Shaun Murphy became the sixth different winner in six PTC tournaments this season with a 4-2 victory over Matthew Couch in the final of Euro Players Tour Championship event two.
Former World and UK Champion Murphy made a slow start to the series, losing in the first round to amateur players in two of the first three events, but has leapt into the top six of the Order of Merit with this triumph in Bruges, Belgium.
It’s the Sale-based player’s second title of the season having won the Rundili Wuxi Classic in China in June.
A scrappy 38-minute first frame went the way of Scunthorpe’s Couch, then Murphy hit back to win the next three with top breaks of 58 and 70. Couch, whose run to the final has lifted him to 58th in the world rankings, kept his hopes alive by winning the fifth, but Murphy sealed victory in style in the next with a 104.
“It was tough, Matthew has played well through the tournament,” said Murphy after collecting the 10,000 Euro top prize. “He made life difficult for me. It was a scrappy start but I managed to get going after that.
“I lost a couple of first round games early in the PTC but I’m hoping to be like Manchester United…it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. I had a good run in EPTC1 in Germany and I kept that going here.
“Hopefully I can keep playing well and prepare well for the UK Championship, as I’ve done well there before and the longer matches suit me. Although, I don’t mind the best-of-sevens and we saw at the World Open last week that it doesn’t really matter how long the matches are, as the best two players in the world (Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan) still got to the final.
“The crowds here in Belgium have been fantastic, I’d never been to Bruges before but I got a lot of support, so a big thank you to everyone who came and watched the tournament.”
PTC4 winner Barry Pinches still tops the Order of Merit, followed by Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Tom Ford and Murphy. There are six more events to go, two at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield and four in Europe.
The top 24 on the final Order of Merit, who have played in a minimum of three PTC and three EPTC events, go through to the televised finals in March.
The next event is PTC5 in Sheffield from October 7 to 10.