Joyner stops Kennedy on SE Open 9-Ball Tour

Cliff Joyner spoiled a bid by Tommy Kennedy for a second straight (and third, overall) win on his own Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour with a victory on the weekend of April 2-3. The $1,000-added event drew 45 entrants to Starcade Billiards in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

Joyner and Kennedy met first among the winners' side final four. With a 9-7 win, Kennedy advanced and Joyner headed west. Dave Henessy, in the meantime, defeated Rodney Myrick 9-5 to join Kennedy in the battle for the hot seat. Kennedy won that battle handily 9-3 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for Joyner.

On the one-loss side, Joyner picked up Denny Fox, who'd defeated Mark Shimmelman 9-5 and Tracy Guernsey 9-6. Myrick drew Scotty Townsend, who'd gotten by Josh Hillard 9-4 and Craig Houghton 9-7. Townsend then downed Myrick 9-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals against Joyner, who'd defeated Fox 9-4. Townsend took an early lead in the quarterfinals, and was ahead by five at 7-2. He'd win only one of the next seven, though, as Joyner caught up and eventually prevailed in a final, double hill rack.

In the semifinals that followed, Henessy got within a rack of forcing a second double hill battle, but Joyner edged out in front to win it 9-7. Kennedy opened the single, race-to-11 finals with four straight racks, but Joyner fought back to tie things, and then kept trading racks to a 7-7 tie. Joyner closed things up with four straight of his own for an 11-7 victory.

“He did everything right,” said Kennedy, shortly after the match. “He played great safeties, kicked and banked. I got down by a couple of games there at the end and just never got back into it.”

Kennedy thanked sponsors Tiger Products, Mueller Recreational Products, Tony Martzakis (with Martz Cues), Simonis Cloth, Ed Cabrera and “The Gripper” by Bill Bauer, as well as Randy Maynor for his assistance with the event.