Feijen Beats Corteza, Wins US$50,000 in International Challenge of Champions

Niels Feijen

Niels "The Terminator" Feijen of the Netherlands is this year's International Challenge of Champions winner and has taken home $50,000 for his effort.

Feijen, the No.1 player in Europe beat reigning Filipino National open champion and all Japan championship ruler Lee Vann "The Slayer" Corteza, (1-5), (5-3), (1) in the finals via a one rack tie breaker yesterday morning at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.

Actually, the 28-year-old Davao City native, playing under the banner of Negros Billiard Stable, won the first match with a tremendous 5-1 victory. However, Feijen, winner the Derby City Classic 9-ball event took the 2nd match for a 5-3 victory to force a sudden death play off, race to 1 rack. Feijen won the opening lag and ran-out the match.

Earlier, Feijen beat John Schmidt (USA) in the quarters and Thorsten Hohmann ( Germany), in the semis, respectively to arrange a titular showdown with Corteza, winner over Ralf Souquet (Germany ) and Johnny Archer (USA), in order.

With the win, Feijen raises his total yearly winnings to $80,590 and climbs to No.1 in the 2007 Player Money list. At second place is Filipino Dennis Orcollo with US$55,650.

Corteza along with double world champion Ronato Alcano will compete in the US$12,000 top prize Turning Stone 9-ball event next week in Verona, New York .

The International Challenge of Champions is regarded as the supreme test of skill in professional billiards. The eight players are so evenly matched that any one player could beat the other seven on a given day. In addition, the tournament format is the most demanding test of 9-Ball skill in the sport. The matches are two sets, race to five games each set, with a 1-game sudden death tie-breaker in the event of tied sets. The 9-ball does not count on the break, and to win a game, the 9-ball is call shot. The caliber of competition is so intense that a single mistake invariably eliminates a player from any chance at the winner-take-all purse of US $50,000.

File photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe