WORLD champion Stuart Bingham was left stunned as a superb comeback from Fergal O’Brien meant he suffered an early exit in the Australian Open.
The newly crowned Crucible King looked on course for victory when he took a 4-2 lead over the Irishman, needing just one more frame to seal his place in the next round of the season’s first major ranking event.
But O’Brien had other ideas as he completed an impressive turnaround with successive breaks of 128, 66 and 88 to knock out the world champion and former winner of this event four years ago.
Despite representing England in the Snooker World Cup, the match was Bingham’s first of any major note – ranking wise – since beating Shaun Murphy 18-15 in the World Championship final back in May.
The opening day of the Australian Open in Bendigo saw defending champion Judd Trump begin his defence in style as he thrashed good friend Jack Lisowski 5-0.
Trump, who beat Neil Robertson in the final here twelve months ago, looked in impressive form making breaks of 114, 102 and 69.
WATCH – Judd Trump beats Jack Lisowski in Australian Open 2015
There were also first round wins for Scottish pair John Higgins and Stephen Maguire as they continued their good start to the campaign after they paired up to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup earlier this month.
Higgins beat England’s Michael Georgiou 5-2 and Maguire whitewashed Joel Walker 5-0.
World number 89 Ian Burns upset the odds with an impressive 5-3 win over China’s Xiao Guodong and Ricky Walden beat Andrew Higginson by the same score.
The home crowd had reason to cheer when Australian amateur Adrian Ridley earned a place in the first round proper with a 5-3 win over last season’s Welsh Open finalist Ben Woollaston. Riley will next face Robert Milkins.
Tuesday’s action sees home favourite Neil Robertson take to the table against Matthew Selt and world number 1 Mark Selby faces Mark King.