Two 147 breaks were compiled as the professional players entered the fray in the 2018 Paul Hunter Classic in Furth on Friday.
The 15th edition of the ranking event in Germany had been notable in its lack of star names, with only a handful of top 32 ranked competitors in the first round draw.
However, that shortcoming was somewhat made up for with an incredible brace of maximums, as Jamie Jones matched Michael Georgiou’s earlier perfect frame for a share of the £20,000 bonus rollover prize.
For both men, it marked the first time that they had achieved a 147 break in competitive play and brings the overall total in the sport to 141.
It comes only months after Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham compiled a pair of 147 breaks in the China Open, the penultimate ranking event of the last campaign in Beijing.
Cyprus’s Georgiou initially knocked in his effort in a 4-2 opening round success over German amateur Umut Dikme but the Shoot Out champion couldn’t maintain the momentum as he exited in the following round to Zhang Yong.
Jones similarly bowed out in the last 64 to fellow Welshman Lee Walker but the former World Championship quarter-finalist at least left his mark on the competition and will walk away with a cheque that is larger than that being awarded to this year’s runner-up in the Paul Hunter Classic.
Veteran Walker was among eight men to progress to the last 16 as half the line-up was whittled down at the Stadthalle.
The 42 year-old won the last two frames, including the decider on a re-spotted black, to dramatically pip Craig Steadman in the third round.
Walker will face Chris Wakelin for what would be only a third career spot in a ranking event quarter-final after the latter had a standout victory, boasting runs of 144 and 116, over Belgium’s Luca Brecel.
With a whopping 47 amateurs in the first round draw, making up more than a third of the depleted field, there was always expected to be one or two that could spring an upset and make it through the opening stages.
It wasn’t all that surprising then to see young Welsh prodigy Jackson Page emerge from the pack as the viable candidate, the 17 year-old bettering his breakout performance at his home tournament, the Welsh Open, from a year ago.
Page beat three professional players – Zhou Yuelong, Ian Burns, and Sam Baird – to embark on his run to the fourth round, which will take place on Sunday when the champion in Germany will ultimately be crowned.
The two-time European under-18 champion plays Scott Donaldson next while also in his quarter of the bracket are Zhang Anda – who accounted for defending champion Michael White – and rookie Harvey Chandler, highlighting just how open this Paul Hunter Classic is proving to be.
The highest ranked cueist currently in the last 16, at a lowly 56th in the world, is former world champion Peter Ebdon, who must be fancying his chances of an unlikely triumph late in his career.
The 47 year-old overcame Mark King to edge closer to what would represent a tenth ranking event glory, six years after he last got his hands on silverware at the 2012 China Open.
Ebdon will meet Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in an intriguing battle of styles after the fast-paced Thai beat Ben Woollaston and Zhang Yong.
On Saturday, the remaining half of the field will compete for the other eight spots available in the last 16.
Among them will be favourite Shaun Murphy, albeit the two-time former champion faces arguably one of the toughest opening round fixtures in Irishman Fergal O’Brien.
Kyren Wilson, Jack Lisowski, and Xiao Guodong, as well as German professional duo Lukas Kleckers and Simon Lichtenberg, are all also in action.
Pingback: Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski Advance in Paul Hunter Classic - SnookerHQ