Shaun Murphy produced a scintillating performance to beat Ali Carter 10-4 and win the Players Championship title on Sunday in Wolverhampton.
The Magician maintained his recent level of scoring to pummel the Captain in a mostly one-sided showdown at the Aldersley Arena.
After missing out on glory in last week’s Welsh Open with a disappointing display in the final against Robert Milkins, Murphy made no mistake on this occasion.
The 40 year-old compiled breaks of 145, 141, and 112 in the first session to orchestrate a commanding 6-2 lead.
Murphy followed that with additional runs of 130, 103, 89, and 88 in the evening session to etch his name onto the trophy.
Such was the Englishman’s formidable form this week, he made the five highest breaks of the tournament and contributed an amazing eleven tons overall.
Success represents his tenth career ranking title, taking him alongside Jimmy White and into the top ten on the all-time list.
Murphy also guaranteed his participation in next month’s lucrative Tour Championship, with an invite to the Champion of Champions later this year secured as well.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I’m over the moon,” Shaun Murphy, who won £125,000, told the World Snooker Tour.
“It’s not often you get me speechless, but I’m pretty close. I’d forgotten what to say when you win.”
“I’ve spent the last few seasons giving runners-up speeches, and I had become far too good at that for my liking.
“It was so nice to come to a tournament, play well, and win. I can’t wait to take the trophy home and show Harry and Molly.
“Any time people mention records and stuff like that, it’s a very proud moment. We’ve got so many well-decorated champions that grace our sport.
“So to know that you’re in that kind of company is very, very pleasing. I must say, we’re often quick to criticise, but the playing conditions this week have been first class.
“They really have gone a long way to assisting players on putting on a great show – the table conditions have been beautiful.
“I believed it was coming, and I’m thankful that I’ve got a lot of support. I’ve a lot of good friends and family around me who believe in me.
“I’ve got a lot of friends back in Dublin who have come around me, and when I’ve been struggling they’ve lifted me up.
“Robert Murphy particularly, my P.A. who travels with me. I owe him a very, very big gratitude, because he believed in me when others didn’t.
“He stuck by me and stuck with me. He keeps me positive and keeps me believing, and I guess I’ll have to buy the bloody drinks tonight, won’t I?
“A long time ago I wrote down a little goal of my own, and that was to get to ten world ranking titles.
“I’ve been in lots of finals and could have – perhaps should have – had more. But ten is a nice number, I’m very happy I’ve reached and attained one of my career goals.
“It’s lovely to join someone like Jimmy White with that number, and who knows, if I play like I played today, there could be another few to follow.”
With his resurgence, Murphy is now being hyped as a probable contender at this year’s World Championship, which is less than seven weeks away.
If he can sustain this kind of standard at the Crucible Theatre, he will be a very difficult player to stop, but a lot can still change between now and then.
Carter will be disappointed not to have added to the German Masters crown he collected earlier in February, but he didn’t play badly in the final.
There simply wasn’t much he could have done about an almost flawless performance from the man of the moment, Shaun Murphy.
Featured photo credit: WST
Murphy joins Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan and as the only player to win this event twice. Some historians would argue that his first victory came in a different tournament. However a number of sources have the PTC Grand Finals as part of the same lineage.
Murphy’s 11 centuries were a tournament record, surpassing John Higgins’ tally of 8 in 2021. The scoring throughout the event was amongst the best we’ve seen in a single tournament. 11 centuries in 28 frames won is a remarkable ratio. Ronnie O’Sullivan has bettered it with 11 centuries in 26 frames won when clinching the Champion of Champions title a few years ago.