Earl the Pearl chalks one up on the Jacoby Carolina Tour

Earl Strickland

Earl “The Pearl” Strickland held off a finals challenge by Scott Lewis, who'd worked his way back through the left bracket, to complete an undefeated weekend on the Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour. The $1,000-added event drew a modest field of 20 entrants to Family Billiards in Burlington, NC on the weekend of June 12-14.

Moving into the hot seat, Strickland shutout Bill Duggan, as Keith Bennett, looking for his fourth win on the Jacoby Tour this year, was sending Tony Morrison west 7-2. Strickland then sent Bennett to the semifinals 7-5.

Lewis, in the meantime, warmed up for a match versus Morrison with a 7-5 win over Chris Vollmar and hung on to win a hill-hill struggle against Steve Moore. Arnold Hamlett got by Lay Thammavond 7-3 and like Lewis, survived a hill-hill battle (vs. Cary Dunn) for the right to meet Duggan. Lewis and Duggan advanced to the quarterfinals when Lewis dropped Morrison into the tie for fifth place 7-4 and Hamlett ended up on the wrong side of his second straight hill-hill match.

In the semifinals that followed, Lewis spoiled Bennett's fourth Jacoby win with a 7-4 victory that put him into the finals versus Strickland. In the opening matches of the race to 9, Strickland took a 2-0 lead and then watched Lewis fight back to tie it and go up by two games at 4-2. The two traded racks to 5-3, which proved to be the last rack that Lewis would win. Strickland polished off a six-pack and finished it at 9-5.

A 10-entrant Early Bird Tournament, held on Friday, June 12, was won by Cary Dunn, with a 7-4 finals defeat of Lay Thammavond. Dunn pocketed $110 for the win, as Lay Thammavond went home with $60 and third-place finisher Anthony Arney took $30. A four-entrant ladies tournament concluded with a 7-5, $40 win by Melissa Gross over Rachel Eliazar. A 10-entrant Second Chance tournament, held on Sunday, was won by David Brown, in a 7-4 finals win over Tony Morrison. Brown won the top $100 prize, Morrison took home $50 and Cary Dunn and Chris Baker took home $25 each, sharing third place. In a juniors' event, D.J. Graves qualified for the Junior Nationals.