Hohmann's 5th World 14.1 win unprecedented in this millenium
Chasing Mosconi: Hohmann Wins His 5th World Straight Pool Championship
Story courtesy of Pool & Billiard Magazine. Photos courtesy of Joe Gonzalez Photography
Nanuet, New York- They say records are made to be broken. At this year's BottleDeck.net 78th World Straight Pool Championship, many of those records were. Germany's Thorsten Hohmann once again proved why he is considered to be the greatest 14.1 player of this millenium, and perhaps more. Hohmann went undefeated in the 3 stage tournament to make 5 wins in the World 14.1, now officially surpassing Luther Lassiter and tying Irving Crane for All-Time World 14.1 Championship wins. Hohmann already surpassed Mike Sigel and Ray Martin's 3 wins as well as Steve Mizerak and Nick Varner's 2 wins. In 1972, Irving Crane was the last man to win a 5th World 14.1 title. This makes Hohmann the winningest World 14.1 champion over 46 years.
The World 14.1 continued its long tradition thanks to the patronage of San Diego's Tom Gleich and host sponsor The Spot in Nanuet, New York. As well as the Official Ball sponsor Aramith, Z9 Billiard Cloth, and all the livestream matches were played on Connelly Tables built by Valley-Dynamo.
The ultimate grand prize from the promoter ?
Day 1 Round Robin 100 point games
For the first time ever, the World 14.1 drew an Australian player in Ben Judge. In fact an Australian snooker champion who played on the World Snooker circuit. A 200+ ball runner, he was a threat to beat anyone and would have his chance against America's #1 ranked Shane Van Boening. Van Boening was in form however, running 225 balls in practice just the night before. SVB won 100-60 over Judge in Group 4. Judge then lost a 100-93 heartbreaker to 74 year old Earl Herring. The Aussie did however manage to come back and qualify by the third day in the round robin.
Hohmann cruised through as the #1 seed with a 100 to -2 win over Jamaica's Rhys Chen in Group 1. Tony Robles of NYC was in form in Group 2 defeating a rusty Mika Immonen 100 to 35 with Mika coming from a 6 week sabbatical from pool. John Schmidt ran a 98 and out opener over Michael Badstuebner in a 100-7 win in Group 3. Meanwhile Group 5's Warren Kiamco of the Philippines won 3 straight over Sean Morgan, Jerry Tarantola, and Jonathan Smith.
Archer & Van Boening pre-USA favorites that have yet to place their name on the World 14.1 Champions list
The first big upset. Van Boening was up 98 to 70 needing 2 balls for the win. After his breakshot he didn't have a clear opening and played safe up table. Herring took his chance and fired in a length of table shot and proceeded to run the set out! At 74 years old, the oldest player to defeat the young 5x US Open Champion.
"I took him lightly I didn't know who he was. But now it's fueled me up with motivation", said Shane after the match.
"It seems God is giving me just enough to squeak by with a win each match", said Herring, who is also the Senior Pastor of Mt. Carmel Church of Christ Disciples of Christ. Herring also gave Hohmann his only loss at the 2013 World 14.1 Championship.
Pastor Herring gave the pool world a thrill
Day 3 - Judgement Day
The round robin stage concluded with 20 players advancing to the second stage of the event. The top 2 in each group took first round byes and the undefeated players were:
#1 Thorsten Hohmann 5-0 with only 87 total balls against him total.
#2 John Schmidt 5-0 with only 98 total balls against him total.
#3 Tony Robles 5-0 with 204 total balls against him total.
#4 Warren Kiamco 5-0 with 236 total balls against him total.
#5 Earl Herring 5-0 with 299 total balls against him total.
Day 4 Double Elimination 150 point games
Hohmann took the #1 seed and defeated Michael Badstuebner 150-83 to advance to the quarter-finals receiving a bye. Johnny Archer defeated Joey Korsiak 150-53. VAn Boening re-matched with Judge with the same outcome of a win at 150-37. Mika Immonen won the battle of the Finns with a 150-53 win over Olli Turkulainan. Herring ran out of gas and got the 1-2 punch by Finland's Petri Makkonen and Rhys Chen.
Day 5 Single Elimination 200 point games
In the final stage of the tournament, every match is a knock-out match. 12 players remained, and remarkably 3 of the 4 qualifiers made it which included Rhys Chen who qualified at The Spot, Holden Chin who also qualified at The Spot, and Mike Badstuebner who qualified in NJ at Sandcastle Billiards.
Makkonen defeated Judge 200-151. Van Boening defeated Chin 200-69. Immonen defeated Chen 200-26. Badstuebner pulled off the biggest win of his life with a 200-143 win over Archer.
Day 6 Quarter and Semi Finals
Robles pulled off back to back wins over Immonen in a 200-44 rout. Badstuebner again pulled a huge upset with a 200-158 win, avenging his loss in the round robin to John Schmidt. The win put Mike in his first ever semi-finals in a pro event.
On the other chart, Kiamco pulled off a minor upset against the in-form Van Boening 200-112 to enter his first World 14.1 semi-finals. Preiously he had a 5th place finish.
Hohmann won big with a 150 & out against Makkonen to win 200-4.
The first semi-finals saw Robles and Badstuebner stay neck to neck , until Robles pulled away when Badstuebner looked out of gas and winded. It was also his 50th birthday, and his $100 qualifier entry had already paid many dividends. Robles won 200-97 and Mike had a thrilling 3rd place tie.
The second semi-finals saw Hohmann in form once again with a 95 & out to finish off Kiamco 200-63 and enter his 6th World 14.1 finals.
Watch the pre-Finals preparation video with Hohmann: https://www.facebook.com/Worldstraightpool/videos/292250121564881/?t=6
Immonen & Schmidt falter on Day 6
Makkonen made a great premiere in his first World 14.1 attempt finishing 5th
Day 7: Finals
"The World 14.1 title is worth more to me than any other title", Said Robles openly. A huge NYC crowd had come to support the belovedchampion.
"If I had to lose to someone, it would be you Tony", said Hohmann in an interview on film. "But I give you a really hard time!"
Aside from money, a lot was at stake for different reasons for both men. For Robles, fulfilling a lifelong dream to win the biggest 14.1 title in his most favorite game. For Hohmann, a date with destiny to further cement his dominance in the modern era of 14.1, and come a step closer in tying Willie Mosconi's record of 7 wins, or surpassing it. Even tying or breaking Ralph Greenleaf's 10 all time win record is mathmathecially achievable.
Famous faces in the crowd. Archer, Frankie & Brandon Hernandez. Charlie Williams & Van Boening
The finals saw Hohmann take a small 30 ball early lead, but Robles had early chances. Hohmann extended the lead further but Robles couldn't capitalize. Then Hohmann went on a roll during his 4th inning with a 130 ball run, giving him a sizable lead. Robles could not find his game and was only able to put up 30 and 40 ball runs. Hohmann was too much to handle on his A game. At 299 however, Hohmann missed a long shot leaving Robles a sliver of hope and cheered on by the crowd.
"Oh man, come on!" Robles exclaimed when Hohmann retunred from the table after the miss to the laughter of the crowd.
Thorsten bewildered by his championship winning miss. Robles regroups.
Robles was able to stay at the table another 15 minutues but he succumbed and Hohmann made the final shot down the length of the table to clinch his 5th win.
"I promise to everyone in New York that I will win this. Not just fr me, but for all of you because you deserve it", said Robles in his closing remarks.
In the meantime, Europe maintains the World 14.1 Cup which will have the inscription of Thorsten Hohmann's name on it once more. Without a doubt, a once in a generation player in the art of straight pool.
L to R: Williams, Matt Aldrich & Lenore Chen owners of the Spot. Robles, Hohmann, Chen, Gleich, John Leyman the director.