Defending champion Kenny Brisbon of Oxford, Mich., knows how good he “can be.” It’s being that good when he “wants to be” that he’s still trying to master after 47 years playing pool.
It’s been a bit of a tougher than normal year for Brisbon. After capping off a highly successful 2014 campaign with his first U.S. Amateur Championship – a title that alluded him five times prior – Brisbon has yet to win a tournament in 2015.
Though he admits there’s been strong finishes, as well as a big victory at the U.S. Open last month over Jeff Ignacio of the Philippines (who finished 13th overall), Brisbon hasn’t been able to end a tournament with that final victory.
A year without a championship trophy wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for most amateur poolplayers, but for a guy who practices 3-4 hours a day, and makes a half dozen trips to Vegas to play pool each year, the results have been lacking.
Brisbon believes this tournament, perhaps more than any other, is where he can get back to his winning ways.
“If I show up, I don’t care who I play, I’ll be fine. I just have to focus on my game,” said Brisbon.
The defending champion knows he’ll be a marked man in every single match, but he won’t allow himself to focus on that.
“I’ve got to play my game and get out to a strong start,” he said, something Brisbon admits he failed to do last year as he struggled through the first day of competition, only to finally get hot when it mattered most.
If the consistency he’s searching for is there, he believes he’ll become only the 3rd U.S. Amateur Champion to successfully defend their title.