Ranked 81st in the world at the time, Brown caused one of the greatest upsets in snooker history in February when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 in the Welsh Open final to land his first pro title. He had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event.
Brown was unable to build on that victory in the tail end of the season as he lost in the opening round of the Cazoo Players Championship and Gibraltar Open, then suffered a 6-5 reverse against Steven Hallworth in his first qualifying match at the Betfred World Championship.
“I was disappointed to finish the season that way and it’s up to me now to show that the Welsh Open wasn’t a one-off,” said the 33-year-old Northern Irishman. “I have to back it up with consistent performances and results. My form felt good going into the world qualifiers but I didn’t produce that on the day.
“I would love to win another tournament but my main goal is to reach more quarter and semi-finals and put myself in that position. There is no reason why I can’t win more. I have shown that I can do it, and to win a title by beating Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire and Ronnie O’Sullivan – it doesn’t come any tougher than that. It’s good to know in my mind that I can beat them.”
Brown finished 13th on the one-year ranking list last season which put him 40th in the official rankings. “I’m in a very healthy position because I have no points to defend next season, as I’m on the second year of a two-year tour card,” he said. “But I need to build on that because there will come a time when I lose those Welsh Open points. I can only look ahead.
“After the World Championship I took a break of around five weeks. I really needed that because the whole season is very tiring, especially for players who live outside England – there’s so much travelling back and forth. And then the Welsh Open took a lot out of me. So it was great to take it easy for a while. I started practising again last week and I’m really excited now about next season.”
Brown, who worked in a petrol station for several years before turning pro, earned over £100,000 last season, by far his most successful campaign. He is now in the process of buying a house in Portrush with girlfriend Catherine.
“I have always been very wise and sensible with money,” he said. “It has been great to have something in the bank, it really takes the pressure off. The last thing you want is pound signs flashing before your eyes while you are playing matches. I’ll be living in Portrush but still heading down to Antrim to practise.”
Portrush is home to one of the world’s most famous golf courses which hosted the Open in 2019. “I recently took up golf again having not played it for 17 years,” added Brown. “That course might be too tough for me but there are plenty of others around. I love playing as it’s the perfect way to relax away from snooker.”
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