Resurgent Hawkins Tops Group
Barry Hawkins continued his recent return to form, finishing first in Group D at the WST Pro Series.
Hawkins prevailed 2-1 in the last round against runners-up Ricky Walden and both players reach the second phase in Milton Keynes.
Both players won their first five games in the group, which meant that qualification was completed with two game rounds left to play. Hawkins then lost to Jimmy Robertson before beating Walden with breaks of 81 and 90 to lead the group.
In the last few weeks the number 14 in the world, Hawkins, has reached the semifinals of both the BetVictor German Masters and the Cazoo Players Championship. Those results put him on the right track to qualify for the Cazoo Tour Championship later this month, and today's performance further strengthens his position in eighth place in the year-long leaderboard – although he will still be overtaken by Zhou Yuelong can.
"I've trained hard and winning games builds confidence," said three-time leaderboard event winner Hawkins. “And Lockdown helped because it kept me from going to the pub!
“The Tour Championship would be a brilliant tournament to play in, especially since I've never been close to taking part. It's a chance to compete against the top players.
“I also managed to guarantee my place at the Crucible so I can look forward to it. I hope there will be crowds there because it's a much better place to play with fans. "
In the final match of the day that came to an end, Paul Davison missed the pink on 134 when he was set to the first 147 of his career. Notably, it was the second straight day that a 49-year-old missed the pink when two balls were away from becoming the oldest player to ever hit an official maximum, as did Fergal O'Brien on Thursday Did the same. Davison won the match against Gerard Greene 2-1, but that was little comfort as he was still bottom of the group.
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The action continues on Saturday from 10am with Mark Williams among the group P players. The first phase ends on March 16.
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Click here for the detailed format of the game
Fans around the world can follow the event on the Matchroom.Live website – click here for details.