Wu on Collision Course for WPC No.2

Scotsman Pat Holtz's fantastic journey through the 2006 Philippines World Pool Championship ended today as he crashed out of the tournament, an 11-6 loser at the hands of defending champion Wu Chia-ching of Taiwan .

The 17 year-old, who shot to fame winning this tournament in Kaohsiung last year, looked at his devastating best and it will take a player at the top of his game to stop him this year.

The unheralded Holtz had been one of the surprise packages of the tournament but was not at his best as he faced Wu on the main TV table.

Wu got off to a flyer in the race-to-11 match as he led 4-1 and from there it was an uphill struggle for the Larkhall-based Holtz.

He rallied in the middle part of the match but Wu always maintained a two rack or better lead. At 8-6, Holtz was just about in touch but the composed-looking Wu reeled off three straight racks to clinch victory.

Holtz though, can hold his head high as his performances in the last week have won him a legion of fans in Manila .

For Wu, it was another superb performance and it seems that every aspect of his game is match tight. He now plays home hope Ronnie ‘Calamba' Alcano, who will have his work cut out to secure a semi-final spot.

“This year many high caliber players have gone out early so it is an interesting tournament, said Wu after the match.

“Last year there was no pressure and nothing to think about. Now I am the World Pool Champion there is a bit of tension and the pressure of expectation on me.

“My mental condition and skill level though, are better than last year and my all round play has been more consistent.”

Wu, who has shed nearly 60lbs since becoming champion 16 months ago was quietly confident on his chances of retaining his crown, “Initially, I was not that confident but after a few games it picked up and I'm playing better and better.

“I've only got three matches left and I think I have the confidence to win again, he added”