U.S. Open: Karen Corr!

Most opening rounds of pool tournaments are fairly routine affairs where the weaker players are tossed to the left and the strong ones begin their move out along the winner's side. But there are a few matches where two strong players must do battle when the seeding allows two of them to initially face off.

This happened on day one of the Open on Sunday when current World Ten Ball and World Nine Ball Champion Pin-Yi Ko (who also won the World Cup of Pool alongside partner Yu-Lung Chang) found Karen Corr as his first opponent. Everyone in the crowd expected Ko to be the heavy favorite because of the stellar year he has been having. No one has been able to beat him. Even Shane Van Boening has fallen beneath the sword of Ko this year.

But Corr was unfazed by the reputation. Ms. Corr is a pragmatist and she deals as best she can with whatever fate tosses in her direction. And she has plenty of firepower of her own to use, so it is not like she was unarmed entering the battle. Still, no one expected what she did when she knocked Ko over 11-4 in a match that found Ko warming his chair most of the time and only coming to the table to try to escape unescapable safeties. To be fair, he also had 'one of those days' where any opportunities to go offensive just did not often show their faces.

Humorously, when Corr sank her 9th 9-Ball she thought she had won the match as she had believed the race was to 9 games. She was quickly reminded that the US Open is a race to 11, went back to work, and won the next two games to take the win for real. To say the crowd erupted is an understatement.

The first round had several fine matches. The TV Table featured Scott Frost and Earl Strickland in a match that Strickland won 11-9. The fans loved watching these two powerhouses in action and there were lots of great shots to reward them. In the end it was Strickland's ability to make long and difficult cut shots that allowed him to prevail, plus Frost had the  misfortune of often coming to the table with shots that forced him to play position by going across the line of shape rather than along it.

Other matches of interest found Albin Ouschan defeating friend Ivica Putnik 11-8 and Johnny Archer winning over Tom D'alfonso 11-5 and Shane Van Boening holding off a late charge from Shaun Wilkie 11-6.


The final round of the night saw two big comebacks as Rodney Morris bounced back from 0-4 and 2-6 deficits to defeat China's Bingjie Chu and Roberto Gomez came back from a four rack deficit to Finland's Jani Siekkinen.


Drama struck late in the evening when promoter Barry Behrman had a player volunteer to drop out of the event so that past champion Allen Hopkins could take his place. The tournament chart had already been completed and this was after the player's meting so Mr. Helfert felt it improper to make changes to the chart after it had been finalized. The ensuing debate resulted in Mr. Helfert resigning as Tournament DIrector. As of this writing his replacement has not been named.