Ben Mertens will be a professional player next season after his success in Albania on Sunday.
The Belgian 17 year-old defeated Austrian Florian Nuessle in the final with a comprehensive 5-1 scoreline.
Indeed, Mertens only lost one frame across his final two bouts after narrowly surviving deciding-frame thrillers in the earlier rounds.
After emerging from the round-robin phase as the third seed, Mertens first overcame Alexander Widau before a 4-3 triumph against 2019 runner-up Ross Bulman in the last 16.
A second successive final-frame victory ensued as he edged beyond Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko to reach the last four.
From then on it was easier for the teenager as he romped to a whitewash glory against Liam Pullen before sealing the title at the expense of Nuessle.
In addition to claiming one of the most prestigious amateur titles in the sport, Mertens will also receive a potentially lucrative two-year tour card.
The talented youngster, who has already won matches as a top-up at various professional tournaments, will become a rookie pro during the upcoming 2022/23 campaign.
It also means that there will be three competitors from Belgium on the circuit next term, with Mertens joining established star Luca Brecel and Q School graduate Julien Leclercq.
Mertens will look to make it a rare double when he competes in the prestigious EBSA European Championship this week.
Meanwhile, last week saw the EBSA European Under-18 Championship winner crowned, with Welshman Liam Davies taking glory at the expense of Ireland’s Leone Crowley.
While the victory didn’t bring with it a spot on the Main Tour, it was another signal of Davies’ undeniable pedigree following his two wins in World Championship qualifying earlier this year.
European Under-21 Championship
Kledio KaÇi 2-4 Aidan Murphy
Florian Nuessle 4-2 Julien Leclercq
Ben Mertens 4-3 Iulian Boiko
Liam Pullen 4-2 Nicolas Mortreux
Murphy 1-4 Nuessle
Mertens 4-0 Pullen
Nuessle 1-5 Mertens
Featured photo credit: WPBSA