Surprises at US Open Day Five

Day five at the US Open 9-Ball Championship was a day with a few surprises.  Surprises are always relative to expectations though. Is it a surprise that at the end of Day Five at the US Open,  with 32 players left from the original 256, that 10 of the event's past champions are still playing; three of them in the final eight undefeated players?

Probably not.

Is it a surprise that key wins on the one-loss side included Tommy Tokoph's back-to-back victories over Filipinos Jose Parica (11-9) and Lee Van Corteza (11-8)? Or that Beau Runningen from Minnesota, after being sent west by David Alcaide in the third round, defeated, in order, Dennis Orcullo, and Donnie Mills, before finally succumbing to Nick Varner 11-5, late on Thursday night (or more precisely, early on Friday morning)? 


Nobody, though, was more surprised than Tommy Kennedy, who after being sent to the one-loss side by Charlie Williams in the first of Thursday night's winners' side matches, went immediately to the other end of the hall, and ended Earl Strickland's bid for a sixth title. Strickland took an early lead in that matchup, but Kennedy clawed his way back to double hill, and finished it. 

“It was,” he said, grinning from ear to ear, “the best match of my life. It was better than winning the Open,” which he did 18 years ago.

Another surprise on day five was the play of 18 year old Jesse Engel. Engel that he is much more than a one hit wonder after his won over Earl Strickland on Wednesday night. Engel started off his campaign on Thursday by taking former US Open Champion Mike Sigel to school. Engel played a perfect match, as he was nearly flawless in all aspects of the game from shot making to position play to safety play. Sigel was offered few trips to the table and was almost always kicking at a ball when he did find his way to the table. Final score? Engel 11 and Sigel 1. Sigel was overheard commenting later in the evening that the youngster from Minnesota reminded him of himself at a young age; a pretty impressive compliment from Mr. Sigel.

As the evening came to an end, the final sixteen undefeated players faced off and the matches could not have been closer. Five of the eight matches went to hill-hill with Li Wen Lo, Jason Klatt, Mika Immonen, David Alcaide and Corey Deuel all winning their matches. Those five players are joined on the winners side by Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet and Darren Appleton.

Mika Immonen still looks like the man to beat in this event, but he was tested by Gabe Owen on Thursday night and will certainly be tested by Li Wen Lo on Friday.

Before the winners side faces off on Friday, the one loss side will be in action with such notables as Gabe Owen, Johnny Archer, Shane Van Boening, Rodney Morris, Charlie Williams, Ronnie Alcano, Francisco Bustamante, Nick Varner and Efren Reyes all in action.

If you can't make it to Chesapeake this year, you can still follow all of the action with Accu-Stats streaming select matches as well as our online coverage including real time scoring, online brackets, video updates from Samm Diep and photo galleries from Diana Hoppe. Check out all of our coverage at