Earl the Pearl goes undefeated on Jacoby Carolina Tour

Earl Strickland

Earl “The Pearl” Strickland proved to be the best in a small field of 15 entrants, on hand for the Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour on the weekend of June 26-27.  He won all five of his matches, defeating Keith Bennett twice to take home the first place prize in the $1,000-added event, hosted by Brown's Billiards in Raleigh, NC. 

From among the winners' side final four, with two down and three to go, Strickland put B.J. Ussery's bid for a third straight win on the tour on hold, sending him west in a double hill match. Bennett, in the meantime, was busy with Delton Howard, sending him over 7-4. Strickland got into the hot seat with his first win against Bennett 7-5. 

On the one-loss side, Sam Monday, who'd been sent over by Howard, defeated Belinda Calhoun and Brian Simpson, both 7-2, to pick up Ussery.  Howard drew Tony Morrison, who'd defeated Jeff Pruitt 7-2 and Chris Vollmar 7-1 to reach him. Monday finished Ussery's bid for his third straight tour win 7-2, as Howard got by Morrison 7-4. In the quarterfinal rematch, Monday defeated Howard by the same score, 7-4, that had sent him to the one-loss side earlier. 

Bennett, though, was not to be denied his second chance against Strickland. He dropped Monday into third place 7-1, and headed into the race-to-11 finals. Strickland opened those finals with an 18-minute,   6-0 run, that included two, back-to-back break and runs.  Bennett fought back to take the next two games, but Strickland took them right back to lead 8-2. Bennett won three in a row and then gave one back. At 9-5, Bennett narrowed Strickland's lead to two games, but it was as close as he would get. Strickland won the final two to end things at 11-7. 

With a shortage of entrants, winners were declared on the tour's Early Bird and Second Chance tournaments. Solomon Pope was named the Early Bird winner; Michael Yingling, the Second Chance winner. Belinda Calhoun picked up the Ladies title, with Dylan Letchworth being declared the event's Juniors winner. John Trinh picked up $85 in the event's Break Contest. Mike Bogey won the limited edition Jacoby Custom Cue, valued at $600, in the raffle.