Burford wins Inaugural Steinway Billiards Classic in New York

In putting together the $2,000-added Inaugural Steinway Billiards Classic, held on the weekend of August 4-5 at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY, organizers of the New York-based Predator Tour (including tour director Tony Robles) reasoned that with the World Straight Pool Championships taking place from July 29-August 8 in nearby Flushing, NY, they'd get some crossover talent to sign on. They were right.

Earl Strickland showed up. So, among others, did Mika Immonen, Corey Deuel, Mike Dechaine, Jeremy Sossei, and Phil Burford, all of whom advanced to be among the final 12 in the 44-entrant field. Burford, fresh off a 22nd place finish in the Southern Classic One-Ball Tournament and a June victory on the Joss NE Tour, defeated Corey Deuel twice to lay claim to the first Steinway Billiards Classic title.

Burford faced Deuel for the first time among the winners' side final eight, defeating him and moving on to face Joey Korsiak. Mika Immonen, in the meantime, faced Max Eberle in the other winners' side semfinal. Burford got into the hot seat match with an 8-3 victory over Korsiak, and was joined by the "Iceman," who'd survived a double hill battle versus Eberle. Mika sent Burford to a re-match against Deuel in the semifinals 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for his return.

Eberle was the one who picked up Deuel on the loss side. Deuel had defeated Mhet Vergara 8-6 and benefited from a forfeit by Sossei to reach him. Korsiak, in the meantime, drew Earl "The Pearl" Strickland, who'd gotten by Dechaine and Wilkie, both 8-5. 

Korsiak and Eberle had a single-match, loss-side run, as Strickland downed Korsiak 8-4 and Deuel came out on the right side of a double hill match against Eberle. This led to something of a 'dream' quarterfinal, pitting Deuel against Strickland; the kind of match that draws crowds (and it did). Deuel came out on top 8-5 for a second crack at Burford.

The second verse proved to be the same as the first. Burford ended Deuel's day 8-6 in the semifinals and moved on to an extended race-to-11 re-match final against Immonen. The two battled back and forth in a tight game that at rack 16 was tied. Burford won the extension game, and then added two more to claim the event title.

With the highly competitive field that showed up to play in this inaugural event, plans are already underway for a Second Annual Steinway Billiards Classic, already boasting $5,000 in added money. Organizers have yet to solidify the date, but it will be set, once again, to coincide with the World Tournament in 2013. Organizers expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the owners of Steinway Billiards for their support of this soon-to-be annual event.