Immonen wins Turning Stone Casino Classic

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Pat Murray

Jul 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/27/00
By Pat Murray

On July 15&16, 2000 Mike Zuglan's Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour held their
first Turning Stone Casino Classic. 32 Invited Players came to what
turned out to be one of the greatest tournaments in a long time. In
conditions that rivaled the US Open, 16,000 square feet of the most
beautiful room was set up with two tiered seating all around and vip
tables surrounding the playing area. Eight Diamond tables with Simonis
cloth and Centennial balls with Diamond lights and players chairs was
the equipment used. Pockets were tight cloth was fast and the play was
incredible. 31 men and 1 woman were playing for $30,000 and the room was
full right from the start. Never less than 300 fans and over 500 at
times came to see some great 9-ball along with Mike Massey's incredible
two shows.
Saturday started out with matches that could have easily been
finals like Mika Immonen and Santos Sombajon Jr or Chuck Altomare vs
Mike Massey or Mike Zuglan vs Canadian champ Paul Thornley. Immonen
beat Sombajon while Altomare won and Thornley sent Zuglan to the one
loss side. In the next round a full house was entertained by Karen Corr
and Paul Thornley never getting more than a game apart these two
battled, played safe all the way two the hill. In the final game no less
than 6 safety's were played and Karen came out on top with the crowd
roaring and giving her a standing "O" While all this was going on
George SanSouci and fellow New Yorker Tony Robles were going at it head
to head Robles playing wonderful pool sent Ginky to the other side of
the chart. Jim Rempe met up with #3 seed Chuck Altomare and showed his
world class talents beating Chuck 9-5. Mike Zuglan fell to another
Canadian champ Luc Salvas for his second loss and Karen Corr fell to NY
Frankie Hernandez. Sunday would have 4 players from the winners side and
8 from the one loss. Robles vs Immonen, Hernandez vs Rempe Basavich vs
Tucker, Sombajon vs SanSouci, Salvas vs Altomare and Corr vs Herman.
Sundays crowds were just like Saturdays, full and appreciative. In
our feature matches Frankie Hernandez played great pool out shooting and
out saftey playing Jim Rempe and winning. Hernandez showed the patience
of a seasoned vet and struck wen the opportunity presented itself. In
the other match Tony Robles said he played the "best set he played in
months" against Mika Immonen. Mika however played a little bit better
and won 9-6. As gracious in defeat as in victory Robles said "I think
Mika will be hard to beat today" But Frankie Hernandez wasn't listening
and beat Immonen 9-5. Over on the one loss side Joe Tucker beat Dan
Basavich and Santos sent Ginky packing. Altomare got to Salvas and
Marty Herman beat Karen Corr. Jim Rempe met Chuck Altomare and in a
tight match King James came through leaving Chuck with 4th place finish.
Rempe met up with Immonen. Jimmy played well and got out in front but
the 27 year older from Helsinki would not let go. When Rempe misplayed a
safety at 7-5 Immonen took charge and won 9-7. In the finals it would be
a race to 13 with Frankie Hernandez and Mika Immonen. Winning the lag
Frankie came out firing ran the first tack and into the second when he
missed what seemed to be an easy 9-ball. The next time he came to the
table is was 5-1 Mika. Mika broke and made zero, Frankie played a great
safe that Mika answered with the shot of the tournament. Watching him
line it up you would not believe what he did, a slight masse` into the
bottom rail kicking into the side rail hitting the 1 and billiarding in
the 9. The place went nuts and it took a good 2 minutes to quiet it
down. I really don't think Mika missed more than two shots the entire
set and won 13-2.
What an incredible tournament and what a great facility. Turning Stone
Casino and their staff were great host and the friendliest most helpful
people you could find anywhere. If any of you are ever in the Verona
(near Syracuse NY) area please visit this resort. We truly hope to
return there next year.
Final Standings

1. Mika Immonen $7500
2. Frankie Hernandez $3700
3. Jim Rempe $2200
4. Chuck Altomare $1700
5/ Joe Tucker $1000
6. Tony Robles $1000
7/ Santos Sombajon Jr $850
8 Marty Herman $850
9 Karen Corr $700
Mike Zuglan $700
Paul Thornley $700
12 Rick Matarazzo $700

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