Dana Aft of Atlanta, Ga., is this year’s U.S. Amateur Champion after defeating Melinda Huang of Los Angeles 9-6 in the finals.
The final round, which pitted the two former top 3 finishers, opened in the 8-Ball set. Aft got off to a fast start behind an 8-on-the-break and quickly built a 4-0 lead.
Huang seemed unfazed, and almost just as quickly closed the deficit to 4-3 by closing out the final two games of the 8-Ball set and opening the 9-Ball set with a win.
Aft flipped the momentum back in her favor by taking the next two games of 9-Ball and nearly pocketed the 9-on-the-snap in the next, but Huang stood her ground and pulled back within two with the match sitting at 6-4 in favor of Aft.
The next two games would go Aft’s way.
Then with Aft on-the-hill, and having seemingly everything going her way, she worked what looked like the final rack down to a manageable shot on the 8-Ball that would have left her nearly “a gimme” shot on the 9. But Aft left the 8-ball hanging in the corner.
Huang seized the opportunity and ran with it. She made quick work of the 8 and 9-balls, and broke and ran the next rack to put the tally at 8-6 Aft.
Aft collected herself from the missed opportunity and finally closed things out in the 15th game – final score: 9-6.
With the win, Aft was able to avenge her loss to Huang just two rounds earlier. Huang finishes as the Runner-up with Stephanie Mitchell of Wesley Chapel, Fla., finishing in 3rd.