Stuart Bingham has added a third trophy in 18 months to his growing collection after coming from two down with three to play to edge China’s Li Hang in the final of the third Asian Players Tour Championship event.
After more than a decade of failing to fulfil his potential as a pro, Bingham has undoubtedly been one of the biggest success stories of the Barry Hearn era.
The 36 year-old claimed his first ranking title at the Australian Open in 2011 and has followed that up with an outstanding first half to this current season.
Bingham won the maiden APTC event back in June when he recorded a similar 4-3 scoreline over Stephen Lee before embarking on a run to the final of the Wuxi Classic – eventually losing to Ricky Walden but compiling a maximum 147 en route.
Having broken into the Top 16 for the first time, Bingham is now firmly established as a member of the elite group after rising to tenth in the world and looks to be in no mood to stop his rapid ascent.
With victory in Zhengzhou today, ‘Ballrun’, who beat Ken Doherty in the quarter-finals and came from behind to oust Tom Ford in the last four, also becomes the first player in this campaign to have won multiple trophies.
It caps a remarkable period in Bingham’s snooker career and despite the fact that the two Asian Tour triumphs came with a significant portion of the Main Tour absent, the double delight will do wonders for his confidence that must already be sky-high.
After earning a memorable £16,000 at a single Premier League night a few weeks ago, Bingham’s earnings for the season are now excelling – which is a good thing too as he plans to marry his girlfriend Michelle next May.
It was a positive event for the Chinese contingent as 12 of the round of 16 came from the host country.
22 year-old amateur Li Hang will be disappointed not to have got his own hands on the trophy after surging into a 3-1 lead but will be content in the knowledge that he has earned himself a ticket back to the Main Tour for next season, as well as booking himself a place at the PTC Grand Finals next March – which, rumour has it, is set to return to Galway.
The roller coaster 2012/13 season is set to continue at a rapid pace with the final UK PTC tournament in Gloucester over the coming few days – also known as the Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup.