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Hohmann Hits Jackpot: $350,000 Prize at IPT Open and Spot on SportsCenter
by Mason King Jul 31, 2006, 9:44 AM EST

LAS VEGAS, Nev. Ė In a dream finale for the IPTís first regular season event, Thorsten Hohmann of Germany gutted out an 8-7 victory over Filipino Marlon Manalo on Sunday to pocket the $350,000 top prize at the North American 8-Ball Open.

Hohmannís feat ranked No. 9 among the Top 10 Plays of the Day on ESPNís SportsCenter Sunday night, a rare occurrence for a pool event and one befitting the higher profile that the $8.5 million tour seeks to create for cue sports.

Two key misses by Hohmann allowed Manalo to recover from a 4-2 deficit in the final to reach the hill first, 7-6. With Manalo effortlessly piloting the cue ball as if with a GPS device, it seemed that all he needed to do was sink a ball on his break to claim the title. But, as the 200 players in the IPTís first event of 2006 learned over the grueling eight-day tournament, getting a second shot on the table was anything but guaranteed.

Manalo failed to sink a ball on the break for the fourth time in the match, leaving a table full of hangers. The 27-year-old Hohmann carefully cleared the slate to tie the match, and then faced the most important break shot of his young career. He shattered the rack and then watched the 9 ball stroll into a corner pocket. His eyes lit up.

ďI thought, ĎOh my God, this is the easiest runout Iíve ever had. If I canít run this out ÖíĒ Hohmann recalled after the match.

With the same expert touch and steely concentration the German exhibited over the past week of round-robin play, Hohmann picked through the rack and nailed the $350,000 shot without hesitation.

His winnings broke the previous record of $200,000 for first place in a pool event, set at the IPTís King of the Hill event in December. On Sunday, Manalo pocketed a none-too-shabby $99,000 for second place.

Never one to show much emotion, Hohmann remained calm and collected through his eloquent winnerís speech, broadcast throughout Europe live on the EuroSport networks. He made a point of thanking IPT founder Kevin Trudeau, giving the millionaire infomercial maven and self-help guru a deep bow.

The stakes will be even higher at the IPTís World Open 8-Ball Championship, set for Sept. 2-10 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nev. The $3 million purse will feature a $500,000 prize for first place.

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