Stephen Lee won the second Asian Players Tour Championship event of the season this morning after a comprehensive 4-0 victory over home favourite Ding Junhui in the final.
Earlier, the Englishman had beaten another local hero in Cao Yupeng 4-2 while Ding defeated compatriot Xiao Guodong by the same scoreline in the other last four encounter.
The victory provides Lee with a £10,000 winner’s cheque, a healthy bank of 2000 ranking points and ensures his return to the PTC Grand Finals in March of next year.
Lee has enjoyed somewhat of a love affair with the PTC series since its inauguration back in the summer of 2010.
Then, the former world championship semi-finalist was outside of the top 16 in the world rankings and struggling to qualify for what paltry number of events there were at the time.
But the guarantee of a more professionally run circuit with tournaments hosted almost every week rejuvenated the 37 year-old with one match win after another considerably boosting his confidence.
He claimed the tenth event on the PTC series that year, guaranteeing his return to the elite bracket, and has been an ever presence in the business end of the short-format competitions since.
After qualifying for the Grand Finals in Galway at the end of last season, Lee, coming off the back of reaching the final of the World Open, surged all the way to his fifth ranking event title by beating Neil Robertson in the final.
The triumph brought him back into the world’s top 8 and with victory today he shows no signs of letting up any time soon.
Indeed, Lee also contested the opening APTC in June, where he was narrowly defeated in the final 4-3 by Stuart Bingham.
His commitment to the Asian leg is testament to his success over the last couple of years – like Bingham, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and a few others, Lee has played in pretty much every tournament possible.
This may have worked to his detriment in the World Championship last May as he appeared burnt out with a marathon season’s effort and duly was dumped out early in the first round – having been tipped by some to go all the way.
In truth, Lee has arguably found his place with the best-of-7 PTCs. Being a sprint and played out over only a few days, it arguably suits the Trowbridge potter more than the longer format tournaments where he may not have the stamina to go deep consistently.
Either way, Lee will be happy just to be back in amongst the big-time as it wasn’t too long ago that his best days in the sport appeared to be behind him.
The full results for APTC2 can be viewed by clicking here.