Drawing on a strong field of players,
many of whom had recently competed in the 40th Annual
US Open 9-Ball Championships in Virginia, including
winner Yu-Hsuan Cheng, and world champion Pin-Yi Ko,
the 4th Annual Steinway Classic in New York drew the
largest field of competitors, 92, in its history. Yu-Lung
Chang defeated Ko Ping Chung twice to go undefeated
and claim title to the $7,000-added event, hosted by
Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, from November
"It was our largest field, and the most competitive,"
said event director Tony Robles, "because it was
truly an international event."
Though Yu-Hsuan Cheng, Pin-Yi Ko and four-time US Open
champion Shane Van Boening entered the tournament among
the highly favored competitors, all were eliminated
early. Cheng went two and out, Ko finished in the tie
for 9th place and Van Boening finished out of the money.
Chang and Chung advanced to the winners' side semifinals;
Chang, against Warren Kiamco and Chung, squaring off
against Jayson Shaw. Chang and Kiamco battled to double
hill before Chang advanced to the hot seat match. He
was joined by Chung, who'd sent Shaw to the loss side
9-6. Chang took the first of two against Chung 9-7 and
waited in the hot seat for his return.
Awaiting Shaw and Kiamco on the loss side were Nick
Van Den Berg and Darren Appleton. Nick Van Den Berg
had eliminated world champion Pin-Yi Ko 9-6 and Rodney
Morris 9-4 to draw Shaw. Appleton had won two straight
double hill matches, against Alex Kazakis and Francisco
Felicilda, for the right to face Kiamco. Appleton had
been down 2-7 to Felicilda, before rallying to win that
match. Appleton and Shaw downed Kiamco and Van Den Berg,
both 9-7, and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Shaw opened those quarterfinals with five straight racks,
and though Appleton would split the final eight games
with Shaw evenly, Shaw won it 9-4. Shaw's loss-side
run came to end in the semifinals, with Chung eliminating
him 9-5 for a second shot against countryman Chang.
Chang punctuated his undefeated run with a 13-1 victory
over Cheng in the finals.
Predator Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership
and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality,
as well as sponsors Predator Cues, The National Amateur
Pool League (PlayNAPL.com), Ozone Billiards, Delta-13
racks, Gothamcitytechnologies.com, PoolontheNet.com,
Phil Cappelle of Billiards Press, and TheDevitoTeam.com.
Special thanks went out to event photographers Eli Ceballos,
Karl Kantrowitz and to Robles' tour staff - William
Finnegan, Mandy Wu, Ron Mason, Rob Omen, Irene Kim,
Upstate AL of AZBTV (which streamed the event throughout
the weekend), Brad McDuffie, Joe Wilson Torres, and
(his) "amazing wife, Gail Robles."
by Skip Maloney AZB