Chang goes undefeated to win "truly international" 4th Annual Steinway Classic
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
Nov. 5, 2015
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 Pin Chung twice to go undefeated and claim title to the $7,000-added event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, from November 1-3.
 
"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 Ko Pin Chung advanced to the winners' side semifinals; Chang, against Warren Kiamco and Ko, squaring off against Jayson Shaw. Chang and Kiamco battled to double hill before Chang advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Ko, who'd sent Shaw to the loss side 9-6. Chang took the first of two against Ko 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 Ko eliminating him 9-5 for a second shot against countryman Chang. Chang punctuated his undefeated run with a 13-11 victory over Ko 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), Dan Faraguna, Jim Gutierrez, Joe Wilson Torres, and (his) "amazing wife, Gail Robles."