The 25th edition of the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Turning Stone Classic wrapped up this past weekend in Verona, New York. There were 128 players in attendance for this prestigious event which is the first ranking event for the Mosconi Cup standings. Players and fans that could not be in attendance could enjoy a free live stream provided by Upstate Al, azbilliards.com (Mike Howerton & Jerry Forsythe). Also onsite was Markus Noe from Cue Sport Nation who provided video footage, interviews and match updates.
The caliber of players in this event seems to get stronger every year. Some of the notables making an appearance were, world number one Pin-Yi Ko, “The Iceman” Mika Immonen, “The Hatchetman” Dennis Hatch, Mike Dechaine, “The Rocket” Rodney Morris and the defending champion Jayson Shaw. Jayson looking to win this event for the fourth consecutive time. However, he lost his 4th round match against Oscar Dominguez and was eventually eliminated by Yu Hsuan Cheng from China.
Among that strong field were several Canadian players who won their fair share of matches. Alain Parent and Sylvain Grenier were in good form until Dennis Hatch sent them both home back-to-back. Danny Hewitt recovered from a first round loss to Shawn Wilkie and won six rounds on the b-side before falling to Jayson Shaw. Mario Morra was having a good time in New York with wins over Holden Chin (on the live stream table), Kevin Ketz, Mike Dechaine and Ernesto Dominguez. Mario was sent to the B-side after losing a hill-hill battle to fellow countryman Erik Hjorleifson. Minutes after the loss to Erik, Mario was put on the live stream table again against Rodney Morris. The two players put on an impressive performance with Rodney eventually getting the 9-7 win.
I was lucky to have a brief discussion with Erik Hjorleifson just days before this event. Erik had put in a few very long practice sessions and he was looking forward to his road trip. The results confirm that he was ready to compete. Erik started strong with wins over Scott Scheur (9-1) and Mike Davis (9-6). A 9-7 win over #1 WPA ranked player Pin-Yi Ko in the third got everyone’s attention. Erik continued winning until the final match with victories over Sylvain Grenier (9-7), Mario Morra (9-8), Oscar Dominguez (9-4) and Mika Immonen (9-4).
In the B-Side finals, Mika Immonen and Oscar Dominguez battled back and forth until the score was 5-4 for Oscar. At that point, Mika caught fire and won the next five racks to close out the match with convincing style. Mika earned a rematch with Erik.
To start the finals, Erik won the lag, broke and did not see the table again until 15 minutes later when Mika Immonen had a 6-0 lead. In the 7th rack, Erik made a 4-9 carom to put his first rack under his belt. With the score 8-1, Erik ran the rack with hopes of gaining some momentum trailing 8-2. Unfortunately for Erik, Mika’s steam train rolled on and there was nothing he could do. Mika’s flawless performance earned him the title.
Always a spectacular event and looking forward to the next one.
|5-6th||Yu Hsuan Cheng||$2,000|
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