Dabawenyo pool star Corteza wins World Straight Pool title

ANOTHER WORLD TITLE. Davao’s Lee Van Corteza (in file photo) won the World Straight Pool title in New York on Sunday
ANOTHER WORLD TITLE. Davao’s Lee Van Corteza (in file photo) won the World Straight Pool title in New York on Sunday

Davao’s pool pride Lee Van Corteza added the prestigious 77th World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship to his rich trophycase becoming the first Asian to win the title.

His victory on Sunday at the Steinway Billiards in New York City wasn’t easy though. The 38-year old Dabawenyo veteran internationalist came from behind to hack out a gallant 300-183 triumph over four-time World 14.1 Straight Pool champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany in the championship round of the tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association.

The win also made Corteza the first ever Asian to win the World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship crown and join 10-time champion Ralph Greenleaf, seven-time winner Willie Mosconi and five-time titlist Irvin Crane in the elite list of winners.

It was Corteza’s third major title this year. He also ruled the US Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship in April at the Windsor Locks in Connecticut, US where he defeated Hohmann in the finals, 200-149. He also topped the World Pool Series – Kamui Challenge in April.

In the previous editions of the tournament, two runner-up finishes were the highest placings the Philippines got when legendary cue masters Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante wound up second in the 2012 and 2008 editions, respectively.

Hohmann was actually hot in the early goings as he grabbed a 146-92 lead.

But Corteza capitalized on Hohmann’s erratic game in the second half to take the upper hand, 205-159, and eventually won the game.

Corteza made it to the finals by ousting American Jonni Fulcher in the semifinals via a 200-145 decision. He also defeated Americans Hunter Lombardo in the first round (200-43) and Max Eberle in the quarterfinals (200-44) of the knockout phase.

In the group stage, Corteza blasted Americans Tom Karabotsos (100-18), James Heller (100-15), Jorge Rodriguez (100-36), Bob Coates (100-45) and John Schott (100-0), and Jamaican Rhys Chen (100-69).

For his part, Hohmann reached the finals after trouncing former world champion Darren Appleton of Great Britain, 200-87, in the other semis match.