Bailey Allen Hall, Galway - March 14-18
TOURNAMENT DRAW - WATCH LIVE - LIVE SCORES - PHOTOS BY MONIQUE LIMBOS
The Betfair Players Tour Championship (PTC) Grand Finals is the last PTC event in the season in where the top 24 players on the order of merit face off against each other in Galway for the top prize of £70,000 for the winner at the end of the four day tournament. Every match just like in the earlier events is a best of 7 including the final.
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Barry Hawkins
Jack Lisowski held his nerve to secure his place in the second round with a hard fought final frame victory over Barry Hawkins. Lisowski led 2-0 and 3-2 before the Shootout champion Hawkins forced the decider. Here Lisowski made the most of a good long red to win with a break of 99. He now faces Neil Robertson in the second round tomorrow.
"I've had a rubbish season so far," admitted the left-hander, who was watched today by flat-mate Judd Trump. "I came into it expecting to qualify for every event, but then I started thinking about guarding ranking points which was the wrong mentality.
"I lost five or six games in a row but at least I have stopped the rot now. I've never done well at a venue before so this week I've got no expectations, I'll just play with a smile on my face."
Mark Davis 4-1 Tom Ford
Mark Davis again showed the form that has this season seen him challenging for a place in the top 16 as well as qualifying for the winners group in next weeks Championship league. Davis who at 39 it could be said is enjoying an “Indian summer“ in his career rolled in breaks of 64.84,51 and 72 in easily dispatching Ford to set up a second round clash with Stephen Maguire.
"I was really pleased by the way I played today, I scored well and didn't miss much. I've been working with Terry Griffiths and he has got me looking at things differently. If you are potting balls, it doesn't matter who is sitting in the other chair.
"I like this venue and it's a knowledgeable crowd. I always enjoy playing in Ireland because the players are so friendly."
Xiao Guodong 4-2 Dominic Dale
Xiao Guodong defied a broken hand and a misreading of the session times to beat Dominic Dale in the first round. Only a few weeks ago it looked as if Xiao’s season was over when he awoke with a severe pain in his hand. A trip to the hospital confirmed the worst and he was put in a cast and told he couldn’t play snooker for 3 months. Despite this Xiao was determined to take his place in the line up and played through the pain barrier to secure a second round encounter with Judd Trump.
China's no.3 said; "It was very important for me to play in this tournament. I just tried to forget the pain today and play like I do in practice."
Xiao almost missed the match altogether after mis-reading the start time. "I thought the session started at 1pm today but it turned out it was 10am," he said. "I was just going to a restaurant to have lunch when I got a call to say I had to come quickly to the venue. I got there with just a few minutes to spare."
Stephen Lee 4-1 Martin Gould
A purple patch of form which has seen him reach a quarters,a semi and a final in the last three ranking events continued today for Stephen Lee as he breezed past Martin Gould 4-1 in their first round match . The man with the silky smooth cue action rolled in breaks of 65,70,58 an 78 to go through to the second round where he meets Michael Holt.
"I'm feeling in a good place and looking forward to the rest of the season," said the winner of four ranking events. "Earlier in the season I was worried about dropping out of the top 16 but that pressure is off now. I've been travelling to events with Matthew Stevens who is a light-hearted guy so it's nice being on the road.
Ricky Walden 4-0 Matthew Stevens
On a day of top quality snooker Ricky Walden produced a stunning display to beat Matthew Stevens 4-0 in just 45 mins. He took the first with a 66 clearance and then knocked in breaks of 130,95 and 131 in a run of 423 unanswered points to breeze into the second round where in what already looks the tie of the round his opponent will be Ronnie O Sullivan.
"Winning the first frame settled me down and after that I made three good breaks," said Walden, who beat O'Sullivan in the final of the Shanghai Masters in 2008. "I've been practising hard and I'm optimistic. I fancy a good run.
Joe Perry 4-0 Fergal O Brien
Hopes of a home success were dashed when Joe Perry got the better of Fergal O Brien 4-0 in the final first round match of the day. A large crowd were left disappointed as Perry won a scrappy match where he had taken a 2-0 lead with a high break of 28. He went on to make it 3-0 onb the black and secured victory with a 75 clearence in the last. He will now play Graeme Dott in the last 16.
"I knew the crowd were supporting Fergal but I didn't need anything to spur me on because this is a big event with great prize money," said Perry, who reached the finals of the first and last of the 12 events in the initial PTC series. "Galway is a nice place and I want to be here as long as I can.
Thursday see's the last of the first round matches with PTC3 champion Ben Woollaston takes on Ding Junhui and John Higgins faces upcoming Welsh talent Jamie Jones. Three last 16 matches will also be played. these are; Michael Holt v Stephen Lee, Neil Robertson v Jack Lisowski and Graeme Dott v Joe Perry.
Match reports by Daniel Clarke.