Ronnie O'Sullivan professional season
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Ronnie O’Sullivan Starts 30th Professional Season with Win

The Rocket joined the Main Tour at the beginning of the 1992/93 campaign.

Ronnie O’Sullivan began his 30th season as a professional by topping Group 32 of the Championship League on Tuesday in Leicester.

The six-time world champion won his opening two fixtures, a 3-1 victory against Ian Burns followed by a 3-0 win against amateur Saqib Nasir, to leave himself needing just a draw from his final round-robin clash with Mark Joyce.

That’s exactly what happened as O’Sullivan sealed his progress by taking two out of the first three frames from the tie with his fellow Englishman.

The world number three moves one step closer to securing a 38th ranking title, having gone through all of the last term without any silverware and losing in an unprecedented five finals.

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Elsewhere, Irishman Fergal O’Brien progressed as well by topping a tight Group 6 ahead of Michael Holt and Andrew Higginson.

The Dubliner, a professional for one season longer than Ronnie O’Sullivan, drew both of his opening fixtures against the pair but scored a 3-0 triumph against amateur Mark Lloyd in his last league match.

That brought O’Brien to five points on a par with Holt, and as the pair’s respective frame difference couldn’t separate them the outcome of the standings came down to which player made the highest break during the day – which was O’Brien courtesy of an even 100.

O’Sullivan and O’Brien must wait several weeks to rejoin the action, however, with winners from another 26 groups still to be determined in Stage One at the Morningside Arena.

On Wednesday, the tournament continues with Barry Hawkins in action alongside Ben Woollaston, Zak Surety, and amateur Kuldesh Johal in Group 28.

Group 2 also takes place with Welsh Open winner Jordan Brown competing against Stuart Carrington, Duane Jones, and Q School graduate Michael Judge.

What is the Championship League?

The Championship League has been on the calendar in some way, shape, or form since 2008, but it’s only in the last couple of years that it has been intermittently staged as a ranking event.

On this occasion, there are three stages to the month-long competition with 128 players initially split into 32 round-robin groups comprising four players in each.

The 32 group winners advance to Stage Two, before the next eight group winners determine the competitors who feature in Stage Three, with all matches lasting just four frames.

The two players who win their third and final groups will subsequently contest the outright final, with the winner set to earn £33,000 from the total prize fund.

Where to Watch the Championship League

There will be two tables available to watch on each day of the group stages, with the snooker on table one available across Ireland and the UK on FreeSports, and table two’s play on Matchroom.Live’s snooker streaming service.

There are various other TV broadcast options around the world, which you can view by clicking here.

Click here to view the full draw (Times: CET)

Featured photo credit: WST

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