Earl “The Pearl” survives double hill final to take Jacoby Custom Cue Carolina stop

Earl Strickland

Earl “The Pearl” Strickland went undefeated through a small field of nine entrants to win the Jacoby Custom Cue Carolina Tour stop on the weekend of September 11-12. The $1,000-added event was hosted by 150 n OUT in Mooresville, NC.

Strickland was one of the seven players who picked up a bye in the opening round, and after defeating Danny Owensby in the second round, was among the winners' side final four, where he faced off against Chris Turner.  His eventual finals opponent, B.J. Ussery, in the meantime, faced Jeff Abernathy.  Strickland got into the hot seat match with a 7-5 win over Turner, as Abernathy was busy sending Ussery west 7-4. Strickland got into the hot seat with a 7-2 win over Abernathy.

On the sparsely populated, one-loss side, Ron Park defeated John Burdick 7-4 to pick up Turner. Lee Steelman eliminated Owensby 7-5 to draw Ussery.  Turner, who'd faced and defeated Park 7-2 in the event's opening round, defeated him again 7-5 to get into the quarterfinals versus Ussery, who'd downed Steelman 7-2.  Ussery advanced to the first money round with a 7-4 victory over Turner in the quarterfinals, and then dropped Abernathy into third place 7-5.

Strickland and Ussery traded the opening racks of the single, race-to-11 finals, before Ussery strung two together for a 3-1 lead. Earl came back with two racks of his own to tie things at 3-3. They traded racks back and forth to a 5-5 tie; a stretch which included a 50-second runout by Strickland, that followed an Ussery scratch on the break. Ussery won two in a row to go ahead 7-5, but Strickland came right back to tie it at 7-7. Ussery used a jump cue to get out of a bad position in the 15th rack and win it, and then added another to go up 9-7.  

Strickland took advantage of a hung ball to win the 17th rack and then broke and ran twice to reach the hill first.  Ussery took advantage of a missed shot on the 2-ball and converted a 3-9 combination that brought things to double hill. A miss on the 3-ball in the final rack gave Strickland the opening he needed to finish it.

An 11-entrant Early Bird tournament on Friday night was won by Ron Park, in a 7-2 finals win over Eddie Little. Doug Bartlett finished in third place. Three women competed in a Ladies tournament that was won by Lisa Cossette, defeating Stephanie Stone 7-4 in the finals. Little was declared the uncontested winner of Sunday night's Second Chance Tournament.  

Ron Park and B.J. Ussery's names were drawn to compete in the Break and Run Tournament, and neither was successful, advancing the jackpot for the contest to $114 per ball for the next stop on the tour. The $600 Limited Edition Jacoby Custom Cue was won in the raffle by Ray Meyers.