Veteran cue master Lee Vann Corteza started his campaign on a high note by scoring two victories in the group stage of the 77th World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship being held at the Steinway Billiards in New York City.
Corteza, the reigning US Open 14.1 Straight Pool winner, opened his bid with an impressive 100-0 victory over American John Schott then posted a 100-69 win against Jamaican Rhys Chen to take the lead in Group 2 with a clean 2-0 record.
Joining Corteza and Schott in the group are four-time World 14.1 Straight Pool champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, and Americans Eddie Kunz, Tom Karabotsos, James Heller, Bob Coates and Jorge Rodriguez.
The 38-year old Davao City pride hopes to continue his sterling run in the tournament when he battles Hohmann, who is coming off an 86-100 loss to Rodriguez.
Corteza holds a 1-0 lead against Hohmann this year. He defeated the German in the finals of the US Open Straight Pool via a 200-149 decision last April.
After meeting Hohmann, Corteza will be up against Coates in the tournament sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association.
Reigning champion Mika Immonen of Finland is in Group 1 with Del Sim of Scotland, Pascal Dufresne of Canada, and Americans Danny Harriman, Mark Kendall, Robert Madenjian, Tom Gleich and Thomas Walsh.
Playing in Group 3 are Darren Appleton of England, Olli Turkulainen of Finland, Frank Scharbach of Germany, and Americans Tony Robles, Hunter Lombardo, Michael Yednak, Gene Ok and Ed Culhane.
Jonni Fulcher of Scotland, and Americans John Schmidt, Max Eberle, Danny Barouty, Sean Morgan, Holden Chin, Noah Vogleman and Mark Finklestein are in Group 4.