Karen Corr Crowned 2008 Champion of Champions
“I’m just thrilled beyond words,” said an elated Karen Corr moments after capturing the 2008 Mohegan Sun International Tournament of Champions title. The pressure packed $25,000 winner-take-all event was held at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, October 29. Corr, who set a record by winning the event three years in a row, defeated 2007 World Champion Xiaoting Pan in a one game sudden death showdown in the final match and defended her title as “Champion of Champions.” The two semifinals and the Championship match were taped for broadcast by ESPN.
“We may look cool out there, but the pressure is just incredible,” said Corr “There’s no margin for error when every player is a champion. One shot missed and you can lose $25,000! Your emotions are off the chart during the entire tournament.”
Indeed, of the four international champions in the event, Corr had to fight her way to the title. She defeated two time World Champion Ga Young Kim in the semifinal round 4-2 and 4-3. 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 intense with a one game sudden death shootout.
The other semifinal also brought cheers from the crowd. Pan, from China, defeated legendary Allison Fisher, who holds fifty-three WPBA Classic Tour titles. They split sets 4-3 and 4-3, and after trading safeties in the sudden death game, Pan finally ran the table to win the match. Corr’s final match against Pan was a nailbiter, featuring flawless run outs and exquisite safety play. Corr easily won the first set 4-2. Pan then took the first game of set two, and following multiple safety duels, got out with a score of 4-1. They then went into sudden death, where Pan won the lag and the break and worked her way through the 4 ball. At that point, having left herself in bad position for the next shot, she played safe, placing the 5 ball on the foot rail and the cue ball far down table.
Corr now faced a rough layout. She might have tried a safety, even though the spread of the balls made it difficult. All the more troublesome, the seven was all but frozen to the nine on the rail near the head end of the table. She elected to play an extraordinary combination shot, banking the five down table, where it perfectly struck the seven and pocketed the nine. The incredible combination was a championship shot to close out the Championship match.
The crowd gave Karen Corr a standing ovation, rocking the arena with cheers and applause. She raised his arms in victory and then accepted the highest single winner’s purse in Women’s pool of $25,000. The trophy and the check were presented by Mohegan Sun and Connelly Billiards.
The 2008 event was the Eleventh Annual International Tournament of Champions. Bob Yalen, Director of Sports & Entertainment for Mohegan Sun, was delighted with the support displayed by the crowd of pool fans. “We will continue to host this event,” he said. “The crowds were even more than we anticipated, and the players were amazing. We are extremely pleased.”
In addition to the fine tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Connelly Billiards Tables, Aramith Super Pro Billiard Balls, Simonis Cloth, L.E.A.N.I. Italian Slate, AcCue Shot Training Device, Executive Billiards Delta-13 Rack and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPBA sanctioned event was produced by Billiards International, Ltd.