Archer warms up for the US Open with a win at the Carolina Open

Doug Ennis (TD), Johnny Archer, Adam Pendley and Bucky Braxton (Room Owner)

Johnny Archer, reportedly determined to win the US Open that will begin next week on the 10th anniversary of his win in 1999, warmed up for that event with a win at the Carolina Open on the fifth anniversary of his win at that event in 2005. In doing so, he survived a strong bid from a teenager, Adam Pendley, whom he'd sent to the one-loss side in the opening round of play. Pendley fought back through eight opponents to reach Archer in the finals.

The $1,700-added, 10-Ball event at the Carolina Open, hosted by Fast Eddie's in Goldsboro, NC from October 8-10, drew 28 entrants, bringing the total number of entrants for both events, including the earlier One-Pocket tournament with 12 entrants, to 40; less than half of the total entrants who signed on to the 2008 Carolina Open (83). Tour director Doug Ennis pointed to the general state of the economy as a contributing factor for the reduction in entrants and while he had earlier cut the entry fee for both events in half, from $200 to $100, the move might have occurred too late to draw further competitors to the annual event, often viewed as a warm-up to the US Open.

“We had a nice tournament, though,” he said, adding that Bucky Braxton and his entire staff at Fast Eddie's in Goldsboro had done their usual top-notch job as hosts, which included keeping the location open 24 hours a day during the events.
“There were some great matches in strong fields for both events,” said Ennis. “We had some of the best players in the world here (Archer, Earl Strickland, Larry Nevel, Shawn Putnam) and (in Pendley) got a look at what could be the next generation of players.”

Archer's route to the finals took him by Pendley 9-4 in the opening round of play, and after 9-3 victories over Dave Hunt and Cary Dunn, he moved among the winners' side final four to take on Cliff Joyner. They were joined by Shawn Putnam and Dave Grau; Putnam, having just sent his One-Pocket finals opponent, Larry Nevel, to the one-loss side 9-5. Archer moved into the hot seat match with a 9-3 win over Joyner, as Putnam sent Grau west 9-1. Archer, who at this point had given up only 13 racks in 49 games for a match ‘batting average' of .734, gave up only one more in the hot seat match to Putnam, increasing that average to .762 going into the finals.

Pendley, in the meantime, was embarked on his eight-victory journey to the finals. He got by Delton Howard 9-6, Mickey Hall 9-1 and Sam Monday 9-5 to move among the event's final 12. He then picked up a forfeit win over Keith Bennett, who withdrew for illness reasons, and defeated Cary Dunn 9-5 to pick up Grau. Michael Fuller, who'd defeated Jeff Abernathy 9-5 and finished Nevel's tournament bid with a 9-3 win, was waiting for Joyner.

Pendley defeated Grau 9-7 and was joined in the quarterfinal match by Fuller, who'd defeated Joyner 9-4. Pendley moved into the semifinals with a 9-4 win over Fuller and completed his eight-match trek to the finals with a 9-5 victory over Putnam. Sporting a .614 game average at this point, the teenager, who was seven years old when Archer won the US Open, then turned his attention to this veteran player with the .762 average.

Archer opened the race-to-15 finals with three racks, and after Pendley won his first, added three more for a commanding 6-1 lead. Pendley responded with four in a row that included a couple of ‘jump cue' shots and a hanging 8-ball that just did drop to allow him to finish. Though with something of a ‘monster break,' the youngster scratched to begin the 12th game, allowing Archer to run out. Pendley closed the gap to stay within one, but Archer came back with two in a row to make it 9-6 and then added three ‘break and runs' to get ahead by six.

Pendley fought back with five straight racks, including two ‘break and runs,' to close within one, but they proved to be his last. Archer won the final three, taking advantage of a scratch in one game and a missed 2-10 combination in other to seal the deal and head home with the $1,800 first place prize.