Shane Van Boening Takes Third U.S. Open 9-Ball Win


Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening has won the 38th U.S. Open with a 13-10 victory in the finals over Lee Vann Corteza. This is the second consecutive victory here for Van Boening and his third U.S. Open title, the first of which he won in 2007. Oddly, the Open had gone for 33 years with only one man, Nick Varner, who had won the title consecutively. But then Mika Immonen won it in both 2008 and 2009 and Darren Appleton won in both 2010 and 2011. Van Boening is our third consecutive winner in a row.

When the day began there were four men who still had hopes of wearing the crown. Shane Van Boening and Jayson Shaw were still undefeated while both Lee Van Corteza and Niels Feijen were down to a single bullet.

Feijen was the first to fall. He put up a great fight and had played brilliantly all week. He took the first lead at 2-1 but Corteza won racks 4, 5 and 6 to go up 4-2. Feijen came back to tie at four apiece but then Corteza put together three racks again to lead 7-4. Niels took the floor and put on a show for four consecutive racks to lead once again at 8-7. They traded a few racks and Feijen led 10-8 in the race to 11 games.

But on finals day at the Open the rule is that you must win by two racks with these first games of the day capped at 13 racks. When Corteza won the next two games to tie us again at 10 we knew we were in store for some bonus rounds. Corteza had found his gear and his cue ball control and denied Feijen the opportunity to regain his footing. He won the next two racks to send Feijen away in fourth place and earn the right to continue fighting.

His opponent would be Jayson Shaw. Shaw had come into the arena against Van Boening exhibiting his usual confidence and he was looking good when he led Van Boening 4-1. But then Van Boening came back strong and started stringing racks in his usual manner. He won the next eight games in a row to deny the air to Shaws’ sails and leave him with a cold arm.

Shaw would only enjoy one more rack when he claimed the win in game 14. Other than that it was all Van Boening and Shane won going away at 11-5.

This set up the contest for third place between Jayson Shaw and Lee Van Corteza. Shaw again came out of the gate well and won the first rack but then had to sit again and watch his opponent show off with a fine display of pool that gave Corteza a nice comfort zone at 6-1.

Shaw had had enough of being treated so roughly. When he took control of the table in rack seven he refused to give it back until he had put on a run of his own and put away five consecutive nines to tie the match at 6 games each. Corteza took the next two and Shaw the next to tie us at 8 apiece. Then we swapped racks until the score squared up again at ten games apiece and we were once again bound for some bonus games.

The last two racks would again belong to Corteza. He is remarkably calm at the bitter end of a match and his easy demeanor around the table made the end look easy. Our final would be a race to 13 games between Lee Van Corteza and Shane Van Boening.

Van Boening won the lag and then broke and ran the first rack. He opened the second rack with a nifty cross-side bank on the one ball that left the remainder of that rack at his mercy as well. When he broke and ran the third rack the Corteza fans began to twitch. Van Boening jarred a shot early in the next rack and Corteza took advantage to move his first bead and trail Van Boening by two at 3-1. An amazing safety exchange left Van Corteza with ball in hand and Corteza cashed that chip to draw within one. His cue ball went wild on the break shot and wound up deep inside the head corner pocket. This safety exchange went to Van Boening and he found himself with ball in hand on the 1 ball and took the rack to its logical conclusion to lead 4-2.

Van Boening kicked in the 1 ball on the next rack and wound up tough on the 2. His safety left Coreteza blocked and a table-length away from the ball. Corteza fouled and once again Van Boening had ball in hand. Again he cruised through the rack to lead 5-2. Corteza grabbed the next rack after the break shot and moved within two again. Corteza broke dry and within moments Van Boening completed a 4-9 combination to regain his three game margin. Van Corteza took the next rack but scratched on his break shot so Van Boening finished that out to lead 7-4.

When Van Boening won the next rack, after a fairly sloppy exchange of missed shots, his lead increased to four games and his confidence took a step up. He fired in a table-length 1-9 carom to lead by five and then scratched on his next break. Corteza should have owned the easy layout but he got funny on the 5 ball and missed it. Van Boening 10-4. Corteza needed to make a stand. When Van Boening dogged the 1 ball Corteza had a chance to string some beads out and began with that rack. 10-5. The comeback faded fast when Corteza fouled out of a Van Boening safety and Van Boening took the game to lead 11-5.

Van Boening scratched on the next break. With no problems on the table Corteza took himself to six games. The next rack was ugly, with both men visiting the table multiple times before Van Boening took the rack out from the 5 ball to get on the hill. Corteeza had one more charge in him. After Van Boening got to the hill Corteza put two racks together to get to 10 but then Corteza made an illegal break and Shane took the table to the Championship 13-10.


The win was worth $30,000 for Van Boening, with Corteza settling for $15,000 in prize money.