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Van Boening Takes U.S. Open Title No. 2|
Oct 27, 2012, 7:52 PM
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Dennis Orcollo is arguably the best tournament player on the planet. But in the final of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, he barely stood a chance. Shane Van Boening, riding a break that bordered on the sublime, blasted his way past the Filipino powerhouse to take his second U.S. Open crown by a count of 13-7.
The 29-year-old American jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the modified race to 13. Winning eight straight at one point, Van Boening dropped a ball on the break seven straight racks, four of which he cleared without letting Orcollo to the table. Following a scratch on the break in the 12th game, Van Boening's only unsuccessful break in the set, Orcollo made an impressive run of his own, closing the gap to just 9-7. But a missed table-length jump on the 1 ball was the end of Orcollo's road. Van Boening cleared that rack, then broke and ran the final three for an emphatic stamp on his U.S. Open victory.
"I've been playing a lot of pool the last month or so," Van Boening said, shortly after his victory. "I felt really good coming here. I had a lot of confidence and started out [playing well]."
His path through the winners bracket and into the hot-seat included a number of world-class players, only one of whom managed to stay with the two-time BD Player of the Year. In his third match, Van Boening throttled Mosconi Cup foe Nick van den Berg, 11-4, before besting Chris Melling by the same count. In the next round, he faced Ronnie Alcano, his opponent from the 2007 U.S. Open final. The lanky Filipino stood within a rack advancing, but Van Boening collected the final two racks for a thrilling 11-10 win.
That would be his one and only close call. Two more Filipinos fell, with Van Boening topping Jose Parica and Alex Pagulayan, both 11-5, to take his spot in the final.
On the one-loss side, Orcollo was gathering steam after his loss to Efren Reyes. He won three straight, including an 11-7 victory that ended Darren Appleton's hopes for a third straight Open crown, to earn a rematch with Reyes. The 58-year-old legend was the story of the tournament's opening week, but Orcollo was too much. He sent Reyes packing, 11-8, before eliminating Pagulayan in third place.
While Van Boening and Orcollo are far from strangers -- the two frequently match up in money games -- the American would not be denied. With title no. 2 at just 29, Van Boening didn't waste time looking forward, if only in jest.
"What do I need, three more to tie Earl?" he said, acknowledging Earl Strickland's record five U.S. Open titles.
If he can come anywhere close to replicating his dominant form over the past week, though, the joke might be on his competition.