Mark Selby has won the 2019 Scottish Open following a 9-6 victory over Jack Lisowski at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Sunday.
The former world number one pockets £70,000 and was able to raise aloft the Stephen Hendry Trophy, adding to the Steve Davis Trophy he collected in October for winning the English Open.
Selby becomes the first player since the Home Nations began to claim two out of the first three titles in the series.
Indeed, the 36 year-old may now be regretting a 5-4 quarter-final loss to John Higgins in the Northern Ireland Open, when the £1 million bonus for triumphing in all four events was still a possibility.
Still, Selby’s latest success represents a 17th career ranking title in total – taking him to sixth on the all-time list on his own.
With the 2019 Scottish Open acting as the final ranking event chapter of this decade, it was perhaps fitting that the “Jester” had the last laugh.
That’s because the three-time world champion has etched his name onto ranking silverware 16 times in that period, two more than either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Judd Trump have managed.
Against Lisowski, Selby came up against a talented competitor who was bidding for a maiden victory at this level.
The 28 year-old got off to the perfect start, firing in three breaks above 50 to establish an early 2-0 cushion.
But Lisowski lost momentum after inadvertently sinking a red from the pack while potting a blue in the third frame.
Selby, a master of the tactical game, managed to halt Lisowski’s free-flowing style and duly took five out of the next six frames to lead 5-3 after the afternoon’s bout of play.
Lisowski again began brightly in the evening session, with breaks of 119 and 80 twice getting him back to within just one frame of parity.
Yet, the contest became a scrappier affair and that ultimately suited Selby with the winning line approaching.
Two lengthy frames went his way to lead 8-5 and, although Lisowski made another couple of quickfire contributions to get an additional frame on the board, Selby sealed the deal in the 16th frame.
🗣”Amazing. Obviously coming here this week even after the UK, I had a disappointing performance out there.” @markjesterselby reacts to winning the ❶❾.com #ScottishOpen title 🏆 pic.twitter.com/VeZ9MJbTwZ
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) December 15, 2019
For Lisowski, it’s a third defeat in as many ranking event finals and it will of course be a difficult one to get over.
However, the “Dude” produced a more solid performance compared to his previous couple of appearances at this stage when he was easily dispatched by Neil Robertson on both occasions.
Lisowski can also look toward Selby for inspiration when it comes to making the necessary changes to formulate a winning habit.
After losing eight out of his first 11 ranking event finals, Selby has since triumphed in 14 out of his last 15 since claiming a maiden World Championship title five and a half years ago.
After a difficult couple of seasons on the circuit that culminated in him losing his position as the world’s top ranked player, Selby is approaching his best again.
That will be a worry for the likes of Judd Trump, who has visions of dominating the sport but will find that tricky with an all-round expert like Selby remaining in the mix.
After a busy spell on the calendar, the players have one more batch of qualifiers to negotiate before a well-earned break over the holidays.
With this win in the 2019 Scottish Open, Selby’s end-of-year celebrations just got a little sweeter.