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Schmidt Tops World Tourney of 14.1
Aug 6, 2012, 8:16 AM

Schmidt reached 200 with a nervy 37-ball run.
Long considered the top straight-pool player in the United States, John Schmidt proved he’s worthy of consideration among the best on the planet by winning the World Tournament of 14.1.

Held July 29-Aug. 3 at New York’s Carom Café, the World Tournament featured a field with plenty of international talent, including past champions Stephan Cohen, Thorsten Hohmann and Oliver Ortmann.

Before Schmidt earned a spot opposite Efren Reyes in the final, though, he turned in an early highlight of the event. On Day 2, facing Cohen in the opening round-robin stage, Schmidt put on a masterful clinic running 100 balls in a row to win, 100–0, leaving Cohen helpless.

Fellow American Max Eberle topped Schmidt in the second stage of the event, a double-elimination round to determine the final 16 players. Schmidt bounced back from that loss to defeat Dennis Spears for a spot in the knockout phase. He then took revenge against Eberle, earning a spot in the quarterfinals by a count of 200–46.

In the semifinal, Schmidt faced another German in Ralph Eckert, who the day before defeated Johnny Archer. Schmidt jumped to an early lead, thanks to a 98-ball run. Eckert mounted a short comeback, but Schmidt proved too much to handle as he took a spot in the final, 200–60.

On the other half of the bracket, Efren Reyes was terrorizing his opponents with his pinpoint cue-ball control and defense. The Filipino star went undefeated in nine consecutive matches, including a semifinal win over Darren Appleton, 200–124.

In the 200-point final, Schmidt came out blazing with a lightning-fast run of 107 in just 36 minutes. Then unbelievably, Reyes responded with 112-ball run of his own. After a 20-ball run from Schmidt, Reyes returned with intentions of finishing the job. With Reyes at the table needing 31 balls, Schmidt could only hope for one more chance — and he got it. Efren missed, letting Schmidt back needing 37 balls for the victory. Schmidt faced a tough off-angle combination into a partially covered pocket. Without a problem, he slow rolled it in. Needing only nine more balls, Schmidt then faced the biggest break shot of his life.

Schmidt fired the final break shot with authority — slamming his hand into the table rail in relief. He knocked off the remaining sevent balls and clinched the World Tournament title.

"This title means so much to me,” Schmidt said. “It means to me as much as anything I've ever won. I was so nervous in the end that I can't remember everything. I hardly ever celebrate like this with a fist pump and stuff, but I couldn't contain it.”

(Story by Dragon Promotions)