Monday, 5 March 2018

Erik "Big Red" Hjorleifson Wins the 22nd Swanee Memorial Tournament

By: Markus Noé

On the weekend of February 24-25th in La Mesa California ,Cue Sport Nation's co-founder Erik "Big Red" Hjorleifson won the Swanee Memorial. Hjorleifson who is back on the road after some time away had a successful first tournament back going undefeated to win. He is currently spending some time in the west coast of the U.S. Because of this you will see his name more and more in the pro tournaments in the area. The next one he is targeting is the Andy Mercer which is known for its huge calcutta prize pool.

It was another full field of 128 players for this popular event with its share of big names. Former U.S Open and World Champion Mika "The Iceman" Immonen was present, as well as multiple Mosconi Cup team member Oscar Dominguez. Along with Hjorleifson other tournament favourites were, Ernesto Dominguez, Many Perez, Vilmos Foldes and Mitch Ellmerman to name a few.

It was a  break out performance for Many Perez who admits he does not have a lot of experience on the 9ft tables, being more of a 7ft barbox player. That being said it was him who Hjorleifson met in the winners side final after Perez defeated Foldes 8-4. Big Red knocked him over to the losers side 8-4 where he met up with Oscar Dominguez who just eliminated Foldes.

The losers side final went down to the wire as Perez got the nod 8-7 over an always classy and very game Oscar Dominguez. In the final there was just no stopping Hjorleifson in this event as his firepower was too much for Perez again. Big Red went on to capture the title 8-4.

Hjorleifson has been a big name in Canada since the mid 2000's with him being on the Border 9 Ball team, a Canadian junior Champion as well a multiple winner on the Canadian 30k tour. He has many top finishes including a top 9 finish at the U.S Open. Most Recently he won the Canadian 10 Ball Championships a few years back as well as a runner up finish at the Turning Stone Classic to Mika Immonen. In this event Hjorleifson went to the final undefeated beating, Ko Pin Yi, Mika Immonen and Oscar Dominguez on route to name a few.

He is a classic example of the lack of money and sponsorship available in pool, after the demise of the International Pool Tour, Bonus Ball and then the Canadian 9 Ball Tour Hjorleifson has chose to remain close to home. Making most of his earnings dominating the open class events in Ontario for more than a decade. He is also one of the best instructors I have ever come across and has helped many players in the Great Toronto Area improve their game.

I would like to congratulate my partner here and one of best friends on his recent success. He has been around the sport so long that it is hard to believe he is only 35 years old. Now that he is back playing full-time I expect this to be the first of many more top finishes. Also Ra Hanna and Beau Runningen from On the Wire Creative Media did a great job promoting and covering the event. They are the go to guys for all the best updates and coverage for pool events in the U.S.

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