Ronnie O’Sullivan smashed through the 750-century barrier on his seasonal debut on Friday at the Paul Hunter Classic European Tour event in Germany.

And the Rocket is homing in fast on all-time career century record of Stephen Hendry, whose tally stands at 775.

O’Sullivan was back in action for the first time since losing to Mark Selby in the World Championship final having had a three-month break.

The five-time world champion, 38, is the defending champion in Furth – and dropped just one frame in three matches to reach Sunday’s last 16.

He rattled in a break of 105 against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham in a first-round 4-0 victory.

And O’Sullivan followed that up with another run of 101 against Robbie Williams during another 4-0 rout.

He then added a break of 114 against 2013 Crucible final victim Barry Hawkins in a 4-1 win, taking his total to 751 – and could have had another in the last frame, ending on 87.

Scottish seven-time world champion Hendry, 45, retired two years ago – but could yet add to his total having said he could play in tournaments again this term, with a wild-card option.

O’Sullivan was delighted to be back in Germany for an event that meant a lot to him when claiming the title 12 months ago.

Earlier in the week he said: “It is a first tournament of the year – but I am going there to win, as I will be to Shanghai next month.

“My strike rate in tournaments has been good these past couple of season and even though I am coming in a bit cold hopefully I can warm up quickly.

“I expect to play about 12 tournaments or so this season, the three Majors and some others, and I will be looking to win those events.

“The Paul Hunter Classic has been a brilliant tournament, the promoters and his family have kept his legacy alive and carried it forward in Germany more than anywhere.

“He was a great player and a great character, and the game really misses him still.

“When you go there, you see pictures of him all around the venue and it is a time to reflect and a time to remember him. It is very poignant and emotional.

“Sometimes with our busy lives we forget things and people, but this event makes sure that doesn’t happen with Paul.

“I don’t love the practice but if I don’t play I have too much time by myself and end up stagnating, basically being out there gives me self-esteem from being in work.”

Meanwhile Aditya Mehta became the first Indian player to make a 147 maximum break in his match against Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.

It was the first 147 of the snooker season - and the 106th in total.

The break came in frame three with Mehta trailing 2-0 at the time – but Scot Maguire ran out a 4-2 winner.

Elsewhere Judd Trump survived a scare against Mitchell Travis to edge through 4-3.

Photograph by Monique Limbos