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Welsh Open
World Ranking Event

Brief History of the Welsh Open
With sponsorship from Imperial Tobacco through their Regal brand, the Welsh Open began in 1992, initially in February immediately following the Benson & Hedges Masters but then it took over the early January date formally occupied by the Mercantile Credit Classic.
One or two of the top players, including Steve Davis and Jimmy White decided not to take part in that first year but in following years all players entered. Darren Morgan was a popular home finalist but it was Stephen Hendry who won the first title at the Newport Centre which was the venue for the first seven years. In 1999 it moved to the Cardiff International Arena.
Three players have achieved their first ranking title in this event; Ken Doherty, Mark Williams and Paul Hunter. In 1996, at the age of 17 years and 111 days, Paul Hunter reached the semi finals and remains the youngest to have done so in any ranking event.
In 2003 Stephen Hendry beat Mark Williams in the final and became the first player to take the title three times. Up to that point he had shared the distinction of winning twice with Steve Davis, Mark Williams, Ken Doherty and Paul Hunter.
With the enforced ending of tobacco sponsorship, the event was without a sponsor in 2004 but that did not prevent a thrilling final with Ronnie O’Sullivan having to win the last three frames to edge out veteran Steve Davis. That event was held at a new venue, the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff but in 2005 it returned to its original home in Newport when Ronnie O’Sullivan became only the second player to successfully defend the title. In 2007 unranked Andrew Higginson came through all the way to the final from the first qualifying round, helped may a maximum break in the quarter final. In a thrilling final he won six frame sin a row from 2-6 down but Neil Robertson held his nerve to take the last three for victory. The following year Mark Selby gained his first world ranking title coming from 5-8 down to beat Ronnie O`Sullivan 9-8 in the final. The event also gave Allister Carter his first ranking title the following season whenhe came from 2-5 down to beat Joe Swail 9-5.

In 2011 all round up to and including the last sixteen were played over the best of seven frames with ni interval.

Roll Of Honour             

Year Venue Sponsor Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
1992 Newport Centre Regal Stephen Hendry Darren Morgan 9-3 £25,000
1993 Newport Centre Regal Ken Doherty Alan McManus 9-7 £27,500
1994 Newport Centre Regal Steve Davis Alan McManus 9-6 £27,000
1995 Newport Centre Regal Steve Davis John Higgins 9-3 £32,500
1996 Newport Centre Regal Mark J. Williams John Parrott 9-3 £36,000
1997 Newport Centre Regal Stephen Hendry Mark King 9-2 £37,500
1998 Newport Centre Regal Paul Hunter John Higgins 9-5 £60,000
1999 Cardiff International Arena Regal Mark J. Williams Stephen Hendry 9-8 £60,000
2000 Cardiff International Arena Regal John Higgins Stephen Lee 9-8 £62,000
2001 Cardiff International Arena Regal Ken Doherty Paul Hunter 9-2 £62,000
2002 Cardiff International Arena Regal Paul Hunter Ken Doherty 9-7 £82,500
2003 Cardiff International Arena Regal Stephen Hendry Mark J. Williams 9-5 £82,500
2004 Welsh Institute of Sport, Cardiff none Ronnie O'Sullivan Steve Davis 9-8 £52,000
2005 Newport Centre none Ronnie O'Sullivan Stephen Hendry 9-8 £35,000
2006 Newport Centre none Stephen Lee Shaun Murphy 9-4 £35,000
2007 Newport Centre none Neil Robertson Andrew Higginson 9-8 £35,000
2008 Newport Centre none Mark Selby Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-8 £35,000
2009 Newport Centre none Allister Carter Joe Swail 9-5 £35,000
2010 Newport Centre Totesport.com John Higgins Allister Carter 9-4 £35,000
2011 Newport Centre Wyldecrest Park Homes John Higgins Stephen Maguire 9-6 £30,000

Maximum Breaks
Final Stage
Ronnie O'Sullivan 1999 Quarter Final v. James Wattana
Andrew Higginson 2007 Quarter Final v. Allister Carter
Stephen Hendry 2011 Last 16 v. Stephen Maguire
Qualifying Rounds
Barry Pinches 2000 Round 2 v Joe Johnson

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© Chris Turner 2008