Choi Hye-mi (29, Welcome Savings Bank) has been crowned the new women’s professional billiards champion after defeating “teammate” Kim Ye-eun (24).
Choi defeated Kim 4-2 (4-11 11-4 11-5 11-5 6-11 11-8) in the final of the NHK Card LPBA Championship at the Goyang Kintex PBA Stadium in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do, on August 8.
Choi, who became the LPBA’s 14th ‘Queen’ and the 12th Korean player to win the title, earned 30 million won in prize money.
Meanwhile, “Genius Girl” Kim Ye-eun, who became the youngest player to win the 2020-21 season-opening SK Rent-a-Car Championship at the age of 21 years and seven months, fell just short of her third career title.
It was a tense start to the final between the fifth-time finalist and first-time finalist Choi Hye-mi. After Kim scored 11 points in the seventh and eighth innings of the first set, including two bank shots, to take an 11-4 lead, Choi Hye-mi responded in the next set with four high-scoring points in the seventh inning to take an 11-4 (15 innings) victory.
But it was in the third set that Choi’s focus really showed. Choi was down 1-2 in the fifth inning of the third set, but scored two in the fifth and three in the sixth to take a 6-2 lead. She then reached 11 points in the 11th to take the third set 11-5. In the fourth set, Kim Ye-eun went back to hitting from the third to the ninth, while Choi Hye-mi racked up 1-2 points to win 11-5 in 13 games and take the set 3-1.
Kim, who was on the brink of defeat, fought back to take the fifth set 11-6. However, Choi Hye-mi closed out the match with an 11-8 victory in the sixth set to clinch the title.
Choi Hye-mi, a former judo athlete in college, has been cueing part-time at pool halls since she became an adult. She became a professional billiards player in 2019, beating the 7.3:1 odds at the LPBA Open Challenge for amateur players. With this victory, Choi made history as the first ‘hobbyist’ winner in professional billiards.
For the tournament, Choi competed in the PPQ (Primary Qualifier) round, the first round of the tournament, without a seeding for the Round of 64, which is reserved for the top 32 players in the last 10 tournaments. After defeating Lee Kyung-yeon in the PPQ, she went on to defeat So Ji Hye (PQ), Lee Woo-kyung (Eswai) in the Round of 64, and Hida Oriie (Japan, SK Rent-a-Car) in the Round of 32. She then defeated Hwang Min-ji in the round of 16, Yong Hyun-ji in the quarterfinals, and Kim Min-young in the semifinals to reach the final. 토토사이트
Meanwhile, the Welbanc Top Ranking (KRW 2 million), which is awarded to the player with the highest average in a single match, was won by Yong Hyun-ji, who recorded an average of 1.923 in her 25-6, 13-inning victory over Park Sun-kyung in the Round of 64.
With Choi Hye-mi crowned the LPBA Tour’s sixth winner of the season, the men’s PBA Round of 128 will get underway at 11 a.m. on Sept. 9.