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​Professional 9 Ball Pool - Turning Stone Classic XXV
7th-10th January 2016 / Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, USA


Mika Immonen finally got his hands on another Turning Stone Classic trophy; 16 years after taking the event’s first edition in 2000.

‘The Iceman’ was the coolest of the strong 128 player field, which was whittled down over four days in the usual double elimination format to the final.

In the early rounds, Immonen was pushed close by American pair Tyler Van Wulvan and Brandon Shuff, but the Finn prevailed both times 9-7.

He then resigned reigning US Open 9 Ball Champion Yu-Hsuan Cheng to the loser’s side after coming through a hill-hill finish in Round 4.

Shuan Wilkie was next to fall at the hands of the eventual winner before Immonen set up a hot seat match with Canada’s ‘Big Red’ Erik Hjorleifson.

Hjorleifson was having an inspired tournament after earlier defeating current World Number 1 and World 9 & 10 Ball Champion Ko Pin Yi.

He continued his blistering form by booking a place in the championship game with a 9-4 success over Immonen.

Mika regrouped, though, immediately booking a re-match when seeing off Oscar Dominguez 9-5 in the loser’s side final.

If revenge was on Immonen’s mind in the final then he was certainly showing it. In a determined, powerful start, he capitalised on a Hjorleifson scratch in the opening rack to run his way through to 6-0 lead. 

Hjorleifson did get on the board, but he was unable to make sufficient inroads as Immonen nurtured his advantage into a resounding 13-2 victory.

Defending champion Jayson Shaw’s incredible bid for a 4-Peat was ended by Cheng in the 7th/8th placed positions.

This competition was also the first to count towards Team USA’s Mosconi Cup ranking list for December 2016. Dominguez (3rd), Rodney Morris (4th), Wilkie (5th/6th) and Hunter Lombardo (7th/8th) gave themselves an early boost in that prestigious race. 

Written and published by Michael Day on the 11th January 2016​

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