BARRY Hawkins began his title defence of the Australian Open with an impressive 5-1 victory against Dechawat Poomjaeng.
Last season’s World Championship runner-up was in impressive form on the opening day of the competition in Bendigo as four breaks of 50+ saw him ease to the last 16 against the Thai potter.
Wuxi Classic winner and world number one Neil Robertson, playing in his native Australia, recorded a comfortable 5-1 win over Marcus Campbell as breaks of 71 and 102 saw him through to the second round.
Stuart Bingham, who won this competition two years ago, also had no problem making it through to the next stage after he beat Noppon Saengkham 5-1.
Elsewhere on day one, Jamie Cope came back from behind to defeat Martin Gould in a thrilling first round clash. Gould looked a strong favourite at 4-3 up but Cope stormed back in style as breaks of 73 and 96 turned the match his way.
Leicester’s Tom Ford battled to a 5-3 win against Welshman Ryan Day and Zhang Anda reached the last 16 stage of a major competition for the first time after beating Andrew Higginson 5-1.
The opening day’s wildcard matches saw World Championship quarter-finalist Michael White book his place in the first round proper after beating Australian Shaun Dalitz 5-0 and Mike Dunn ended the hopes of Steve Misfud as he came back from 3-1 down to win a final frame shootout.
Tuesday sees the likes of Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and Ricky Walden take to the baize as they look to avoid first round exits.