LIVERPUDLIAN Rod Lawler is this season’s UK PTC 3 champion after battling his way to beat Marco Fu in the final in Gloucester.
It is the 41-year-old’s first world ranking title since turning professional 22 years ago and he captured his highest achievement of the game with a break of 69 to seal a 4-2 win against the Hong Kong star.
Lawler’s success in Gloucester this weekend is a something of a remarkable achievement given the fact he dropped off the tour last season and had to qualify via Q School to return to the main circuit.
The world number 65 enjoyed his best days during the mid 1990s when he reached the last 16 of the 1995 World Championship and made the final of the International Open the following year.
Lawler, who beat Dominic Dale 4-0 in the semi-final, started where he left off with a century break of 114 to give him the opening frame.
But Fu, who certainly earned his way into the event final beating Stephen Maguire, Mark Williams, Ali Carter, Ricky Walden and Shaun Murphy, levelled the contest winning a scrappy second frame.
Lawler then regained the lead winning a long third frame before Fu pulled level again with a century break of 102. At 2-2 the final was well poised.
But the same patterned continued with Lawler winning frame five to take the lead for the third time. Trailing 16-48 Fu fouled twice hitting the pink when aiming for a red which cost him twelve points as Lawler took a 3-2 lead and was one away from glory.
The sixth frame saw a scrappy opening but when Fu let Lawler in, the veteran took full advantage to pull of a brilliant win at the South West Snooker Academy.
Lawler’s win means he is virtually sure of a place in the PTC Grand Finals to be held in March next year and took home a prize of £10,000 and 2,000 ranking points.
And make no mistake this title is no one-off, Lawler has been in superb form throughout the season. Since qualifying from School Lawler reached the last 16 of the Wuxi Classic after beating Stephen Maguire in the first round.
The next UK PTC event will take place in November and will be the last one to be held at Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy.