PoolRoom

Reyes Shines at Derby City

Reyes like what he saw on the table at Derby City.

Reyes like what he saw on the table at Derby City.

Philippine sensation Efren Reyes proved to be the ringmaster of the three-ring circus of pool known as the Derby City Classic, which finally came to a close on Saturday, Jan. 24, in Louisville, Ky. After faring poorly in the bank-pool competition, Reyes logged a first-place finish in the one-pocket competition and was runner-up in the 9-ball event. That was enough to earn him the Derby City “Master of the Table” crown and its $20,000 grand prize.

A 24-hour, 9-day pool orgy for both gamblers and serious tournament players, the Classic kicked off on Jan. 16 with a $30,000 ring game between Cory Deuel, Jimmy Wetch, Alex Pagulayan, Earl Strickland, Rodney Morris and Charlie Williams. Deuel eventually outlasted Pagulayan for the $30,000 prize in a match that went well past five hours. The event proved so popular that Derby City organizers hastily assembled a six-man cast for the next night for another $30,000. In that six-hour tilt, BD Player of the Year Johnny Archer bested Pagulayan, Reyes, Ralf Souquet, John Schmidt and Jose Parica.

More than 300 players entered each of the three main events at Derby City this year. Jason Miller of Dayton, Ohio, took the 9-ball bank pool crown and its $8,000 first prize after besting undefeated John Brumback twice in the true double-elimination final (Derby City players with one loss can buy back into the tournament once in each division). Reyes mopped up Chicagoan Marco Marquez in the one-pocket final, 3-0, after his foe failed to take advantage of a commanding lead in the first game.

Pocketing the $9,000 one-pocket prize, Reyes then plowed through the 9-ball field, only to meet the similarly undefeated Souquet in the final. Souquet took the first match, 7-2, and after Reyes bought back in, “The Kaiser” toppled Reyes again by an identical score. The win brought a $13,000 payday for the German, who entered all three events this year without ever having played bank pool or one-pocket in a serious tournament setting.

Team USA Captures Sixth Sraight Mosconi Cup

85aAfter Team Europe drew first blood in the 2001 Mosconi Cup, Team USA won the next 12 matches to claim its sixth straight Mosconi Cup title at York Hall in Bethnal Green, England, Dec. 20-23. The 12-1 victory for Team USA is the most decisive win in the eight-year history of the annual Ryder Cup-style event, which Team USA has now won seven times.

Only the pairing of Niels Feijen and Mika Immonen was able to scratch the scoreboard with a 5-3 triumph over veteran U.S. duo Johnny Archer and Nick Varner. But from then on, Team USA dominated play. The young American pair of Charlie Williams and Cory Deuel built Team USA’s lead with two convincing victories over Steve Knight and Marcus Chamat by a combined score of 10-3. Archer and Varner then closed out the event by redeeming themselves from the Day 1 loss with a 5-1 win over Immonen and Team Europe captain Ralf Souquet.

Mosconi Cup Lineup Set

57aMatchroom Sport released its Team USA and Team Europe rosters for the popular Mosconi Cup, held at York Hall in Bethnal Green, England, Dec. 20-23. The two six-man rosters were respectively selected in consultation with the Billiard Congress of America and European Pocket Billiard Federation.

Five-time Player of the Year Earl Strickland will return as captain of the American squad, which is rounded out by Corey Deuel, Johnny Archer, Jeremy Jones, Nick Varner and Charlie Williams. All but Varner and Williams were members of last year’s Cup-winning team.

Team Europe is comprised of captain Ralf Souquet (Germany), Marcus Chamat (Sweden), Steve Davis (England), Niels Feijen (Holland), Mika Immonen (Finland) and Steve Knight (England).

Deuel is U.S. Open Champ

Corey Deuel blanked reigning WPA World Champion Mika Immonen in Chesapeake, Va., Sunday, Sept. 16, to take the 26th U.S. Open title over a field of 217 players.

Deuel collected a reported $30,000 at the end of a controversial tournament that forged ahead despite the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center on Tuesday, and promoter Barry Behrman’s mid-tournament prize-fund reduction.

See the November issue of Billiards Digest for full coverage.

Lee and Deuel Victorious in Vegas

Jeanette Lee ended Karen Corr’s two-tourney win streak when she came from the one-loss side to hand Corr her only loss of the tournament, 7-5, at the Billiard Congress of America Pro 9-Ball open. Lee also ended a drought of her own, taking her first tournament top prize since prior to her 2000 back and shoulder surgery.

On the men’s side, Cory Deuel came through the left side and won 12 consecutive matches to take the top prize, defeating Jose Parica, 7-5, with a jaunty 8-9 combo in the final.

Lee and Deuel each won $15,000.

Jones’ All-Star weekend

Jeremy Jones bounced back from the one-loss bracket to defeat Corey Deuel in the final match of the Lexington All-Stars Championships in Lexington, Ky., Feb. 28-March 4. Two months after the two finalists played as teammates during Team USA’s win in December’s Mosconi Cup, Jones held off Deuel in the final match, 15-8, to earn $5,000 and his first tournament win of the year.

Deuel collected $2,500 for second place, and defending champion Jose Parica won $1,800 for third.

Drago, Dragon Take Titles

Tony Drago of Malta is making a splash in 9-ball circles after years as a snooker pro. He gave the 9-ball world his notice by reaching the semi-finals of the WPA World Pool Championships earlier in the summer, and now he’s proved his worth with a first-place finish at the 2003 World Pool Masters, in Egmond aan Zee, Holland. Drago defeated Taiwan’s Hui-kai Hsia, 8-6, in a tense battle highlighted by a handful of Drago’s lightning-fast run-outs. To get to the final, Drago took matches from Earl Strickland, Nick van den Berg and Alex Pagulayan. The 37-year-old potter was elated by his success. “To win this was something else for me. I enjoyed it so much, and the crowd here were fantastic — the best in the world. I’m starting to play more and more, and 9-ball will be a big part of my future,” he told event promoter Matchroom Sport. Drago’s win earned him $20,000.

On the other side of the ocean, American pool pro Charlie Williams was busy winning his second title within a two-week span. Williams’ 13-8 victory over Ronnie Wiseman in the finals of the 2003 Capital City Classic, comes right on the heels of his Big Apple 9-Ball Challenge win last week in New York City. To take the Capital City win, Williams powered through 9 straight games after being sent to the losers’ side by Wiseman early in the tournament. Williams took $8,500 for first place, while Wiseman settled for $4,700. Cory Deuel and Luc Salvas took third and fourth, respectively.

Mosconi Cup First Day: Europe Sweeps America!

The Mosconi Cup matches held in London today had a surprising outcome: Europe, which suffered a crushing 12-1 defeat last year, has leapt to a 3-0 lead on the first day of this year’s competition.

In the first matchup, Team Europe team captain Oliver Ortmann and fellow German Ralf Souquet took on American team captain Johnny Archer and veteran pro Nick Varner. Team Europe took first blood with a 5-2 victory.

In the second match of the opening session, Scandinavians Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat faced American young guns Cory Deuel and Charlie Williams. Immonen won the lag and ran out to take a 1-0 lead, and that set the tone for the match. Europe picked up another point with a 5-1 victory.

In the final matchup of the evening, American spirits were flagging, and the European support was growing stronger by the minute as home-team favorite Steve Davis and fresh-faced rookie Nick van den Berg faced Americans Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones. This match was closer, 5-4, but with the same outcome: Europe took another point.

The Mosconi Cup will head into its second day with Europe holding an unprecedented shutout advantage. Check our live-coverage link at the top of the page for on-site coverage, or visit www.mosconicup.com.

Bustamante Wins Las Vegas Invitational

Bustamante zeroed in on the title in Vegas.

Bustamante zeroed in on the title in Vegas.

“He just plays great against me. It makes me a little sick sometimes,” said Ralf Souquet after the finals of the Gabriels Las Vegas Invitational, August 23 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. By Souquet’s reckoning, it was the 26th or 27th time Francisco Bustamante had defeated him in a finals match. Bustamante was characteristically humble about the win. “The only reason I beat him is in the beginning he never made a ball [on the break].”

Bustamante won $7,000 for first place, Souquet took $3,800 home. While some of the top names (such as Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland) were absent from the 37-man, one woman field, a full complement of Filipino players and such heavy hitters as Rodney Morris, Cory Deuel, Kim Davenport and the tournament promoter himself, Allen Hopkins provided entertaining action for the hard-core pool fans and handfuls of American Poolplayers Association members who were there for their national team championships running concurrently next door.

Reyes Declared Champion of Champions

Reyes holds the winning check.

Reyes holds the winning check.

Efren Reyes triumphed at the 2002 International Challenge of Champions, held Aug. 14-15 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. Reyes defeated Finland’s Mika Immonen in a sudden-death winner-takes-all tiebreaker to be crowned this year’s “champion of champions.”

Eight “international champions” took part in the made-for-TV event: Netherlands National Champion Neils Feijen; 2001 IBC tour winner Reyes, Taiwan’s Hsiao-Lang Fang, Great Britain’s Steve Knight, Australia’s Johl Younger, American Cory Deuel, Japan’s Satoshi Kawabata, and Immonen.

Reyes first defeated Feijen in the single-elimination race-to-7 first round, 7-5; he then defeated Fang two sets in a row in the semi final, 5-2 and 5-3. Reyes lost his first set to Immonen in the final, 5-3, and won the next, 5-4, to force the single-game tiebreaker which he clinched to win the $50,000 purse. The crowd gave Reyes’ win a standing ovation.

The two semifinals and the Championship match were taped by ESPN for broadcast beginning August 25th. Check BD’s online schedule and your local listings for exact times.