The “Magician” worked his magic to easily qualify for the last 32 of the new ranking event.
Shaun Murphy won seven matches out of seven to comfortably finish in first place of Group A in the WST Pro Series on Saturday.
The Englishman compiled a hat-trick of century breaks as he reeled off one victory after another in the round-robin play.
Murphy advances to the second group phase in March alongside Louis Heathcote, with the latter’s 5-2 win-loss record proving enough to see him through as well.
The 23 year-old boasted identical points and frame-difference stats to those accrued by Alan McManus, but Heathcote’s head-to-head triumph against the Scot represented the defining factor in his favour.
Ken Doherty, Michael Holt, and Xu Si were among the players who failed to accumulate enough points from Group A of the WST Pro Series and have therefore exited the tournament at the opening hurdle.
What is the WST Pro Series?
The format for the WST Pro Series is quite similar to that which was unitilised for two out of the three editions of the Championship League that were staged during 2020.
There are 16 groups comprising eight players in each, with a round-robin phase determining the top two who will advance to the second group stage.
Eight groups in the first stage take place this week, while the remaining eight groups are in March.
The 32 players who progress to stage two will be split into four more groups of eight, with the top two again moving forward from each to contest the final group.
That remaining set of eight players will subsequently battle it out in the same fashion to become the overall champion.
There is a total tournament prize fund of £420,500, broken down in various ways through the three group stages.
The winner, however, stands to collect at least £30,000 in an event that incorporates a sprint best-of-three frames format throughout.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 23, 2021
On Sunday, Group L takes place with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Zhou Yuelong, Anthony Hamilton, Luo Honghao, Lei Peifan, Mitchell Mann, Ashley Hugill, and amateur Leo Fernandez involved.
Live coverage will be available via an account with several online bookmakers, as well as around the world through the Matchroom.Live streaming service.
Click here to view the full draw (Times in CET)
Featured photo credit: WST