Luca Brecel became snooker’s first lock-down champion as he claimed the Championship League title in Milton Keynes on Thursday.
The behind-closed-doors event had featured 64 players battling it out across an initial 16 groups at the Marshall Arena, but it was Brecel who came through the field to clinch the £30,000 title.
The world number 37 retained the only unbeaten record in the competition, drawing six and winning three of his nine matches in total.
He began the Finals Group in dream fashion, thrashing 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham 3-0 with breaks of 105 and 106 in the process.
The 2017 China Championship winner was then held to a 2-2 draw by Ryan Day – who produced a break of 105 in the final frame.
The fate of the title came down to the final frame of the final match as Brecel planted a sensational break of 111 to deny Ben Woollaston and secure the point he needed to top the table and lift the trophy.
“It’s unbelievable really,” Brecel told ITV Sport. “That last frame was probably the biggest test of my career because Ben was playing so well.
“To win a title is just amazing, I’m over the moon.
“Most of the time I’m pretty cool under pressure but this time I was very nervous, I was shaking on every shot.
“As soon as I got to 56 I knew I wasn’t going to miss anymore, but before that was a struggle. It maybe didn’t look like it, but it was.
“What made the final more special was knowing the winner would get into the Champion of Champions, it’s a massive bonus for me and I’m really looking forward to that already.”
Brecel entered his decisive clash with Woollaston needing just two frames to secure top spot and moved halfway there courtesy of a break of 67 in the opener.
Woollaston, however, responded in superb fashion, capitalising on a fluked pink to make a 141 clearance before adding a 126 in the following frame to set up a grandstand finish.
Brecel, though, hit back in clinical fashion with a century of his own, sealing the deal in style with a break of 111.
The victory guarantees him a place in November’s Champion of Champions at the same venue and ends a three-year title drought.
Woollaston was narrowly denied his first televised title, having notably finished runner-up in the 2015 Welsh Open.
Competitive snooker continues at the same venue from June 20-26 with the Tour Championship, featuring the top eight players on the one-year ranking list.
Championship League Snooker 2020 Results
Thursday June 11
Stuart Bingham 0-3 Luca Brecel
Ryan Day 1-3 Ben Woollaston
Ryan Day 2-2 Luca Brecel
Stuart Bingham 3-1 Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham 2-2 Ryan Day
Luca Brecel 2-2 Ben Woollaston