Shaun Murphy won all three of his round-robin fixtures to comfortably advance from Group 4 of Championship League Snooker on Wednesday.
The Englishman lost only two frames as he followed up his 3-0 defeat of Andrew Pagett with a brace of 3-1 victories against Lukas Kleckers and Tian Pengfei.
Murphy was one of the players of last season, enjoying a particularly strong second half to the campaign where he captured lucrative titles in the Players and Tour Championships.
The Magician is currently ranked at number seven in the world, but considering he doesn’t have many points to defend from what was a disappointing 2021/22 term, he will be looking up towards the higher positions on the official list.
Meanwhile, Sanderson Lam advanced from Group 12 at the expense of former world number four Barry Hawkins.
An intriguing group that went down to the final round of fixtures, several permutations meant that Lam, Hawkins, and Zhang Anda could still move forward in the competition.
The latter had produced the performance of the day against Jamie O’Neill when he recorded a hat-trick of century breaks in a 3-1 victory.
But Zhang and Hawkins, who each needed wins from their last ties to have a crack at first place, did themselves no favours by playing out a 2-2 draw.
As it was, Lam beat O’Neill 3-1 to safeguard his status as the group leader while booking a spot in the last 32.
Both Shaun Murphy and Sanderson Lam will feature in Stage Two of Championship League Snooker next week in Leicester.
Stage One continues with its penultimate day on Thursday and former champion David Gilbert entering the fray.
The 2021 winner is joined by Yuan Sijun, Sean O’Sullivan, and Ishpreet Singh in Group 13.
Elsewhere, Cao Yupeng is in Group 31 alongside Lyu Haotian, Ian Burns, and Steven Hallworth.
Stage 1 draw
|Group 1 (July 10)||Group 2 (July 11)||Group 3 (June 26)||Group 4 (July 12)|
|Michael Holt||Judd Trump||Shaun Murphy|
|Group 5 (June 29)||Group 6 (June 30)||Group 7 (July 6)||Group 8 (July 7)|
|Kyren Wilson||Mark Williams||Robert Milkins|
|Group 9 (July 14)||Group 10 (June 28)||Group 11 (June 27)||Group 12 (July 12)|
|John Astley||Michael White|
|Mink Nutcharut||Martin O’Donnell||Sanderson Lam|
|Group 13 (July 13)||Group 14 (July 14)||Group 15 (July 4)||Group 16 (July 3)|
|David Gilbert||Ricky Walden|
|Yuan Sijun||David Lilley||Matthew Stevens||Ben Woollaston|
|Sean O’Sullivan||Peng Yisong|
|Ishpreet Singh||Liu Hongyu|
|Group 17 (July 5)||Group 18 (July 11)||Group 19 (July 10)||Group 20 (July 8)|
|Zhou Yuelong||Joe Perry||Noppon Saengkham|
|Group 21 (June 27)||Group 22 (June 28)||Group 23 (July 7)||Group 24 (July 6)|
|Chris Wakelin||Pang Junxu|
|Robbie Williams||Sam Craigie|
|Group 25 (July 8)||Group 26 (July 5)||Group 27 (June 30)||Group 28 (July 4)|
|Si Jiahui||Jak Jones||Anthony Hamilton|
|Group 29 (June 29)||Group 30 (June 26)||Group 31 (July 13)||Group 32 (July 3)|
|Thepchaiya Un-Nooh||Cao Yupeng||Xiao Guodong|
|Daniel Wells||Ian Burns|
Featured photo credit: WST