Fergal O'Brien missed the final pink to come up agonisingly short in his bid to become snooker's oldest maximum man, but still reached the WST Pro Series last 32 in Milton Keynes.
At 49, Ireland's evergreen former British Open winner would have passed John Higgins, who holds the record at the age of 45, but saw the pink to a centre pocket stay out during the first frame of a 2-1 win over Noppon Saengkham in Group F.
O'Brien compensated for his anguish by securing second place in the section with a concluding 2-0 win over Brazil's leading player Igor Figueiredo seeing him through as Ben Woollaston topped the group courtesy of a 2-1 victory against Robbie McGuigan in his final group match.
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“That was a blow because it would have been lovely to make a maximum,” said world number 114 O'Brien, who hit the only competitive 147 of his career against Mark Davis in a Championship League match in 2016. “Not that many players have had more than one.
"I lost two of my first three matches so my lunch didn’t taste too good. But beating Noppon gave me a boost and I played well in my last three matches, I knew I had to win all of them. I’m delighted to get through," added O'Brien, who hit four centuries in finishing on 15 points with five wins from seven matches as Woollaston secured first place on frame difference.
I’ve had a very poor season, I’ve been out of the winning habit. I’d won five matches all season and then won five today, plus I haven’t had a century all season and I’ve had four today. I needed confidence and more matches to get sharper ahead of the World qualifiers.
“It would mean everything to get to the Crucible again. I’ve had the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat.”
The second group stage of the WST Pro Series begins on Wednesday 17 March with 32 qualifiers from 16 groups making up four more groups of eight.
The final group will be contested between the top two from each group on Sunday 21 March, the day before the Tour Championship begins.

WST Pro Series last-32 qualifiers

  • Jack Lisowski
  • Luca Brecel
  • Luo Honghao
  • Zhou Yeulong
  • Shaun Murphy
  • Louis Heathcote
  • Zhao Xintong
  • Dominic Dale
  • Stuart Bingham
  • Sam Craigie
  • Martin O'Donnell
  • Lu Ning
  • Kyren Wilson
  • Sunny Akani
  • Joe Perry
  • Xiao Guodong
  • Oliver Lines
  • James Cahill
  • Ali Carter
  • Mark Davis
  • Ben Woollaston
  • Fergal O'Brien
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