in northern Spain was for the third consecutive year the venue for this popular event.

This year, largely due to the economic crisis and the proximity of the Qatar Open, the entries were down.

The event with 30,000 Euros in the prize fund attracted only 90 participants but what it lacked in quantity was compensated for by the quality.

No less than 3 current world champions and one ex world champion were attracted to this corner of Spain. Current 8 ball champion and world ranked number one, Ralf Souquet, 9 ball champion Daryl Peach, Straight Pool champion Niels Feijen  were joined by ex-champ Oliver Ortmann. These weren't the only “names” at the event; Francisco Bustamante made the long trip from the Philippines to play in the tournament and to stage some exhibitions during the Spanish Championships which take place immediately after the “Open”.

The brackets were littered with household names such as Marcus Chamat from Sweden, David Alcaide from Spain together with last year's winner Francisco Diaz also of Spain and runner up Manuel Gama of neighboring Portugal.

The venue was a Congress Centre on the banks of Lugo's River Minho. 25 Dynamic II tables were set up and there was live streaming from the main table.

As the Spanish championships take place at the same time, 48 7' tables were also in the large venue.

Around 3000 players will be taking part during the 10 day festival of pool.

The” Open” started on the Friday with two groups of 24 players, the format was double elimination and a race to 9 until 8 players remained. The following day saw the same format with the two other groups.

Saturday evening saw the start of the final phase which was single elimination, a race to ten and the bracket was made up of the 32 players that had survived the group stages.

The 16 players that came from the winner's side in the groups were seeded and the 16 from the loser's side were drawn.

The first major upset came in this first round when Spain's number 1 and Europe's number 6, David Alcaide was narrowly beaten 10 -9 by another Spanish player, Iker Etxeberria. Souquet wasted no time in demolishing Antonio Gomez with a 10-0 score line. Top Spanish junior, 17 year old Francisco Sanchez, took out Croatian player, Bozo Primic, 10 – 6 while the rest of the line up went as expected.

The second round on Sunday morning saw  some interesting matches, Marcus Chamat of Sweden  versus Ivica Putnik of Croatia, the Croatian, current European straight pool champion couldn't quite live with “Napoleon” and went out after losing 10-7. Daryl Peach did what David Alcaide couldn't; Iker Etxeberria was no match for
the Englishman who triumphed with a 10-3 victory.

Bustamante had a TV match against top Spanish player Carlos Cabello who took an early lead but the experience of the Filipino proved too much and he eventually ran out the winner  10 -6.

The quarter finals saw all the big guns drawn together, Souquet versus recent China Open runner up, Niels Feijen, on this occasion, the balls weren't rolling for the “Kaiser” and the Dutchman marched on to the semi finals after his 10 -6 victory over the world's number 1 ranked player.

The second match up saw two veterans locked in battle, Bustamante took on Oliver Ortmann and with few problems finished off the German player's hopes with a 10-5 score line.

Chamat found himself up against young Spanish hope, Francisco Sanchez who, in the previous round had a narrow 10-9 victory over Serbia's Sandor Tot. The Spanish player was looking good for a while but once again, experience told and Marcus ran out the 10 – 6 winner.

Daryl Peach, cruising through the early racks got to 8- 4 with Portuguese player Manuel Gama and it looked over and done with. Gama was having none of it though and scared the British player by running a series of racks until eventually they both got to the hill. Breathing a big sigh of relief Daryl sank the last 9 ball to set up a semi final match with Marcus Chamat.

Semi final 1 saw a hard fought battle between Bustamante and Feijen. This one drew a big crowd of spectators and they weren't disappointed as they witnessed a battle royal between these two giants of the pool world.

Feijen took the victory by the narrowest of margins and his 10-9 win was enough to get himself into the final.

The other semi final between Peach and Chamat saw the Swede not at his best and after a series of unforced errors, he finally submitted to the “Brit” 5 – 10.
The final between Feijen and Peach was everything that the packed arena could have hoped for; they matched each other rack for rack in this alternate break competition until they arrived at the hill.

With one rack left to decide the winner, Peach hooked the Dutchman who was forced to attempt a jump shot, unfortunately for him, he scratched and Daryl made no mistakes as he sank ball after ball until he finally saw the 9 ball disappear.

For his efforts of the weekend, Peach took the 10,000 euro prize while Feijen had to settle for half as much. Bustamante finished 3rd with 2,000 Euros and Chamat 4th, also received 2,000 Euros. Prize money for the 5th to 8th placed players was 1,000 Euros, 9th to 16th ended up with 500 Euros each and the rest of the 32 took home the consolation prize of 150 Euros.

Later that evening, the organizers invited the overseas visitors to a celebration dinner and everyone had the pleasure of sampling the excellent food and wine from the region.

Some players then had to catch early flights as they were due to play the Qatar Open two days later.

The organizers and sponsors would like to thank everyone who took part in this event and hope to see them all next year.