The Iceman double dips Bautista to take 1st Annual Nick Varner Pro Classic

Mika Immonen
Mika Immonen, the Iceman, may have earned his place in the headline of the first Nick Varner Pro Classic, but it wasn't easy. He got sent to the semifinals, by a relative unknown, Ruben Bautista, and then had to stop a six-match, loss-side winning streak by the tournament's namesake, Nick Varner, to get a second chance at Bautista. And then, Bautista forced a deciding game in the opening set of the finals. Living up to his name, The Iceman hung on and took the second set to claim the title.
Run in conjunction with an $8,000-added Amateur tournament that drew 128 entrants, the $10,500-added Pro event drew 26 entrants to Felt Billiards in Englewood, CO. The Pro field featured a variety of Midwest luminaries like Joey Gray, Chip Compton, and Tommy Tokoph, as well as a strong list of the game's elite; Immonen and Varner, along with John Schmidt, Dennis Hatch, Jayson Shaw, and Johnny Archer. Holding up the ladies end of things were Melissa Little and Karen Corr.  
Immonen's journey to the winners' circle began (after a bye) against Corr. He sent her to the loss bracket and then defeated Jose Parica to move among the winners' side final four and a match against Joey Gray. Bautista, in the meantime, had opened against Little, and then downed Marc Vidal, and J. Cruz, to draw Archer in the other winners' side semifinal. 
Immonen sent Gray west 8-6, while Bautista battled Archer to double hill before prevailing. Bautista got into the hot seat 8-5, sending Immonen over to meet up with Varner.
On the loss side, Varner, who'd been defeated in a marquee matchup against Archer in the opening round of play, was working his way back; through Johnny Vasquez, Corr,  Jose Cruz, and Chip Compton, which set him up to face Gray. Archer, in the meantime, drew Vidal, who'd defeated John Morra 8-6 and squeaked by Dennis Hatch 8-7.
Archer downed Vidal 8-3, as Varner was busy eliminating Gray 8-5, so the two veteran pros  squared off again. It was Varner who came out on top the second time around, 8-4, which gave him a shot at Immonen in the semifinals. Immonen ended Varner's valiant quest to claim his own Classic event title with an 8-5 win. 
Bautista came within a game of claiming the title, but Immonen hung on to win the opening set, and then, took command of the second set to win it 8-3.