RONNIE O’Sullivan clinched a hat-trick of Welsh Open titles ten years after his first with a stunning 147 maximum break in the final frame.
The 12th maximum of his career in major championships, a new record, added an extra £12,000 to his £60,000 prize and put the perfect seal on a 9-3 demolition job on Ding Junhui at the Newport Centre.
The reigning world champion raced into a 7-1 lead in the afternoon session and survived a mini Ding fight back in the evening to regain the title he won in 2004 and 2005 in some style.
O’Sullivan has been the form player throughout the BetVictor Welsh Open, dropping just ten frames.
And the finale, potting the final black left-handed, was the perfect send-off for the tournament’s life in Newport, with next year’s event set to move to Cardiff.
“I thought it was on when I was on about 48,” said O’Sullivan of his 147.
“Then I thought just concentrate on winning the match but when I got to 60 or 70 I had to go for it.
“I made 11 right-handed so I went for this one with my left and I got it. I’m happy with that.
“The fans have been awesome,” he added. “It’s one of my favourite venues of all the venues we play at. I love coming here.
“It’s a shame it’s not going to be here next year. We’re going to Cardiff and Cardiff’s alright but it’s not a patch on this venue.
“I want to thank all the fans who supported me here over the years and congratulate Ding as well. He’s had a fantastic season.
“I just hope that once I start slowing down he dominates because he’s a great guy and he plays the game as it should be played.
“So enjoy him, he’s a fantastic talent. I just hit form today.”
Ding, who started the evening session with breaks of 109 and 121 to pull it back to 7-3, was full of praise for his record-breaking opponent.
“Ronnie punished my mistakes and he played better than me,” said the 26-year-old from Yixing.
“It was great to play in a final with Ronnie and he can make a 147 any time he wants.
“I knew from the first black that he could do it and he did it.
“People love to watch Ronnie and he is a fantastic player.
“I’ve had a good season and I hope I get more experience from this for next time and win more ranking titles.”