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Benson & Hedges Championship
Masters Qualifying Tournament
Non-Ranking Events open to players ranked outside the top 16 only

Brief History of the Benson & Hedges Championship and the Masters Qualifying Event
 
For the 1990 Masters at Wembley, Benson & Hedges had added two wild cards and for the following season they introduced a qualifying competition for one of those wild cards. Originally called the B & H Satellite Championship it began at the somewhat appropriately named Masters Club in Glasgow and it was a local player, Alan McManus who took the title.
 
Normally played in October, it was open to any professional other than those ranked in the top 16, who automatically receive an invite to the Masters but, for one season only, in 1992/93 it was designated as a minor ranking event and open to all pros but with only ten per cent of the usual ranking points available, many of the top players did not bother.
 
After four years in Glasgow the event moved to Edinburgh in 1994 for three years and then to the Willie Thorne Club in Malvern where it remained for a further four years before moving to Mansfield.
 
Alan McManus is the only player to have appeared in two finals and one of four winners who have gone on to win the Masters itself in later years. The other three are Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens. 
 
The ending of tobacco sponsorship forced the withdrawal of Benson & Hedges after the 2002/03 season but the Masters continued and a new Masters Qualifying Event was established. This had a field of 128. The top 16 were excluded as they automatically qualified for the main event and they and any other Main Tour player who did not enter, were replaced by the top players from the Challenge Tour Order of Merit. The winner would not receive any prize money at this stage but, as before, would go forward to play in the Masters itself. No such event was held in 2004 but it returned in 2005 but there were only 48 entries. Stuart Bingham won and also recorded the event’s first maximum break along the way. The following season Stuart became the first player to win a Masters qualifying tournament twice.
 


©Chris Turner 2008
Roll of Honour

BENSON & HEDGES CHAMPIONSHIP

Season Venue Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
1990/1 Masters Club, Glasgow Alan McManus James Wattana 9-5 £3,000
1991/2 Masters Club, Glasgow Ken Doherty Darren Morgan 9-3 £3,000
1992/3 Masters Club, Glasgow Chris Small Alan McManus 9-1 £5,000
1993/4 Masters Club, Glasgow Ronnie O'Sullivan John Lardner 9-6 £5,000
1994/5 JP Snooker Centre, Edinburgh Mark J. Williams Rod Lawler 9-5 £5,000
1995/6 JP Snooker Centre, Edinburgh Matthew Stevens Paul McPhillips 9-3 £5,000
1996/7 JP Snooker Centre, Edinburgh Brian Morgan Drew Henry 9-8 £5,000
1997/8 Willie Thorne Snooker Centre, Malvern Andy Hicks Paul Davies 9-6 £5,000
1998/9 Willie Thorne Snooker Centre, Malvern David Gray Dave Harold 9-6 £5,000
1999/00 Willie Thorne Snooker Centre, Malvern Allister Carter Simon Bedford 9-4 £5,000
2000/1 Willie Thorne Snooker Centre, Malvern Shaun Murphy Stuart Bingham 9-7 £5,000
2001/2 Towers Snooker Club, Mansfield Ryan Day Hugh Abernethy 9-5 £5,000
2002/3 Towers Snooker Club, Mansfield Mark Davis Mehmet Husnu 9-6 £6,000

Maximum Breaks
Terry Murphy * 1993 Round 1 v. Robert Thallon
Karl Burrows 1999 Round 2 v. Adrian Rosa
David McLellan 2000 Round 3 v. Steve Meakin
Shaun Murphy 2001 Last 32 v. Adrian Rosa
Tony Drago 2002 Last 32 v. Stuart Bingham
*not officialy recognised for record purposes

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Masters Qualifying Tournament

Season Venue Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
2003/4 World Snooker Centre, Pontins Prestatyn Neil Robertson Dominic Dale 9-5 none
2004/5 not held n/a n/a n/a n/a
2005/6 World Snooker Centre, Pontins Prestatyn Stuart Bingham Allister Carter 9-1 none
2006/7 English Institute of Sport, Sheffield Stuart Bingham Mark Selby 9-6 none
2007/8 English Institute of Sport, Sheffield Barry Hawkins Kurt Maflin 9-5 none
2008/9 English Institute of Sport, Sheffield Judd Trump Mark Joyce 6-1 none
2009/10 World Snooker Centre, Pontins Prestatyn Rory McLeod Andrew Higginson 6-1 £2,000

Maximum Breaks
Stuart Bingham 2005/6 Quarter Final v. Marcus Campbell


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©Chris Turner 2008