THE FOUR qualifiers from the second Q School event, which ended on Wednesday, are all former members of the professional circuit.
Liam Highfield, Michael Georgiou, Lee Walker and Michael Leslie secured two-year tour cards in Gloucester. Highfield and Leslie dropped off the circuit after the World Championship while Georgiou and Walker are former pros.
Highfield defeated Canadian pool star Alex Pagulayan 4-2 with breaks of 58, 60, 61 and 78 to win through in the final round. He told worldsnooker.com: “The last six to eight months have been very tough for me. I’ve had some problems away from snooker and was feeling down with life. So it’s great to have a positive now.
“Three months ago I swapped clubs, to the Reardon in Stoke and that has turned my life around. I want to say thanks to my mentor Dave Deakes who has helped me so much.
“When I first got on to the tour four years ago, I took it for granted and just assumed that I would be there for life. Since then it has been a downward spiral. But now I feel confident again and I am a much better player now. This a chance to draw a line under the last four years and start again.”
Georgiou, who beat Ashley Carty 4-2, played on the circuit during 2008/09 when there were only six ranking tournaments. He said: “I was doing a 9-to-5 job, sitting behind a desk, but I always kept an eye on snooker and when I saw how the sport had changed and the opportunities that are there now, I decided to give it another try. Now I’m back on the tour which is a big relief and reward for the hard work I have put in over the past year.”
Welshman Walker, who defeated Joe O’Conner 4-1, reached the quarter-finals of the 1997 World Championship and was last on the pro tour in 2008.
Scotsman Leslie, who beat Eden Sharav 4-3, lost his place last season but has made an immediate return.