Takenaka & Kim Victorious at DP Seoul Open

Hiroshi Takenaka and Ga-Young Kim
Takenaka & Kim Victorious at DP Seoul Open

Hiroshi Takenaka of Japan took home the championship for the mens division at the DP Seoul Open along with Ga Young Kim of Korea. It was Takenaka's second trip to Korea with him not making it to the final day at the Brunswick Korea International Championships last July. Kim lost in the semi finals at that same event.

Day 3 had its share of upsets to begin with. 2004 #1 Asia Ranked Young Hwa Jeong lost to #3 ranked Hong Kyun Kim and then was knocked out by #21 ranked Myung Jun Go (who earlier lost to a 14 year old Korean qualifier) . Shuji Nagata defeated Ralf Souquet 9-5 and Max Eberle lost to Korea's #2 Shin Young Park 9-2. Defending Champion Charlie Williams ran over Japan's Masashi Hoshi 9-0 in under 30 minutes while Thorsten Hohmann demolished Takenaka 9-3. Souquet than survived a thriller against US Army local John Powers (a student of Young Hwa Jeong) 9-8. Powers trailed Souquet 6-3 then turned around to have Souquet 8-7 and hung up an easy 7 ball to win the match.

The Final Day brought back 8 men and 4 women. Souquet, Hohmann, Eberle, Takenaka, Nagata, Williams and 2 Koreans Kim Woongdae and Park Shin Young for the men. On the womens side, Sung Hyun Jung and Ga Young Kim were the Koreans against Van Jui Fang of Taiwan and Noriyo Hayashi of Japan. 6 matches were taped for SBS.

Williams hopes of defending his title fell short as Souquet eliminated him 9-7. Hohmann knocked out Nagata while Takenaka took out Park on TV. Ga Young Kim squeezed past Hayashi 6-5 while Jung won over Fang 6-4. Kim went on to defeat Jung in an all Korean finals 6-4.

The surprise of the event was Korea's Woongdae Kim who knocked out Japan's Hoshi, then went on to win against Eberle (USA) on TV, and then was trailing 4-0 in the alternate breaks format against Hohmann to come back with some magnificent shots 7-6 to make it to the finals. In the finals , the match went back and forth until Takenaka took the lead 6-4. But the determined Korean came back with the support of the fans 6-6. It was a perfect ending to a rivalry between Korean and Japan. Kim broke hard but the cue ball was kissed in at a awkward angle into the side leaving Takenaka an easy combo on the 9-ball. Takenaka lept out of his chair and threw his hands up in elation and with a smile pocketed the combo to win the 2nd Annual Dragon Promotions Seoul Open.

The Seoul Open is part of the Brunswick KPT (Korea Pro Pool Tour) and is a point ranking event. The KPT will have a bonus prize fund for rankings for the top 10 men and the top 5 women at the end of 2005. KPT #1 ranked men and women, and also KPT Rookie of the Year get free entry fees at every event.

This event signified the best kept secret in the pool world... the coming emergence of Korea as the next powerhouse in pool.

Photo courtesy of Takao Takayama - onthehill.jp