Luo Honghao has won the inaugural World Snooker Federation Championship after a 6-0 thrashing of Adam Stefanów on Saturday in Malta.
The Chinese youngster produced an assured performance to collect the trophy and, in doing so, crucially gain a two-year card to compete on the professional main tour.
Both players progressed to the showpiece match at the Dolmen Hotel following gruelling semi-final encounters that went the distance, but the final proved to be a one-sided affair.
Luo followed an opening frame break of 52 with further runs of 54, 60, and a spectacular 87 during the last frame before the mid-session interval to go 4-0 ahead.
Poland’s Stefanów had been one of the tournament’s most-impressive performers in the run up to the final, but could not find his best form during the title decider and scored just 97 points during the course of the match.
For Luo, the victory not only sees him inscribe his name into history as the first-ever winner of the prestigious new event, but also earns him the top prize of €10,000 and a coveted place on the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2018/19 season.
Luo had come close to making the leap onto the pro circuit before but was denied victory in the IBSF World Under-21 Championship a year ago in a tight final encounter with compatriot Fan Zhengyi – back when the WPBSA and the IBSF were still friends.
“I am really excited to be joining the World Snooker Tour for the first time,” said a delighted Luo.
“There were a lot of great players in this event and so I am really happy to win this final. I tried my best to win every match and to take every shot like in practice and I am now really excited to be joining the main tour.”
The triumph for the 18 year-old brought the curtain down on a landmark event, which has seen three significant titles decided during the past two weeks.
The WSF Championships began with the staging of the World Women’s Snooker Championship and the WSF Seniors Championship, won by Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee and Igor Figueiredo respectively.
The tournaments were followed by the new WSF Championship, a mixed gender event carrying not only a main tour card for the winner, but coveted places at next month’s professional World Championship in Sheffield.
Luo and Stefanów, as well as beaten semi-finalists Kristjan Helgason and Kacper Filipiak, will be heading to the English Institute of Sport next month in an effort to qualify for the sport’s holy grail at the Crucible.