Morris New Turning Stone Billiards Champion
Turning Stone Classic XVII / Verona, NY
Rodney Morris rocketed undefeated through the 128-player field at the Turning Stone Classic XVII to claim the title, besting Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan in the finals. The $25,000-added event was held this weekend at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY.
Morris went unchallenged through the field, besting Charlie Williams 9-5 and then Jose Parica 9-5 as well to reach the hot seat match against Shawn Putnam, who had just delivered Josh Ulrich 9-4. In a closely contested battle, Morris was able to eke out a 9-8 victory over Putnam and await a finals opponent.
On the west side of the chart, Pagulayan, who suffered a second-round loss to Morris 9-6, recovered to win the next nine matches in a row to reach Morris again. He sent Jeremy Sossei home in ninth place 9-4, then bested Bucky Souvanthong 9-4, and dominated Parica 9-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
Pagulayan’s opponent in the match for fourth place was Johnny Archer. No stranger to the winner’s circle at this event, Archer also suffered a second-round loss and worked his way through the left side of the bracket, ousting players such as Bruce Nagle 9-3, Charlie Williams 9-8, Greg Antonakos 9-7, and Ulrich 9-2.
After their long treks through the one-loss side, both players faced off in the quarterfinal, with neither giving an inch until the end, when Pagulayan pushed through for a 9-7 win. It was much of the same in the semifinal match against Putnam, who went neck and neck with Pagulayan until “The Lion” squeaked past 9-8 to earn a rematch with Morris.
Pagulayan and Morris traded the first two racks, but that was the only time the score was in parity. Morris whizzed ahead to a 4-1 and then a 7-2 lead in the extended single race to 13. Pagulayan was in the electric chair for most of the match as Morris was clearly on a roll. The Hawaiian reached the hill 12-4, and though Pagulayan won the next three matches to inch closer to the goal, he scratched on his following break and left a wide-open table for Morris, who cleared up to take the title 13-7.
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