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In the pocket

Camillus man competes in Turning Stone Nine-Ball Classic

A field of 128 players competed for $40,000 in prize money in a four-day shootout at the Turning Stone Classic X 9-Ball Open which ended Sunday at the Casino in Verona. The tournament is held in conjunction with the popular Mike Zuglan's Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour and was free for the public to attend.

The Turning Stone Classic attracts the game's top players from around the world. The event takes place on a floor lined with two rows of eight premium quality Diamond pool tables. Stadium-style seating for hundreds of fans is provided on each side of the floor, with an additional aisle of floor-level chairs and tables between the rows of pool tables where good manners and quiet applause are the house's and promoter Mike Zuglan's rules of etiquette.

The roster of players included two-time Turning Stone Classic title-holder Johnny Archer, four-time BCA 9-Ball champion Karen Corr, Hall-of-Famer Allen Hopkins, Canadian John Morra, Finland's Mike Immonen and Sweden's Ewa ''The Striking Viking'' Laurance. The random draw provides a unique opportunity for amateurs and beginning pros to compete against top-level competition and a chance at taking home a cut of the total purse.

While this promises that the favorites are sure to keep a hold through at least the first couple days, it makes it a daunting task for anyone else that faces the gauntlet.

Canastota's Wayne Cooperider had such an opportunity Thursday as he stepped up against Louis Ulrich, last June's runner-up in the Classic. Ulrich is ranked 72nd by Az Billiards amongst world contestants. Cooperider never saw the felt, as Ulrich quickly disposed of him in nine straight games to take the match. He would get another chance later in the day as he faced off against Mike Renshaw of Camillus, who is no stranger to Verona's double-elimination affair and who owns an Az Billiards-player ranking himself of 5451 (1180 the week before).

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