An emotional Stuart Bingham booked his place in the last 32 of the Championship League then dedicated his success to his late nan.
Bingham won Group 21 at the Championship League in Leicester to reach the last 32 of the season's first ranking event on the same day of his grandma's funeral.
The 2015 world champion showed glimpses of his rampant scoring class at the Morningside Arena as he drew 2-2 with second-placed Michael White in his first competitive action since his narrow 17-15 defeat to Mark Selby in the Crucible semi-finals in April.
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Bingham rolled in a 72 to move 2-0 clear of White, who hit back strongly with knocks of 112 and 51 to earn a 2-2 draw.
Bingham stepped up matters in the final two matches as he produced trademark flowing breaks of 70 and 134 to defeat Gao Yang 3-1 before knocks of 116 and 52 helped him usurp Elliot Slessor by the same scoreline.
The classy White, who surprisingly failed to regain a full tour card at Q School last month, made runs of 80, 104 and 59 in a 3-1 win over Slessor and 61 and 55 in a 3-1 success against Gao, but could not overtake Bingham's highest break of 134.
“A hard day for me today, my nan passed away at the beginning of the month and her funeral was today," said the 2020 Masters winner.
It’s been a tough day, seeing all the family at the wake after, it was tough to get my head around it. Obviously in the end I got the job done. This is for my nan.
“It probably relaxed me a bit more, I sort of thought, what’s the worst that can happen I can get beat. Obviously, I wanted to win it for my nan. So, it probably relaxed me a bit more and I got the job done..thankfully I held myself together and I got the job done.”
While White narrowly missed qualifying, there was better news for his fellow Welshman Ryan Day, who emerged as the resounding winner of Group 22 with wins over Barry Pinches and Jackson Page before a 2-2 draw with Hossein Vafaei secured his progress to the last 32.
"I haven’t had too much time to get practice in, the weather’s been too good to be stuck indoors playing snooker," said the Shoot Out winner, who hit a lovely 136 in overcoming Pinches and a 134 in his victory against second-placed Page. "I thought I played really two good matches, I felt really sharp straightaway. I’m really pleased.
From now, I will probably be spending more time on the practice table. I don’t know whether if that’s going to be a good or bad thing. Sometimes a break is as good as anything. I think the break I’ve taken this summer is as long as I can remember.
"Probably the longest time I’ve had away from playing in probably my whole career. Maybe there’s something in it.”
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