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Stroke of Genius

Presented by PoolDawg.com
Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions
September 2010: Cluster Buster

Player: Efren Reyes
Event: 2007 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship
Date: October 17, 2007

IF YOU'VE been keeping score since the debut of the Stroke of Genius feature some 33 months ago, you know Efren Reyes leads the field with a half dozen appearances (this being No. 6). While his entries are all magical in differing ways, one trend that's immediately noticeable among his shots is the reaction of the crowd.

Take the shot in Diagram 1 as an example. In the fourth round of the 2007 U.S. Open against Ronnie Alcano, Reyes faced the somewhat unspectacular setup shown here. The angle on the 1 ball is easy enough. The real question is, what to do with the 2 ball that's tied up with the 3 and 7 balls down-table? Well, Reyes opted to use extreme draw (with a touch of left English). Driving the 1 ball into the corner pocket, the cue ball started out on its 90-degree tangent line. But once the backspin "caught" the cloth, the cue ball began to head back down-table. Clipping half the 7 ball, it then opened up the three-ball cluster, before rolling off the long rail and into perfect position on the 2.

The audience, as usual, responded with a collection of disbelieving groans, followed by a mix of reverent applause and "did you see that?" chuckles. Alcano, though, sat stone-faced, well aware of what Reyes - his lifelong idol - was capable of doing. This shot is a perfect example of what Reyes has been doing for decades - mixing plenty of creativity with a lot of skill (and maybe a touch of luck) to catch the audience off guard with something brilliant.

With the 2-3-7 cluster fully busted, Reyes easily cleared the table to knock the match at 2-2. Alcano, though, would have the last word, as he pulled ahead late for a 11-7 win on his way to finishing second, falling to Shane Van Boening in the final.

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

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