Ben Woollaston and Fergal O’Brien booked their place in the next phase yesterday.
O’Brien Delight Despite 147 Blunder
O’Brien finished runner-up in Group F behind Ben Woollaston and both players are through to next week’s second phase.
In a tense finish to the group in Milton Keynes, four players were tied on four wins apiece going into the seventh and final round of matches. O’Brien scored a 2-0 win over Igor Figueiredo to secure second place, while Woollaston scrapped out a 2-1 win over Robbie McGuigan to take top spot.
Dublin’s O’Brien scored heavily throughout the day, making four centuries and a crucial 88 in the last frame against Brazil’s top player Figueiredo.
But there was regret for world number 114 O’Brien as he came so close to the second 147 of his career during his match against Noppon Saengkham, but missed the pink to a centre pocket on 134.
Age 49, he would have comfortably beaten the record for the oldest player to make a maximum, held by John Higgins who is 45.
“That was a blow because it would have been lovely to make a maximum,” said the former British Open champion. “Not that many players have had more than one.
“I lost two of my first three matches so my lunch didn’t taste too good. But beating Noppon gave me a boost and I played well in my last three matches, I knew I had to win all of them. I’m delighted to get through.
“I’ve had a very poor season, I’ve been out of the winning habit. I’d won five matches all season and then won five today, plus I haven’t had a century all season and I’ve had four today. I needed confidence and more matches to get sharper ahead of the World qualifiers.
“It would mean everything to get to the Crucible again. I’ve had the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat.”
BetVictor Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown could have qualified for the Cazoo Tour Championship with a deep run in this event, but he finished fifth in the table, ending his hopes.
Jordan Brown seems to find it difficult to build on his Welsh Open victory.
Riley Parsons won more matches yesterday than he had all season so far.
WST Pro Series Second Phase Draw
The draw for the second group phase of the WST Pro Series was made today, with the 32 players drawn into four groups of eight.
Phase two will run from March 17 to 20. Each group will include four group winners from the first phase, and four runners-up.
The top two in each phase two group will qualify for the final winners’ group, to be played on March 21, when the champion will be crowned.
Click here to watch the draw being made. The phase two groups are:
Winner of Group I
Winner of Group P
Runner-up of Group I
Runner-up of Group P
Runner-up of Group E
Winner of Group D
Winner of Group O
Winner of Group E
Runner-up of Group O
Runner-up of Group D
The schedule for phase two will be released shortly. Once again it will be a round-robin format, with all matches best-of-three frames.
Ronnie, should he get through his phase 1 group, will be in the same phase two group as Ali Carter and James Cahill … He will be thrilled surely.