Zhao Xintong comfortably reached Stage Two of Championship League Snooker on Wednesday at the Morningside Arena.
The reigning UK champion compiled a brace of century breaks and lost just a single frame across his three round-robin victories in Leicester.
A 3-1 triumph over Michael Holt – the Hitman participating as one of several top-up amateur players – was followed by routine 3-0 outings against Adam Duffy and Hammad Miah.
Zhao thus topped Group 2 of this ranking event edition of Championship League Snooker with the total nine points possible and a 100% record.
The 25 year-old commences this campaign in strong fashion, a season in which many will be keeping an eye on his progress following his brilliant breakthrough last term.
In addition to capturing the UK Championship title in York, the silky Chinese cueist also bagged glory in the German Masters en route to a career-high ranking of number six in the world.
Meanwhile, Anthony Hamilton topped Group 31 after a dramatic finale in which the former German Masters champion pipped Noppon Saengkham to first place.
With two wins from his opening two bouts against Steven Hallworth and Ashley Hugill, Saengkham needed only a point from his remaining fixture versus the Sheriff to advance.
But Hamilton, who drew 2-2 with Hugill before whitewashing Hallworth, compiled two tons in an excellent 3-1 defeat of the Thai.
Both Zhao and Hamilton will move forward to Stage Two of the competition and the second league phase that takes place towards the end of July.
- Click here: Championship League defending champion out
On Thursday, the action continues with former champion Kyren Wilson entering the fray in Group 6 alongside Zhang Anda, Michael Judge, and Luke Simmonds.
Group 26 will also take place with Tom Ford, Chris Wakelin, Ian Burns, and Main Tour rookie Anton Kazakov taking part.
Live coverage is available on FreeSports and Matchroom.Live in the UK and Ireland, and by various other means around the world.
Click here to view the draw (times: CET)
Featured photo credit: WST