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U.S. Assumes Command

On the heels of spirited and nearly flawless play from Mosconi Cup debutante Rodney Morris, Team USA won three of four matches Friday afternoon at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas to take a 6-3 lead over Team Europe in the annual Matchroom Sport-promoted team tournament.

Morris, unbeaten in his two matches thus far (one doubles win and one singles victory), made the most of every shooting opportunity and worked the capacity crowd into near hysteria while teamming with Johnny Archer in a 5-1 stomping of the German duo of Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann. Morris continually urged the pro-U..S. crowd for support during the match.

Day Two of the Ryder Cup-style event began with Jeremy Jones, who learned he would be leading off in singles competition just 20 minutes prior to the opening lag, beating Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, 5-3. Earl Strickland and Tony Robles then paired to topple Steve Davis and Nick Van den Berg by the same score. The only thing that kept Europe from squandering all four opportunities on Friday was Mika Immonen’s thrilling 5-4 win over Charlie Williams. Williams had fought back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the match, and had the break in the case game. Not only did Williams fail to make a ball on the break, but he left Immonen a 1-9 combination that sealed his doom. Because of the U.S.’s three-game lead, the promoters decided not to stage a fifth match on Friday, for fear that another U.S. win might lead to an early end to the race-to-11 tournament. In 2001, the U.S. ended the event on Saturday with a 12-1 thrashing, leaving Matchroom and TV partner Sky Sports with no Sunday programming.

For more information on the 2004 Mosconi Cup, log onto www.mosconicup.com.

U.S. Takes Early Mosconi Cup Lead

A surprisingly large and boisterous turn-out greeted Team USA and Team Europe on Thursday when the Mosconi Cup team tournament made its U.S. debut at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, and the players didn’t disappoint. In a five-match mix of singles and doubles play, the U.S. squad closed out the opening day with a 3-2 advantage in the race-to-11 tournament.

Uncertain of how the Mosconi Cup, wildly successful for nine years in London, would fare in America, promoter Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sport was overwhelmed by the 300-plus fans that filled the arena for the 11 a.m. opening lag. “This is absolutely fantastic,” said Hearn, who hopes to switch the Cup to a home-and-home series from this point on. Bouyed by nearly 100 Euros who made the pre-Christmas trek to Las Vegas, the first day featured raucous cheering for the two sides.

The opening match featured Johnny Archer, pool’s hotest player, against reigning World Pool Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany. Archer jumped to an early lead, and held on for a nerve-wracking 5-4 win in a match that lasted some 90 minutes.

Europe tied the match when the Scandanavian duo of Marcus Chamat and Mika Immonen rolled to a 5-1 win over Tony Robles and Charlie Williams.

The U.S. took a 3-1 lead after Rodney Morris made an impressive Mosconi Cup debut with a 5-3 pasting of Ralf Souquet, and the team of Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones squandered a 4-0 lead, but outlasted Steve Davis and Nick Van den Berg, 5-4.

Europe stayed within striking distance of the Americans when Immonen topped Archer, 5-3, in the day’s final match.

For more information and photos from the 2004 Mosconi Cup, and match-by-match updates, go to www.mosconicup.com.

Germany’s Hohmann Surprises the World!

Hohmann's amazing dedication to the game paid off in a public way.

Hohmann’s amazing dedication to the game paid off in a public way.

In an unlikely match-up of underdog contenders, Germany’s youthful Thorsten Hohmann defeated Canada’s diminutive Alex Pagulayan, 16-10, in the title match of the 2003 empirepoker.com World Pool Championship, July 20.

Hohmann controlled the match, running out three times in the first eight games, to gain a 6-2 lead, and holding his lead through the rest of the match. “I don’t know what to say,” said the overwhelmed Hohmann, whose hands partially covered a face that suddenly matched the bright red golf shirt he wore for the final. “I may not realize what I did for a few days.”

Bustamante Takes IBC Munich Open

101aFrancisco Bustamante won the IBC Munich Open, beating German Thorsten Hohmann on his home turf; 6-4; 7-5. In third place was Bruno Muratore of Italy, and in fourth, Oliver Ortmann of Germany. The competition, held May 30-June 1, was a race-to-six, best-of-three format, where competitors had to win by two racks. Bustamente’s win was worth $6,000.

Hohmann may not have nabbed the title, but his second-place finish was enough to earn him the top spot in the IBC point rankings; it was also worth $3,600 in prize money.

With qualifiers held from Virginia Beach to Moscow, the field of 64 included players from 17 countries, including many of the top European players and strong contingents from Asia and North America. The IBC’s next event is the Holland Open, to be held July 25-27.