SHAUN MURPHY returned to snooker’s winners’ circle with a 4-1 victory over Fergal O’Brien in the final of the Gdynia Open in Poland on Sunday night.
Murphy, who made a maximum during his 4-2 defeat of Jamie Jones in the last 16, pocketed a cheque for €25,000 and qualifies for the Players Tour Championship grand finals next month. It is the world no.8’s first title since he captured the Brazil Masters in September 2011.
“I came here with low hopes because I hadn't won a tournament for so long,” said Murphy, the 2005 world champion.
“I’ve been practising really hard and working on my game and it’s just so nice to bring that form to the match table. My coach and my manager kept telling me to keep going and eventually the title would come, and thankfully they were right.
“To make a maximum as well is fantastic and it shows that I'm hitting the ball well.”
Murphy won a 31 minute opening frame by potting the brown and blue from distance before winning the second with a run of 75.
The 31 year-old was poised to make a second 147 of the day in frame three but missed a tricky black on 65, bridging over a red.
A later run of 63 still made it 3-0 before O’Brien won the fourth frame in three scoring visits to avert the whitewash.
However, Murphy killed the match off with a break of 105 in the fifth to take the spoils.
O’Brien said: “I had chances in the first couple of frames and if I’d won one of them it might have been different but I’ve got to be happy because I came here knowing I needed to get to the quarter-finals to qualify for the Players Championship. So to achieve that and get as far as the final is really pleasing.”
The Players Tour Championship grand finals run from March 25-29. They were originally scheduled to be held in Bangkok but political protests in Thailand may necessitate a switch of venues. More information is expected in the coming week.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.