Benny Conway Repeats at Skeeter’s Billiards SE Open With Jay Bird Grabbing Am Event

Earlier in the year, prior to the ending of the 2007/2008 season on the J. Pechauer Custom Cues Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, the name Benny Conway graced the page as one that topped the field at Skeeter's Billiards in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Apparently, this venue is quite the lucky charm as a few months later – this weekend to be exact (August 16th-17th) - returning to the same place, Conway bested the field of twenty-five players that make their way to the $1000 added open nine-ball event.

The one-day open main event saw Conway accept his first loss while battling it out with Cliff Joyner for the hot-seat.  Although it was an “L” on the charts, Conway held on with Joyner to the very end suffering a hill-hill loss.

On the one-loss side, Tommy Kennedy and eventual amateur event winner Jay Bird found themselves pitted together in the same epic battle – this ending came in the form of Kennedy over Bird 7-6.  Kennedy moved into the semi-final round where he met up with Conway only to fall 7-4 and end his weekend in a respectable third place.

Conway returned to the final arena with great gusto and a thirst to avenge his earlier loss handed down by Joyner and that is just as he did.  Conway finished off Joyner with a final score of 9-7 to seal his victory of yet another Skeeter's event.

Top honors this weekend that were given out in addition to title of Champion Benny Conway, included highest junior finish by Jonathan Armstrong ($25); highest senior ended in a split between Mike Trawick and Art Tripp ($50 split); and a local non-profit charity benefited by a donation of $35.  A side note from Tour Director Tommy Kennedy – Kennedy wishes to acknowledge and offer kudos to opponent Jason Moran whom he met earlier in the day.  Moran at one time was down 4-0 against Kennedy and held onto his competitive spirit to bring the match 6-6.  Unfortunately, this was not Moran's weekend, but Kennedy felt that he played a great match and offered up great heart in that battle.

In addition to the open event, on Sunday, the tour hosted a $500 added amateur/semi professional tournament.  The field topped out at twenty-two players and saw Jay Bird hold off the competition to snag top prize and bragging rights.  After besting Jim Sterling in the hot-seat match 5-4, it looked to be smooth sailing but in the end he had to work for that top finish.  While he awaited his opponent, the one-loss side narrowed ending with David Walters defeating Jason Moran 4-2 in the quarters; and then Walters loosing by the same margin against Jim Sterling in the semis.  As seen in the open, the hot-seat competitors met again in the final round.  But unlike the open outcome, Bird held on in the tight spectator-friendly set to win 7-6 after pocketing a wobbly nine ball in the final rack.

Thanks to Art Tripp and Tom Tom for all of their assistance over the weekend; and to Ricky, Andy, Colleen, and staff at Skeeter's for hosting such a fantastic weekend – the tour looks forward to returning later in the season.

In addition, thanks to all of the sponsors that help keep the tour running year round including title sponsor J. Pechauer Custom Cues; Chalk Up Inc.; Silver Cup Chalk; Cue Man Billiard Products (Chris and Israel Hightower); Iwan Simonis; The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards by David G. Alciatore, PhD ("Dr. Dave"); Hall of Famer, Trick Shot Master Mike Massey; Pool On The Net, Web Design for the Pool World; Bert Kinister Pool Cues, Videos, Cases & Instruction; Joe Tucker Billiard Products; Tiger Products; The Gripper by Bauer; Phil Capelle Billiards Press; Billiard Santuary; and Sir Joseph Billiard Gloves.  Links to all of these sponsor sites can be found at

Next stop, The J. Pechauer Savannah Open, scheduled for September 27th-28th at Southside Billiard Club in Savannah, Georgia. For additional information, visit the tour homepage at