Barry Hawkins fought back from the brink of defeat to overcome reigning champion Kyren Wilson and claim the Paul Hunter Classic title on Sunday.
The annual pro-am, this year controversially downgraded from ranking event status to a mere invitational featuring just 16 players, was once again staged at the Stadthalle in Furth.
Despite its shortened guise, the tournament was still well supported with a big crowd turning up to support the action in Germany.
Hawkins began his bid for a maiden Paul Hunter Classic title on Saturday with a 4-1 triumph over Gary Wilson in which the 40 year-old compiled a brace of century breaks.
Notable contributions were at a premium as Hawkins followed that up early on day two with another 4-1 success against Mark King.
Hawkins survived a tough semi-final clash – prevailing after a topsy-turvy battle with Joe Perry, another fellow Englishman, went the distance.
But the former World Championship and Masters runner-up saved the miracles for the final.
With Kettering’s Wilson only a couple of balls away from defending his Paul Hunter Classic title, the 27 year-old broke down on 57.
A 41 clearance helped Hawkins to force a decider, which he duly won with the help of a timely run of 69.
Congratulations to Barry Hawkins who wins the 2019 Paul Hunter Classic beating Kyren Wilson 4-3 in the final.
— Adam @SnookerInfo (@SnookerInfo147) August 25, 2019
Hawkins told World Snooker: “It was a strong field and it’s tough to win any tournament.”
“To win a title early in the season puts me in good stead. In spells during the weekend I played really well and scored well.
“There are two big tournaments coming up in China so hopefully I can keep this form going.
“I was feeling tired in the final, it was a bit scrappy. It was a huge frame to go 3-3 because I thought it was game over.
“I potted a good long red and managed to clear up. Then in the last frame I held myself together.
“The fans here are some of the best in the world, it’s always a great atmosphere.”
Like many other true fans, no doubt, I was very disappointed that this event was not shown on the Eurosport Player. I had checked the Eurosport schedules 2-3 days before the weekend, and two screens WERE initially scheduled from 8.30 am, right through till late night. I am not sure what coverage would have filled the hours from that time, but it all disappeared from the schedules on Saturday morning. Do you know if there was some sort of problem with the coverage, or if they just decided that it was not worth showing because of the lack of “big names”? As a Kyren Wilson fan, I would argue with that anyway. Cheers
World Snooker was pretty quiet about the whole thing. Not much info on anything. Paul Collier has said there’s plans for the future, but who knows. A few things, like how players were chosen to be invites, seem to have been a bit peculiar this year. In saying that, the event still exists and it may yet make a comeback under a better guise. Let’s hope so, the Furth fans definitely deserve better.
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