Josh Hillard wins Starcade Billiards' Robin Workman Memorial 9 Ball Fall Classic Tournament in Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Aug. 29, 2016
He looked unstoppable all week, and in the end he was unstoppable. Jayson Shaw cruised to his fourth (in 5 attempts) Turning Stone Classic title at the Turning Stone Classic XXVI in Verona, NY on August 25th - 28th.
Shaw's path to the hot-seat started with three dominating wins over Korean Champion Lee Kang, Bucky Souvanthong and Ivaylo Petrov. After three matches, Shaw's combined win/loss record was 27 racks won and 4 racks lost. Next up for Shaw was veteran Ernesto Dominguez. Dominguez would win six racks before Shaw got to nine, but Shaw was back to his dominating ways in his next match as he defeated Danny Hewitt 9-3. Shaw's winning streak looked to be in danger in his next match, a true battle with Earl Strickland. Strickland led the match early, but he seemed to lose his focus mid-match and Shaw regained control to cruise to a 9-6 win. The hot-seat match saw Shaw in full "break and run mode", as he defeated Karen Corr 9-2.
While the presence of Corr in the late rounds of a tournament is no real surprise, her bid for the hot-seat here was her best finish at a Turning Stone event. Corr had early wins over Sean Morgan, Dawn Fox, Zion Zvi and Alain Parent. Aside from a hill-hill match with Morgan, Corr was almost as dominating as Shaw with her next three matches won with a combined 27-7 scoreline. Just like Shaw in his match with Strickland, Corr looked to be on her way to the one loss side in her match with 17 year old Russian sensation Maksim Dudanets. Dudanets led the match 8-5, before Corr won four straight racks for the 9-8 win. She capped off her comeback with a 9-ball break at hill-hill to send the Russian youth to the one loss side. Corr then survived another hill-hill match, this time with Donny Mills, to earn her place in the hot-seat match.
After the loss to Shaw in the hot-seat match, she found Earl Strickland waiting on the one loss side. In her long career, Corr had never defeated Strickland in a tournament. She was more than up to the challenge on this day though, as she fought neck and neck with an unusually subdued Strickland. Corr and Strickland went to hill-hill, a place that Corr was becoming comfortable with at this event. and it was Corr that navigated a tough rack to earn the win. "I'm over the moon" Corr said after the match. "Earl is such a genius at the table, and how many times are you going to have the chance to play him?" she continued.
The extended race to 13 final started out close, as Shaw couldn't seem to distance himself from the tenacious Corr. She was within one rack at 5-4, when Shaw found a groove with his break and quickly took control of the match. After multiple table runs by Shaw, he had scored a 13-5 win for his fourth Turning Stone title. When asked after the tournament as to what he attributed his Turning Stone success to, Shaw credited the beautiful arena in Verona. "I just feel really comfortable. There are a lot of people watching, which is good. I feel as if I can play good anywhere, but it’s nice to have a crowd watching. You know what it is like sometimes. Some places you go you don’t have many spectators. I like the fact that it’s open to anyone. I feel really at home here".
Shaw's win earned him $8000 in prize money, while Corr settled for $5000 for second place.