by Ben Hudd • January 9, 2023
Jayson Shaw fended off a captivating comeback from Skyler Woodward to secure a record-extending ninth Turning Stone Classic title in Verona, New York.
Shaw, who reigned victorious at both the International Open and the Super Billiards Expo last season, claimed his third nineball ranking accolade and won the opening tournament on the 2023 schedule as well as the $10,000 top prize.
The British number one trailed 3-0 in the final but produced three break and runs and won nine of the next ten racks to gain a 9-4 ascendancy. A couple of fouls on the break as well as safety errors proved costly for Woodward.
Shaw soon extended his advantage to 12-6 courtesy of his fourth break and run, although a dramatic nineteenth rack saw both players miss clear balls and a imperfect safety from Shaw allowed Woodward to capitalise and regain the break.
Former Derby City Classic champion Woodward proceeded to reel off five break and runs in succession during an incredible comeback, making 50 balls on the bounce in total to force an unexpected deciding rack.
Woodward found the wing ball on the break and the balls were set up nicely for him, but the American Mosconi Cup star was unable to sink the six ball. That allowed Shaw back to the table and he cleaned up to clinch the title.
Shaw exacted revenge on Woodward following his defeat in the sixth winners’ round, having beaten Naoyuki Oi, fourth-placed Fedor Gorst and third-placed Jeremy Sossei to emerge through the losers’ bracket.
The Connecticut-based cueist did the double over former world champion Gorst, denying him in a deciding rack on the winners’ side ahead of his decisive 9-2 victory in the eleventh losers’ round.
Shaw leapfrogs Austria’s Mario He in the nineball rankings and now becomes the world number five following his latest success, while runner-up Woodward breaks into the world’s top 32 for the first time.
Ukraine’s Vitaliy Patsura enjoyed a tremendous weekend and defeated the likes of Brandon Shuff, Japan’s Oi and former winner Billy Thorpe on his way to securing a joint seventh-placed finish.
The Derby City Classic takes place between January 25-28 and is the next event on the nineball calendar, while the second Turning Stone Classic of the year is scheduled for between August 31 and September 3.