Ga Young Kim Wins The 2011 Tournament of Champions Title

Ga Young Kim

"I feel like I've won an Olympic Gold Medal twice in a row," said an elated Ga Young Kim moments after capturing the 2011 Mohegan Sun International Tournament of Champions title. The thrill of victory was all the greater since she also won the tournament in 2010.

The spirited $20,000 winner-take-all event was held at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, October 26.  Kim, the 2010 Player of the Year, defeated Gerda Hofstatter, the 2010 WPBA San Diego Classic Tour  Champion in the final match and was crowned the new Woman's "Champion of Champions." The two semifinals and the Championship match were taped for broadcast by ESPN beginning December 11.

"We may look cool out there, but the pressure is overwhelming," said Kim  "You have to play your heart out when every player is a champion. One or two errors and you lose $20,000! Your emotions are just wild during the entire tournament."

The semi and final matches require a player to win two sets, race to four games each set. In the event of a tie, the pressure becomes brutal with a one game sudden death tiebreaker. Of the four international champions in the event, Kim literally fought her way to the title. In the semifinal round, her opponent, Xiaoting Pan, the 2010 WPBA Classic Tour Championship winner, handily took the first set by a score of 4-2. Kim, displaying the heart of a champion, then blasted back to take the second set by an impressive 4-1. The one game sudden death that followed saw Kim win the lag, and a safety duel after the break, before running the table for the match.

The other semifinal also brought cheers from the crowd. Gerda Hofstatter trounced World Ranked #1 Jasmin Ouschan by a score of 4-1 and 4-2. Kim's final match against Hofstatter featured precise run outs and fierce safety play. Unable to win on any of her breaks, Hofstatter was thumped by scores of 4-2 and 4-1. Known for her uncanny shotmaking Kim raced ahead to close out the Championship match.

The crowd gave Ga Young Kim a standing ovation when she won the "Champion of Champion" title back –to-back two years in a row. She raised his arms in victory and then accepted the highest single winner's purse in Women's pool of $20,000. The trophy and the check were presented by Mohegan Sun and Diamond Billiard Tables.

The 2011 event was the 14th Annual International Tournament of Champions. Tom Cantone, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment for Mohegan Sun, was delighted with the brilliant play and the crowd of pool fans. "We were extremely pleased with this event," he said. "The crowds appreciate watching champions go head-to-head, and the players were a credit to the sport."

In addition to the fine tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Diamond Billiard Tables, Aramith Tournament Billiard Balls,  Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products, Executive Billiards Delta-13 Rack, and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPBA sanctioned event was produced by Billiards International, Ltd.