Monday 19th March 2012
Stephen Lee won 4-0 over Neil Robertson to lift this year’s PTC Grand Finals trophy. The Englishman who, a couple of weeks ago, was experiencing a terrible 10-1 defeat by playing Mark Allen in the Haikou World Open, ended the battle of cues after winning the last frame on a re-spotted black.
It just wasn’t to be in China, but it certainly was in Ireland’s Galway that Stephen Lee regained his champion status, the last major ranking event that he won being the 2006 Welsh Open.
The man from Trowbridge became the second PTC Grand Finals champion after beating both Martin Gould and Michael Holt 4-1, whitewashing world number one, Mark Selby 4-0 and defeating Andrew Higginson 4-2 only to repeat the perfect 4-0 scoreline in the final played against Neil Robertson.
The start was a bit scrappy, both players having a bit of trouble to settle in, the first frame taking no less than 47 minutes to complete, at the end of it, Lee being the player with the first point on the scoreboard.
A break of 52 was helping the Englishman to extend his lead, while a 47 was sending Lee just one away from victory at 3-0.
The last frame started with Robertson losing position at 27, this also happening for Lee as he was reaching a 66 break. With only two reds and the colours left on the table, the safety shots battle began.
Chances seemed to be on Lee’s side when he potted one of the remaining reds, but as the red entered the yellow pocket, the cue ball was also sent into the right one. It was a lifeline for Robertson, the 2010 world champion clearing the table with a 35 in order to force a re-spot.
The match continued for a few minutes more, the first one to make a mistake being Robertson who practically handed the winning ticket to his green baize rival by leaving the black near the left centre pocket.
Although very nervous, Lee managed to keep it together and sent the winning ball into the pocket to collect his £70,000 money prize and the 3,000 ranking points.
The PTC (Players Tour Championship) Grand Finals is the tournament that concludes the 12 PTC events that took place over the entire season, all minor ranking events, held half in the UK and half on the continent.
After the last PTC event, the players who got a place in the Top 24 were automatically qualified for the PTC Grand Finals, the rules for qualifying being to take part in at least three PTCs and three EPTCs (tournaments held outside the UK) and gain as much money as possible by doing so.
This is PTC Grand Finals second edition, the first one being won by Shaun Murphy.