Jimmy White bagged his first win of the season as he saw off the challenge of young pretender Oliver Lines 5-3 in the first round of the Shanghai Masters qualifiers.
White knocked in two breaks of 49 and a 44 in establishing a 4-3 lead over the 20 year-old, who many are tipping as a future world champion, before an 88 run sealed the victory.
After dropping outside the top 64 in the world rankings at the end of the last campaign, the ‘Wind’ regained his place on the main tour with a two-year card via his performances on the European Tour but now must face the challenge of beginning his new period with zero ranking points.
It’ll be a long hard battle for the 53 year-old if he is to manage to break back into the top 64 after the end of this 24-month spell but he continues to show now and then that his ability is there – it’s just the consistency that is lacking.
Elsewhere, Ireland’s Leo Fernandez took advantage of his invitation to play and make up the numbers as he overcame Lu Chenwei 5-4.
Fernandez, a former pro himself, narrowly failed to return under that status this season when he lost in the final round of Q-School in May but will have the option to play in several tournaments this season as an amateur top-up.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri continued his excellent start to life on the circuit with a 5-1 triumph over Alfie Burden.
Ayouri, a multiple amateur world champion, endured a difficult couple of years as he tried and failed to obtain a UK visa.
Instead, the Iranian spent the majority of his time practicing across the Irish Sea in Ireland, and so had built up a strong fan base on the Emerald Isle by the time his visa issues were finally sorted out earlier in 2015.
In his first tournament, Ayouri won four matches to reach the last 32 of the Australian Open and he’s beginning to look like a serious threat.
Other than that it was a very busy opening day at the Metrodome in Barnsley.
Chinese trio Zhou Yuelong, Zhang Anda and Lu Ning avoided the early fate of countryman Lu Chenwei by booking their places in the second round.
Scotland’s Ross Muir ousted Tony Drago 5-1 and was joined by his compatriots Scott Donaldson and Michael Leslie, while Welsh threesome Lee Walker, Gareth Allen and amateur Alex Taubman similarly advanced.
Australia’s Vinnie Calabrese comfortably outscored Thor Chuan Leong of Malaysia 5-1 with the remainder of Monday’s winners hailing from England.
There were deciding frame successes for Craig Steadman, Ian Burns, Paul Davison and Chris Melling while Michael Wasley downed James Cahill 5-3.
The rest of the scorelines were more one-sided as Liam Highfield, Zak Surety, Joel Walker, Martin O’Donnell and Allan Taylor all eased into round two.