BERLICUM - Jean Paul de Bruijn, the new Dutch three-cushion champion, received the homage he deserved in front of full stands in the Benelux theatre this Sunday afternoon. The lady dancer on the billiards table after the Masters in Berlicum sang to the happy champion, garlands and smoke signals filled the arena. The championship, which saw off Dick Jaspers as titleholder, was dethroned in a final between a Zeeland player and a Hague youngster. Jean Paul de Bruijn triumphed over Glenn Hofman with an unexpectedly high score: 40-21 in 22 innings.
Jean Paul de Bruijn, as the new leader of the Dutch rankings, will join Jeffrey Jorissen for the Netherlands to the World Championship for nation teams in Viersen. For De Bruijn, it was his fourth Masters title in his career and in the era when Dick Jaspers is the sovereign figurehead. The Jumbo Masters showed that a new generation is on its way. ''I am super happy with my title, because the competition is getting stronger all the way with a lot of big young talents.''
Glenn Hofman, at 33, may have already outgrown that status, because he stood in the Masters final three times. He lost that fight for gold in 2015, 2016 and this year, but still has a long career ahead of him.
The two final players did not start the Masters impressively strong. The final was unbeatable for Jean Paul de Bruijn, while for Glenn Hofman only the apotheosis was missing. That showed the final in front of RTL7's Kozoom cameras. The match kicked off by a slow start, with only Jean Paul de Bruijn finding the flow to shine with a sudden attack of 5, 7, 3, 3 and 10. That brought the score from 15-15 to a big advantage for the Zeeland crack (39-19) and three innings later to the finish in the final match.
To complete the podium with an emotional champion were Glenn Hofman, Jean van Erp and Sam van Etten. The knock-outs with the eight finalists started with a thriller, in which Jean van Erp delivered the verdict over 23-time champion Dick Jaspers 40-38 (22/21). The following stretch did not really showed very exciting scores. That was especially true of the three games on the final day.
Glenn Hofman won the semi-final against Jean van Erp 40-23 in 25 innings. Jean Paul de Bruijn finished in the other semi-final against Sam van Etten 40-18 in 18 innings. And finally in the golden match, Jean Paul de Bruijn reigned supreme over Glenn Hofman.
Joy was mixed with deception on that final day. Jean Paul de Bruijn grew in the event and went to a miraculous seizure of power. Glenn Hofman, Sam van Etten and Jean van Erp had their moments of glory against Jeffrey Jorissen, Joey de Kok and Dick Jaspers. The disappointment was especially evident in the missed apotheosis by Glenn Hofman (who so much wanted to win his first Masters title) and Sam van Etten. The North Holland player went down in his match against Jean Paul de Bruijn, but has nevertheless taken another big step forward in his second Masters.
Also nice for the statistics was that two players with short Korean professional adventures were in the final. Jean Paul de Bruijn assured that the two players had become very good friends there and had returned an experience richer.
In his speech afterwards, Jean Paul de Bruijn thanked many people and especially the KNBB, the organization, volunteers and billiard fans who had given the players a formidable Masters. And finally he kissed his biggest fan and wife Anita, who fell into his arms crying after winning the championship.
In the overall standings, Dick Jaspers finished with the highest average 2.164, Sam van Etten with the highest run of 13.
The final ranking at the KNBB Jumbo Masters, top 8 (average, best runs):
- Jean Paul de Bruijn 1,448-10
- Glenn Hofman 1.482-12
- Sam van Etten 1.271-13
- Jean van Erp 1.235-7
- Dick Jaspers 2,164-12
- Barry van Beers 1,405-6
- Joey de Kok 1,208-6
- Jeffrey Jorissen 1,235-7