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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

International 9-Ball Open

Player: Ko Ping Chung
Event: International 9-Ball Open
Location: Norfolk, Va
Date: October 25, 2018

Pool can be unforgiving — but 9-ball is an especially fickle discipline. One miss and you can be in your chair for a few racks, assuming your competition is at the world-class level seen at the 2018 International 9-Ball Open. At that event, held in Norfolk, Va., and a descendent of Barry Behrman’s U.S. Open, Shane Van Boening had a front-row seat for an example of 9-ball’s cruel hand.

Facing Ko Ping Chung, the American star was in control of the race-to-11 set in the winners’ side final eight, holding a 9-4 lead. He sank the 1 on the next break, but the 2 remained hidden from the cue ball. Van Boening pushed out to the position shown in the diagram, pinning the cue ball near the foot rail with only a view of a tiny sliver of the left side of the 2 ball.

Accu-Stats commentators Mark Wilson and John Schmidt, whom Ko had defeated in the previous round, didn’t see an offensive shot. Wilson suggested possibly overcutting the 2 to put distance and obstacles between the cue ball and the object ball.

When Ko took aim up-table, the announcers expected him to kick at the 2 off the headrail. But amazingly enough, he caught enough of the 2 to sink it in the top right corner. The cue ball then went four rails, navigating a few other object balls while it rolled to a stop in perfect shape for the 3 ball. The position play powered Ko to take that rack.

Later, after Van Boening scratched on the break while on the hill, 10-6, Ko maintained that momentum to run five consecutive racks for the win — keeping Van Boening in his chair the entire time. Ko went unbeaten through the field to reach the finals, where he fell to eventual champ Jung-Lin Chang, 13-11.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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