Great Southern Billiard Tour / Fayetteville, NC
by Lea Andrews
In a rare Great Southern Billiard Tour appearance, Keith Bennett went undefeated, holding nothing back on his way to the finals. Though smaller than usual, the turnout for the $1,500-added event was still good as 32 players vied for the cash September 26-27 at King Street Billiards in Fayetteville, NC.
Bennett rode a strong 11-2 victory over Vernon Rogers into the hot seat match, where he faced Philip “Skibo” Britt, who was coming off a 9-6 win over Dave Carver. AA-ranked Bennett held A-ranked Britt to seven games to earn the right to sit in the hot seat and await an opponent in the finals.
Over on the left side of the bracket, King Street Billiards owner Danny Odom got past Greg Little 7-6 only to meet a very familiar face on the tour: hard-charging southpaw Sam Monday. Having run past Don Strickland 11-4, Monday put Odom in seventh 11-5 to face Rogers. Meanwhile, Tony Morrison breezed past JR Poste 9-3 and Younger Chapman 9-7 to face Carver. While Monday allowed Rogers just five games, Morrison allowed Carver all nine, setting up a quarterfinal match-up between Monday and Carver, with Monday coming out on top 11-6 to earn his spot in the semifinals against Britt. Managing only five games, Britt landed in third while Monday moved on to the final match against Bennett.
In the true double-elimination final set, the two Carolina hotshots stayed fairly even at first, knotting up at three, four, and five games apiece before Monday pulled ahead 7-5. Though Bennett managed to tie it back up at 7, Monday rallied, pulling ahead 9-7. In the alternate-break format, Bennett’s break and run put the score at 9-8, and after he took rack 18 to tie it at 9, another break and run put him on the hill. Throughout the set, the men’s confidence in each other’s games had been clear, as shots past the 5 or 6 ball were rare and usually raked instead. In the final rack, though, as Monday looked to be in the middle of the break and run that would make it hill-hill, his uncharacteristic miss on the 6 ball brought Bennett back to the table. Making quick work of what was left, Bennett eased into first 11-9.
1st Keith Bennett $900
2nd Sam Monday $500
3rd Philip Britt $250
4th Dave Carver $150
5th Vernon Rogers $75
7th Danny Odom $50