Mark Allen won the Bulgarian Open on Sunday after a 4-0 victory over Ryan Day in the final in Sofia.
The Northern Irishman was rarely troubled in the showdown encounter, and indeed on the final day in general, as he reeled off three whitewash wins out of his four matches to lift the trophy.
Allen’s biggest test came in the last eight when he had to come from 3-1 down to pip Mike Dunn in a decider, but other than that it was plain sailing for the 29 year-old.
With the triumph, Allen also received the added bonus of the final invitation to this week’s lucrative Champion of Champions back in England.
It marks the fifth success on the European Tour for the cueman known as the ‘Pistol’ and his first victory of any kind in over a year.
“I’m very happy to get another tournament win under my belt,” said the two-time World Open champion.
“To win 4-0 in the final is a good way to do it and shows my game is in good shape. I haven’t been too happy with my performances this season even though I’ve been winning matches, but now I’m getting closer to where I want to be.
“To get a place in the Champion of Champions is a massive bonus and I’ll be going into next week with a lot of confidence having won here.”
Allen’s form throughout his career has tended to be streaky, with positive results and deep runs in a succession of tournaments often the norm, so he might not be a bad bet for glory this week in Coventry.
For Welshman Day, it was a disappointing way to end the event, which included a superb 4-0 drubbing of world no.1 Mark Selby in the quarter-finals.
It was the 35 year-old’s first time featuring in a professional final since his defeat in the 2008 Grand Prix – which followed other final losses in the 2007 Malta Cup and Shanghai Masters – meaning he is still in search of what would be a long-overdue success in a tournament carrying ranking points.
Still, his form is very good these days and his consistency is much-improved so he could be an outside contender for a lot of the remaining tournaments this season.
Day’s £9,000 runner-up cheque does see him rise to 17th in the provisional ‘Race to the Masters’ standings, one behind Stephen Maguire who currently holds the last qualifying position.
The Bulgarian Open was another well-attended and enthusiastically supported event on the continent, and it’ll be a shame to see it leave the calendar if there isn’t a place for it once the Players Championship series is restructured next season.
Allen will certainly have fond memories of it as he joined Judd Trump, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy in etching their names on the trophy.