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Hatch Fulfills Prophesy, Wins First Major in 8 Years
Mar 20, 2006, 2:58 PM

A weeping Dennis Hatch cradled the championship trophy for the Gabriels Open 8-Ball Professional Players Championship, after mounting a furious comeback to win a second-set squeaker against undefeated challenger Mike Davis in the final.

Hatch, 35, had won the first set, 5-3, but found himself down 4-1 in the second. It looked for a moment like the match would go to a one-game sudden-death tiebreaker, but Hatch was able to break and run out to make it 4-2, and then took advantage of a Davis scratch and dry break to steal the set, 5-4.

"I just felt like I was going to win it," Hatch said of the event, held March 16-19 in conjunction with the Super Billiards Expo in Valley Forge, Pa. "I was playing better than anyone else. Ö Itís been about eight years since I won a major ó thatís why I cried."

Hatchís last major win came at the 1998 Denver 10-Ball Open. He spent roughly two years incarcerated for drug-related charges until his release in September 2003, and since has played sparingly on the Joss Northeast tour.

"For the past two months now ó three months, tops ó Iíve been playing every day and getting myself back in shape," he said.

In the final, Hatch avenged his 5-3, 5-4 loss to Davis in the hot-seat match. He defeated Ralf Souquet, 5-4, 4-5, 1-0, to earn the rematch against Davis.

Hatch made a show of kissing a hand and laying it on the crystal vase championship trophy before both his semifinal and final matches.

"Let me kiss my trophy," he said prophetically.