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International 9-Ball Open Day One Complete

Max Lechner (Erwin Dionisio)

The International 9-Ball Open began Monday, October 28 with 96 players prepared to battle for the title. Two side stories that fans were watching this week were that Max Eberle and Corey Deuel are both shooting for the final spot on the Mosconi Cup team. With the final decision due immediately following this event, their play this week could be the deciding factor. One other interesting tidbit is that we are getting to see all three of the Ko brothers in competition for the first time here in Norfolk. Pool fans are familiar with the games of Ko Pin-Yi and his younger brother Ko Ping-Chung, but this will be most US fans first chance to see the youngest, Ko Ping-Han in action.
 
The opening round kicked off Monday morning with some great matches. Austrian young gun Maximillian Lechner took down Team USA member Skyler Woodward 11-4, by simply denying Woodward opportunities at the table. Justin Bergman came from four games down to defeat John Schmidt on the hill. Other notable scores from the opening round were Johnny Archer winning 11-8 over Ivo Linkin, and Jeremy Jones over Yu-Lun Chang 11-5.
 
The second round of the day saw Ko Ping-Chung take down Ernesto Dominguez 11-5 and Alex Pagulayan besting Michael Yednak 11-6. 
 
The third round also had some matches of interest, with Alex Kazakis and Fedor Gorst both shooting perfect matches with Kazakis over Chris Lawson 11-0 and Gorst giving the snowball to William Brewer. James Aranas went past Mark Vidal 11-4 and Donny Mills owned William Collins 11-3.
 
Coming back from the dinner break, the crowd was treated to a battle between Roberto Gomez and Ko Pin-Yi. Ko took an early 2-0 lead, but Gomez came back to take his first lead at 5-4. Gomez held that lead until 10-10 when a miss on the 8-ball left the table and match for Ko 11-10. In another 6:30 match, Ralf Souquet found himself in a 7-3 hole against Matt Krah. Ralf came back to 7-6 down, but hung an 8-ball that would have tied things at 7-7. Souquet did get back to a tie at 8-8 and traded racks with Krah until he pocketed the final 9-ball for the 11-10 win. 
 
In the 8:30 round, Earl Strickland had his hands full with the event’s lone Japanese competitor, Kengo Suzuki. The match was tied at 6-6 when Strickland won two for an 8-6 lead. Suzuki came right back to tie things at 8-8 before Strickland took control and won the match 11-9. Another battle in the 8:30 round saw Tommy Kennedy take American 14.1 Straight Pool Champion Ruslan Chinahov to hill-hill before Chinahov won the match 11-10. 
 
The final round of the night was not pretty for US players, as Billy Thorpe, Donny Mills and Frankie Hernandez were all sent to the one loss side. Neither Thorpe or Mills looked to be comfortable at the table in their matches, as Thorpe dropped an 11-3 match to Vietnam’s Quoc Hoang Duong and Mills couldn’t stay with a free wheeling Chris Melling in an 11-4 match. While Frankie Hernandez’s match was more competitive, he still fell to Marco Teutscher 11-6.
 
You can follow the action all week long, with our online brackets and real time scoring. Select matches will also be streamed online as part of Accu-Stats PPV coverage of the event

McMinn goes undefeated through 128-entrant field to win 38th Midwest Bar Table Classic

(l to r): Chuck Thomas (owner, John Wayne’s Pub) & Shane McMinn

Ten years ago, when Shane McMinn was in the midst of what was his best (recorded) earnings year at the tables, he won three events; two stops on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, including the 5th Annual Bobby Wells Memorial and the Oklahoma State 8-Ball Championships. He finished among the top four in 11 of the 13 tournaments in which he cashed that year. The bulk of his recorded earnings that year came from a runner-up finish in a Midwest 9-Ball Tour Ring Game.
 
Throughout most of his career, which began (according to records here at AZ) in 1999, the bulk of his winnings came as a member of the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, in which, since that time, he has cashed in over 35 events. Since 2015, though, he’s only cashed in one stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour (July, 2016; he finished in the tie for 5th), as his ‘reach’ has extended to events like (among others) the Texas Open 10-Ball Championship (runner-up in February last year), the Derby City and Music City Classics, the Space City Open, and the US Bar Box 9-Ball Championships in August, 2016, when he was runner-up to Justin Bergman.
 
McMinn and Bergman met up again this past weekend (March 31-April 1) in another final; this time, at the 38th Annual Midwest Bar Table Classic, where, in the end, McMinn survived to go undefeated and capture the event title. The $5,000-added event drew a full field of 128 entrants to John Wayne’s Pub in Indianapolis, IN.
 
McMinn and Bergman played twice in this one. They first met in a winners’ side semifinal, while Shane Winters and Louis Demarco met up in the other one. McMinn downed Bergman 9-7 and in the hot seat match, met up with Winters, who’d sent DeMarco to the loss side 9-5. McMinn grabbed the hot seat 9-6 over Winters, and waited for Bergman to complete his three-match, loss-side trek back to the finals.
 
On the loss side, a lot of familiar Midwest (and elsewhere) faces lurked for a shot at this title, including, but not restricted to competitors like Alex Olinger, Ike Runnels, Dave Grau, and Molly Bontrager. While each of those four cashed in the event, none of them made it past the four-way tie for 13th. Among the event’s final 12, however, were (among others) Dennis Hatch, Shannon Murphy, and Jason Klatt. Bergman came over from the winners’ side final four, and drew Hatch, who’d eliminated Murphy 7-4 and Klatt, double hill, to reach him. DeMarco picked up Josh Franklin, who’d just finished winning two straight double hill matches against Taylor Anderson and DaWayne Pearson.
 
By identical 7-5 scores, Bergman and DeMarco advanced to the quarterfinals over Hatch and Franklin. Bergman earned himself a second shot at McMinn with two more 7-5 victories; over DeMarco in the quarterfinals, and Winters, in the semifinals. McMinn, though, was not to be denied. He took the opening (and only) set of a true double elimination final to claim the event title. 
Tour director John Klotz thanked John Wayne’s Pub’s owner, Chuck Thomas and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Bob Meucci and Chris Lawson of Muecci Cues, Accu-Rack, Simonis Cloth, Diamond Tables, and CueStix.com.

US Open 10-Ball Championship Underway, Barely

We had only just begun the US Open 10-Ball rounds last night when the lights went out due to the storm that ravaged the city for nearly an hour. Some of the opening round matches had finished but many were left in progress and will be completed this morning.

Matches of note that were able to be completed included doughnut wins by Ralf Souquet and Karl Boyes. Shane Van Boening had time to defeat Donny Mills 9-3 and Danny Olson upset Chris Bartram 9-3. Santos Sambajon sent Mark Haddad left 9-3 and John Morra handled Chris Lawson easily at 9-2. Jayson Shaw and Charlie Williams also had time to win before the darkness fell on the room.

So the 10 Ball has just begun and the real action begins this morning. We will keep you posted as to the results.