O’Sullivan 776

As expected, Ronnie O’Sullivan surpassed Stephen Hendry at the top of career centuries list in his quarter-final Masters encounter with Marco Fu on Thursday.

O'Sullivan's 774th and 775th centuries came against Ricky Walden in the first round - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
O’Sullivan’s 774th and 775th centuries came against Ricky Walden in the first round – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The 39 year-old’s record-breaking moment came in the opening frame, a 101 enough to reach 776 tons – one more than the legendary Scot.

Hendry had led the standings for decades and the figure of 775 when he retired in 2012 remains more than 200 ahead of compatriot John Higgins in third place.

However, while the seven-time world champion was highly regarded as a well-oiled break-building machine, O’Sullivan’s unrivaled natural talent has ensured that his tally has arguably been accumulated in an even more fluent fashion.

Such is the ‘Rocket’s ability on the baize, and his continued dominance of the circuit overall, that it would not be surprising to see the five-time Masters champion exceed the magical 1000 number before the conclusion of his own career.

O’Sullivan’s first ever century came at the age of 10 and he made a 142 total clearance at 12 before becoming the then youngest player to compile a maximum in the final of the 1991 British Amateur Championship when he was just 15.

Of his 776 knocks of 100 or more, 13 of them have been the perfect 147 break during his 23-year tenure on the professional Main Tour – another world’s best.

Records are there to be broken and O’Sullivan, following a spell in his career towards the end of the last decade where the sport wasn’t at the forefront of his priorities, is focused now more than ever on achieving the most he can in the game.

He could be on his way to equaling another in only a few days on Sunday, as he attempts to notch his sixth Masters triumph to again match Hendry’s tally.

The BBC commentator, who celebrated his 46th birthday on Tuesday, insists that he’s not bothered about all his records going as it was only “a matter of time”.

Yet, as a fierce competitor who detested losing and loved to win, his disappearance from the record books must grate just a little.

While this centuries stat doesn’t bear any physical reward or notable honour of worth, O’Sullivan will undoubtedly be pleased to be recognised officially as snooker’s highest ever scorer.

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