Gary Wilson won the last six frames in a row as he beat Joe O’Connor 9-2 in the final of the BetVictor Scottish Open, to capture his first ranking title 18 years after turning professional.
The Wallsend cueman first appeared as a professional on the World Snooker Tour in 2004, after winning the World under-21 championship. Since then he has competed in two ranking finals, suffering defeat at the 2015 China Open to Mark Selby and the 2021 British Open against Mark Williams.
Wilson also graced the hallowed single table setup at the Crucible in 2019, following a fine run to the World Championship semi-finals. The 37-year-old beat Luca Brecel, Mark Selby and Ali Carter, before losing to eventual winner Judd Trump. Those near misses made this evening’s emphatic triumph taste all the sweeter.
Wilson pockets a top prize of £80,000 and will now move up to 18th position in the world rankings. It also catapults him to second place in the BetVictor Series, where the player who accumulates the most money over the qualifying events will scoop a bumper £150,000 bonus.
O’Connor’s first foray into a ranking final ends with disappointment. The 27-year-old has spent four seasons as a professional and enjoyed the finest run of his career thus far.
He dumped out a star studded cast across the week, beating Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and Ricky Walden to make the semis. O’Connor then scored a sensational 6-3 defeat of 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson. He leaves Edinburgh with the consolation of the £35,000 runner-up prize.
Much of the damage was done in the afternoon session, where Wilson clinically moved to a 6-2 lead and punished any errors made by his opponent.
Wilson took the first frame this evening, before crucially stealing the next on the black to move one from the win at 8-2. He wasted no time getting over the line, firing in a match winning break of 94 to capture his first major title.
“It means the world. Many times over my career I’ve thought I would never get to this stage. You watch people do it on the telly and it seems harder and harder. It is getting harder. The standard is so good,” said an elated Wilson.
“It is unbelievable to think that after the career I’ve had, which has been so up and down, I’ve finally won a tournament. I’ve fulfilled a lifelong ambition from when I was eight years old, I’ve done it.
“I purposefully tried to put no expectation on myself. I’ve been in a couple of finals and lost situations in matches where I should have won. Even at 8-2 you are still thinking the worst could happen, but you are concentrating and plowing on to the line. It is just something that I have learned to do over the years. After so many years of defeats you learn to accept anything that comes.
“I reckon you can get about six or seven pints at least in this trophy. So I am going to give that a go tonight and see what happens.”
O’Connor said: “I have had an amazing week. I’ve beat a lot of top 16 players. Unfortunately today, I didn’t play my best. Congratulations to Gary, he was amazing and fully deserved the win.
“I loved every minute. I’d like to say a big thanks to my family and friends who came down to watch and thanks to the crowd, you’ve been amazing.”