Francisco Bustamante won his second Derby One Pocket division title in a row, as at 55 years old he seems to be hitting his stride with the right mix of moving savvy and shooting skills, not to mention superlative banking. He now has won the Banks, the One Pocket and the all-around at DCC all twice – missing only a 9-ball title for the Derby City grand slam. Despite record entries and stellar talent from around the world, this year the final rounds of One Pocket were packed with most of the names that bettors would have picked from the beginning, as Bustamante led the way in turning back challengers, even when he had to come from a couple of games down to win, as he did with Corey Deuel in the finals.
Billy Thorpe became the youngest Banks champion, defeating Omar Al Shaheen in the finals. Al Shaheen had eliminated perennial champion John Brumback among his victims along the way – so his appearance in the finals was clearly not based on the luck of the draw.
This year the Derby also crowned its youngest all-around champion in Sky Woodward, who fended off an army of international players to win his first 9-Ball title. He had finished 3rdin the Banks earlier in the week (inching ahead of his 4th place finish as an 18 year old). Sky and Billy Thorpe were also the last two standing in the Banks ring game, with Sky winning on a late run when the stakes had risen to their highest.
Growing numbers, growing diversity
There were a record high 505 players in Banks, 430 in One Pocket and 407 in 9-ball at Derby City this year, and incidentally, record high runs in Straight Pool as well. The entire world of pool was well represented throughout the Derby, with the only American in the final ten of the 9-Ball being the eventual winner Skyler Woodward. Similarly in the Bigfoot 10-Ball Invitational, Yu Hsuan Cheng was the 10-Ball winner in a field featuring a widely diverse field of sixteen players from around the world – including China, Russia, and Europe along with just two Americans, Shane van Boening and Corey Deuel.
Of course the flood of entrants and competition in five major disciplines caused scheduling issues, with the One Pocket again pushing to Friday for the finals, and reportedly two players forfeiting a chance to win $7500 in the Straight Pool event in order to have a chance to win the 9-ball. Without the possibility of adding more tables at the Derby, for the first time in memory the tournament took over the “action room” tables for most of the week during tournament hours. Of course as always, the night birds had plenty of tables available for action, as all but the Straight Pool tables become action available overnight.View all photos from the event