Michael Judge advanced from Group 6 of Championship League Snooker on Thursday at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The veteran Dubliner was the only player among the four to win a match throughout the day’s round-robin competition.
Every single encounter involving the Irishman, Kyren Wilson, Zhang Anda, and Luke Simmonds ended in a draw until the final clash.
In it, Judge won the last three frames to overcome amateur top-up Simmonds with a 3-1 scoreline to finish in first place with five points.
The 47 year-old endured a difficult comeback campaign last year, hardly winning a match in what was his first season on the Main Tour as a professional for a decade.
Judge will be looking to improve on his form this time around if he’s to have a chance of securing tour survival by the end of the 2022/23 season.
It marked a disappointing start to the new campaign for Wilson, meanwhile, with the former Championship League winner unable to find his top form.
Elsewhere, Group 26 saw Chris Wakelin progress to Stage Two of the ranking event.
By the time the Englishman contested his final league fixture against Tom Ford, he was already through having beaten Ian Burns and Anton Kazakov.
It left his 3-0 defeat to Ford redundant, the latter left to rue his 3-1 reverse to rookie Kazakov at the start of the day’s play.
Both Michael Judge and Chris Wakelin will next feature in Stage Two of the event towards the end of July.
- Click here: Championship League defending champion out
On Friday, Stage One of the first tournament of the 2022/23 snooker season continues with Groups 10 and 29.
Luca Brecel fronts Group 10 with Robbie Williams, Oliver Brown, and Zhao Jianbo also in the lineup.
In Group 29, China’s Lu Ning will enter the fray alongside Oliver Lines, Chen Zifan, and John Astley.
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