Bailey Allen Hall, Galway - March 14-18
TOURNAMENT DRAW - PTC RESULTS - PHOTOS BY MONIQUE LIMBOS
Betfair PTC Grand Finals 2012 - The Final
Neil Robertson's perfect record in televised finals came to an end today in Galway as Stephen Lee got the better of him 4-0 in the final of the Betfair PTC Grand Finals. Lee will take home the trophy, £70,000 and 3000 all important ranking points which moves him up to 11th in the official rankings.
Lee's last full ranking title was all the way back at the 2006 Welsh Open and in 2008 he dropped out the games elite top 16 and looked to be struggling for consistency, only occasionally qualifying for tournaments and not performing well at venues.
But recently after changing his cue and keeping match sharp with all the new events that Barry Hearn has brought in as World Snooker chairman seemed to have breathed new life in the 37-year-old tour veteran.
Even though the final at the Bailey Allen Hall in Galway University was only a best-of-7 match, the packed audience were treated to a tense, exciting game as the first frame lasted 47 minutes. It eventually went down to the colours and Lee trapped Robertson in a great snooker on the green and won the frame after the Australian missed.
Robertson couldn't recapture the consistency that got him to the final as he missed twice in the second frame allowing Lee to make a break of 52 and in the third he could only score 22 before running out of position, playing a bad safety and allowing his opponent back in to make a 47 and go 3-0 clear.
A run of 66 ensured that Lee had one hand on the trophy already but he went in-off after potting the penultimate match-ball red. Robertson cleared the table to give him self a chance with a re-spotted black but only a couple shots later he stuck it up for Lee who slotted it in for a 4-0 victory.
Photos - Monique Limbos
"I didn't let Neil get going, and in these short matches if you don't settle in the first couple of frames then you can lose 4-0," said Lee, who has been the world's most consistent player in recent weeks and reached the final of the Haikou World Open earlier this month before losing 10-1 to Mark Allen. "It's a cracking feeling, it makes all the hard work and travelling worthwhile.
"A big thanks goes to Barry Hearn because he's got all the lads buzzing about the game again. I knew I was good enough, I just couldn't cope with playing six tournaments a year. There was so much pressure on every event and it was a horrible feeling.
"The game is in a great situation now and I just wish I was ten years younger. I've got the belief in myself back and I've beaten top players which is very satisfying. I appreciate it more now I'm older."
Robertson said: "The first frame set the tone, I had chances to win it but just couldn't take them. All the other frames were similar, I just lost the cue ball or missed something tricky when I was in the balls. Stephen's safety must be the best in the world at the moment and the way he's been playing recently it would have been a travesty if he hadn't won a tournament. Good on him because he looked dead and buried a few years ago but he has resurrected his career.
"It's disappointing to lose a final but it doesn't feel as bad as I thought it would. I've won nine out of ten finals which is still a good record."
The PTC Grand Finals was the culmination of the 12 PTC events across UK & Europe throughout the season and featured the top 24 players on the order of merit. Lee was the only player from the semi-final stages onwards not to have won an event this season.
All the players, referees and officials seemed to thoroughly enjoy the venue and the surroundings in Galway and the crowd numbers were decent all week long. Lets hope the tournament returns their next year. Congratulations also go out to Paul Collier who reffed his first major final since 2005, good to see him back.
Special thanks goes out to Kildare's Daniel Clarke who reported from the venue the last couple days and provided the site with match reports. Hopefully we will hear from him again soon.
Once again a big well done to Stephen Lee, the 2012 PTC Grand Finals champion!
Stephen Lee - Betfair PTC Grand Finals 2012 Champion
Stephen Lee 4-0 Neil Robertson
65-48, 62-23 (52), 63-25, 73-66 (73, 35)