STEPHEN LEE claimed his first world ranking title in six years beating Neil Robertson to lift the PTC Grand Finals trophy.
The Wiltshire man, whose last title success came at the Welsh Open in 2006, beat the Australian and former world champion 4-0 in the final in Galway, Ireland to pick up the winning trophy and £70,000 cash prize as well as move into the top seven of the current projected seedings.
After a tense 47-minute opening frame there was then no stopping Lee who took his chances when they were presented to him and pulled of another fantastic victory winning the next three frames.
The scoreline may have seemed harsh on Robertson who more than played his part in the final but just could not take the opportunities available to him.
This is very much a deserved winning title for Lee who reached the final of the Haikou World Open earlier this month and reached the semi-finals of the German Masters in February – losing to eventual winner Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The fact Lee has beaten Robertson 4-0 and world-number-one Mark Selby by the same scoreline in the quarter finals shows he is in the form of his life and will no doubt want to take it on a further step in the upcoming China Open and the World Championships starting next month.
After the game Lee, 37, said he was delighted his hard work to return to the top elite of the game is starting to earn its rewards.
“I didn’t let Neil get going, and in these short matches if you don’t settle in the first couple of frames then you can lose 4-0,” Lee, told World Snooker. “It’s a cracking feeling, it makes all the hard work and travelling worthwhile.
“A big thanks goes to Barry Hearn because he’s got all the lads buzzing about the game again. I knew I was good enough, I just couldn’t cope with playing six tournaments a year. There was so much pressure on every event and it was a horrible feeling.
“The game is in a great situation now and I just wish I was ten years younger. I’ve got the belief in myself back and I’ve beaten top players which is very satisfying. I appreciate it more now I’m older.”