Ezell comes back from the west to take Jacoby Custom Cue Carolina Tour

Normally, a trip to the west bracket in a double elimination tournament will substantially increase the number of victories necessary to secure the event title. In a short field of eight players, four victories will win the day; opening round, winners' side final four, hot seat and finals. In just such a field, on hand for the Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour stop on the weekend of November 11-12, Brian Ezell won the opener, and then moved to the one-loss side, which only increased the number of match victories he needed to win by one.  He came back from the one-loss side, winning three there, to meet and defeat hot seat occupant Greg Smith for the event title. The $1,100-added event (an extra $100 was added by North Carolina Billiard Supply of Kinston, NC), was hosted by Mickey Millligan's in New Bern, NC.

It was Smith, in fact, who handed Ezell his only defeat of the event, just as Ezell would become the only one to defeat Smith. Smith sent him west 8-5 in their first match, and took on Chris McSorley for rights to the hot seat. McSorley had sent William Roberts to join Ezell on the one-loss side 8-3. Smith got into the hot seat with an 8-4 victory over McSorley, and didn't have to wait long for Ezell's return.

Among the players who moved west in the opening round to battle for the 7/8 slot were the husband and wife team of Mike and Charlene Harvey. Mike drew Garrett Shepherd, defeating him 8-2 and moving on to face Ezell. Charlene was defeated by Wayne Davis, who moved on to face Roberts. Ezell and Roberts advanced to the quarterfinals; Ezell with an 8-2 victory over Mike Harvey, and Roberts with an 8-5 win over Davis. Ezell got into the semifinals with an 8-5 win over Roberts, and then downed McSorley 8-4. This win guaranteed him a minimum of $500, and the potential for twice that.

He made full use of that potential. In the single race-to-11 finals, Ezell opened with two straight racks for an early lead, but Smith fought back to tie things, and stay close. At 4-4, Ezell surged ahead by three. Smith reduced that to two, and at one point (8-7) a single game, before Ezell chalked up three in a row to win it.

A nine-entrant Early Bird Tournament was held on Friday night, which paid out more places, though less money, than the main event. Todd Quinn survived a double hill, 7-6 final against Roberts (4th in the Open event), and took home the first place prize of $100. Roberts, who pocketed $55, had defeated Mike Harvey 5-3 in the semifinals (Harvey went home with $25). Greg Smith's name was drawn for the event's break and run contest, which earned him $94 for the single ball sunk (the next jackpot for this event will be $93/ball). Mike Harvey won the Limited Edition Jacoby Custom Cue in the raffle.