Champs on cakewalk, while some Yanks crumble
by Mason King Jul 12, 2004, 9:10 PM EST

Monday, July 12 - A passel of former world champions including Earl Strickland appear to be in their comfort zones as they cruise undefeated through the group stages of the 2004 World Pool Championship, but it doesn't look like the entire American delegation will join them in the final round of 64.

Former champs Strickland ('90, '91, '02), Mika Immonen ('01), Fong-Pang Chao ('93, '00) and Oliver Ortmann ('95) are all 6-0 so far in the round-robin stages of the championship, now under way at the World Trade Centre in Taipei City, Taiwan. Also with six wins is Taiwanese favorite son Ying-Chieh Chen, to the delight of close to 1,500 spectators attending daily to watch the field of 128 players compete in 16 groups for the final 64 spots.

With two matches left for most players in the eight-match group rounds, several shooters in the United States' 13-man contingent appeared to be headed to the field of 64 with Strickland. Red-hot Johnny Archer was leading Group 5 with a 4-2 record, and Charlie Williams was just behind his undefeated buddy Immonen in Group 6 with a 4-1 record. Two lesser-known Americans were taking this opportunity to make names for themselves: British import Tony Crosby led Group 4 with Taipei's Ching-Shun Yang, both with 4-2 marks; and Danny Harriman was hanging tough at 4-2 in a group that included undefeated Chao and Filipino ace Warren Kiamco.

The fates of a few of their countrymen weren't so clear. At 3-3, Danny "Kid Delicious" Basavich was on the bubble, as was Rodney "The Rocket" Morris at 3-2. In do-or-die situations were Max Eberle, Mike Davis and 2003 U.S. Open champion Jeremy Jones at 2-3. Completely out of the running were the little-known Steve Lillis, 1-5, Timothy Hall, 1-5, and Corey Harper, 0-6.

Elsewhere, the Philippines' contingent of 10 players was assured of a good representation in the knock-out stages with the likes of Francisco Bustamante and Efren Reyes leading the way.

For more details and results, visit the event's Web site at

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