The 15th Annual Derby City Classic has now finished its sixth day of action at the Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana. Thus far, one of the three main events has come to a close, as the 9-Ball Banks division named a new champion for 2013 on Monday, January 28.
The final rounds of the Banks division brought in a full house of fans packed in around the Accu-Stats Arena where each of the matches took place. Three players were yet in the running for the title on Monday evening at the beginning of the semifinals: Justin Hall, Francisco Bustamante, and Shannon Murphy.
At that point, Shannon Murphy was the lone player without a loss, and most impressively, he had only lost three total games throughout eleven rounds of play. Murphy was then drawn to play Bustamante in the first semifinal, and came out of the gate playing strong to go up 2-0 in the race to three. However, Bustamante got his game in gear in the following rack, and went on to win the next three games to take the set at 3-2.
All three players then had one loss, and were then redrawn for the second semifinal, which would feature Shannon Murphy vs Justin Hall. To open up this set, Murphy broke dry after winning the lag, and Hall got to the table to run quickly run out and take the first game. Murphy would dominate the next game to win 5-0, but in the following rack, Murphy and Hall would have a close battle before Hall took the game 5-4 to get to the hill. Justin Hall then closed out the win in the next rack, winning the match at 3-1 and eliminating Murphy, who ended with a strong 3rd place finish.
The final match would then be between Justin Hall and Francisco Bustamante. While Hall has become one of the hottest shots in the the banks arena as of late, it was a surprise to some to see Bustamante in the final of this event. Bustamante had previously lost to Hall in round nine of the Banks, so the final would be a rematch for the two players.
While Hall had been firing on all cylinders from the start in his previous match against Murphy, he made some surprising errors in the opening two games, and Bustamante took advantage to go up 2-0. Hall would win the following game to get on the board at 2-1, and come with some nice plays in the following game, but Bustamante would close out the win at 3-1 to earn his first title in the Derby City 9-Ball Banks division.
After having started four days ago with a field of 376 players, the One Pocket Division has now been narrowed to the final three players…and Francisco Bustamante is clearly having a great event, as he is also one of the final three players in this division.
Bustamante is joined by the two contenders set to face off in the 7pm semifinal match, which will feature defending Derby One Pocket champion Shane Van Boening and the one remaining player with no losses, Corey Deuel. This semifinal will be streamed live on Accu-Stats.com at 7pm EST, with the other final matches immediately following.
In this tournament of top champions of one pocket, these three final players went through the gauntlet to get to the top. Van Boening, who is hoping to earn his third consecutive DCC One Pocket title, had an early loss in round four to Shannon Murphy, but went on to defeat a string of tough opponents: Oscar Dominguez, Rafael Martinez, Chris Bartram, Justin Hall, Sylver Ochoa, and Benny Conway to make it to the semis. Meanwhile, Deuel has run through with no losses, having defeated John Brumback, Abdullah AlYousef, Max Eberle, Alex Pagulayan, Joey Gray, Chris Bartram, Benny Conway, and Joey Gray (2012 One Pocket runner-up) for a second time.
Depending on how the semifinal between Deuel and Van Boening plays out, there may be a second semifinal match. If Van Boening wins, all three remaining players will have one loss, and Deuel will play Bustamante in the second semifinal. If Deuel wins, Van Boening will be eliminated, and Deuel will move on to the final match against Bustamante. Check out Accu-Stats.com to watch the final matches live.
More updates to come on the 9-Ball Division, along with the Diamond Bigfoot 10-Ball Challenge, and the DCC Straight Pool Challenge…