O’Sullivan Back In Winner’s Circle

Ronnie O’Sullivan won a tournament carrying ranking points for the first time in 21 months by beating Joe Perry 4-0 in the final of PTC1.

It’s the perfect start to the season for 35-year-old O’Sullivan, who slipped to 11th place in the world rankings last term, with question marks hanging over his form and desire to keep playing at the top level.

His last full ranking title was the 2009 Roewe Shanghai Masters and this is the first time he has won a Players Tour Championship tournament. He collects £10,000 and 2,000 ranking points and goes straight to the top of the PTC Order of Merit.

“My game wasn’t too bad,” said the three-times World Champion. “Everone was rusty. I’m just having a go and doing my best. This is a big season for me, I’m giving myself one more year, or possibly two, to see if I can improve. It’s a work in progress but I do feel some optimism.

“I’m still seeing (psychiatrist) Steve Peters. I still need help although I feel a lot better. There’s tournaments all over the place now so I’m just taking it as it comes.”

Asked if he had been concerned about dropping out of the top 16, O’Sullivan added: “I don’t worry about the rankings, although it’s nice to be at the top. If I drop out and have to qualify then so be it. It would only be one match and the conditions at the qualifiers are good. Players come through them and go on to win tournaments so it wouldn’t mean I couldn’t win titles.”

In the final the Chigwell cueman fired in breaks of 60, 105 and 117 to win in just 51 minutes.

O’Sullivan won seven matches over the past three days at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, conceding just nine frames in the process. He almost made a maximum 147 in his semi-final against Joe Jogia, but missed the final yellow on 120.

Cambridgeshire’s World No 27 Perry earlier beat Graeme Dott in the semis.

The tournament produced a host of shock results, with the likes of John Higgins, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Stephen Hendry all losing in the first round, while amateurs Eden Sharav and Robbie Williams got to the last 16.

The next PTC event runs from August 6-10 at the South West Academy in Gloucester. The top 24 after the 12 short events qualify for the Grand Finals next March – providing they play in at least three events in the UK and three in Europe.

Next on the World Snooker Tour it’s the Australian Goldfields Open qualifiers, which start on Monday.