Stephen Lee won a tournament carrying ranking points for the first time in over four years by beating Stephen Maguire 4-2 in the final of Euro Players Tour Championship event four.
The 36-year-old, ranked 20th in the world, won the 10,000 Euro first prize at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, not far from his home in Trowbridge. Lee, a winner of four full ranking titles, most recently the 2006 Welsh Open, is the tenth winner in ten events on the PTC series this season.
Standing 31st in the Order of Merit before this event, he is now set to finish in the top 24 and qualify for the grand finals in March.
Lee took the opening frame with a break of 62 then Glasgow’s Maguire levelled with a 56. A run of 68 saw Lee take the third and he added the next for 3-1. Maguire won the fifth before Lee settled the result in frame six.
The former Crucible semi-finalist was 3-0 down to Andrew Norman in the last 16 this morning but hit back to win 4-3 then went on to beat Mark Davis 4-2 and Joe Jogia 4-1 to reach the final.
“I should have been going home at the last 16 stage so to end up lifting the trophy is a great feeling,” said Lee. “I played some good stuff after that. My goal was just to get into the top 24 because I want to be in the final event.
“Last week (at EPTC3) I drove to Germany, lost 4-0 to Issara Kachaiwong and drove home again. So it just shows you that form can come at funny times and things can turn around very quickly.”
Lee declined to set regaining a place among the top 16 of the world rankings as a new goal, adding: “You’ve got to take tournaments one at a time and not look too far in front or put pressure on yourself. I’m just happy to be enjoying the game again.”
EPTC5 is in Hamm, Germany, in two weeks time, with the last of the 12 short events to follow in Prague.