Chang Claims Second Consecutive Guinness 9 Ball Tour Billiards Event
With all four representatives going through to the final day, the Chinese-Taipei domination of the Guinness 9 Ball Tour continues as billiard ace Chang Jung-Lin overcame a stern challenge from compatriot and close friend Wang Hung-Hsiang, 11-7, to secure his second title this year as the Penang leg of Asia’s premier pool competition concluded at the packed grand ball room of the G Hotel today.
Still riding the momentum from his impressive semi-final victory against Yang Ching-Shun with a hard-fought 9-6 win, it was actually Taipei’s number one ranked player Wang who jumped the gun and took an early 3-1 lead, courtesy of a foul by Chang in the opening rack. Not wanting to let up the pressure, he immediately followed up the opening salvo with table routs in the second and fourth.
But as the reigning Tour champion, a confident Chang was visibly unfazed by the early deficit. Calm and collected, he quietly gathered himself and was finally able to stop the bleeding via some well placed approach shots to get back in contention 2-3.
From there on, lady luck completely turned its back on Wang as multiple errors surfaced in his game, haunting the lanky player nicknamed ‘The Sage’. A simple one ball line drive was badly missed at the sixth rack which was followed by a muffed rail try on the one off following a well-placed safety by Chang in the next rack to concede the valuable lead, 3-4.
Things proved to turn for the worse for Wang as midway through the race to eleven final, he suffered three consecutive dry breaks which saw Chang come alive and utilize his accurate potting and incredible table management skills to stump his rival and claim an amazing seven straight racks to skyrocket towards the hill, 10-3.
But as a player recognized of thriving under immense pressure, Wang simply refused to give up. Living up to his Chinese-Taipei number one ranking, he courageously battled back and displayed his own version of billiards flair to string four racks in a row much to the delight of the appreciative crowd.
But clearly the day belonged to Chang who finally ended the incredible final showdown at rack 18. Taking his chance, he jacked up on a brown seven ball bank shot which he hit with incredible precision to send it screaming into the corner pocket.
Asked about his formula for success Chang replied I believe that one of the reasons I am able to keep winning here is that I have found a way to control my temper. For you to be able to win in such a major tournament, it is important to be able to keep your emotions in check. If the pressure gets to you, you are bound to make crucial mistakes and you won’t be able to think clearly. I made sure to keep calm and maintain my focus and that gave me the edge. It feels great to win again and I hope I can maintain this level of performance for the next tournament!
Surprisingly, Wang was not disappointed with the runner-up finish I’m definitely not disappointed by my performance here in Penang. I was able to defeat some very tough opponents on the way to the final and it showed that I have what it takes to win. Although it would have been nice to win since it is my birthday tomorrow as it would have been a nice birthday present.
I was just unfortunate that I did not have luck by my side for my match against Chang. Those dry breaks really hurt my chances a lot. But I think I managed to give the crowd a good show and I’m proud of myself for that. I will try my best to win next time.
Earlier in the day, Chang overcame a massive semi final challenge from compatriot Wu Chia-Ching, 9-7, to barge through to the final of the annual nation-hopping event organized by ESPN STAR Sports. Wang followed suit after trumping last year’s overall Tour leader, Yang Ching-Shun, 9-6.
Back-to-back leg wins means Chang is firmly cemented at the number one spot in the 2008 Tour Order of Merit with 140 points. He has also pocketed US$15,000 for his efforts. Wang is rewarded US$6,000 and 50 ranking points to pad the 20 points he already acquired from the previous Taipei leg.
The Chinese-Taipei contingent is now looking forward to continuing their immaculate performance and their quest for a historic second sweep of the Guinness 9 Ball Tour at the next leg which cues off in Genting Highlands, Malaysia on May 30- June 01, 2008.
The Guinness 9 Ball Tour is sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiard Union (APBU) and organized by ESPN STAR Sports’ Event Management Group (EMG). Guinness is the title sponsor for the Tour. The local sanctioning body is the Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation. Mansion 88 is the gold sponsor. Iwan Simonis and Aramith supply the official tablecloth and official balls respectively. Brunswick Metro provides the official pool table while Predator is the official cue. BCLN is the official apparel. The Sun is the Media Partner. The Official Hotel and Venue is the G Hotel. STAR Sports is the official broadcaster while Astro is the official Broadcast Partner.
Further information can be obtained at (