The World Snooker Tour descends on Llandudno next week for the sixth running of the BetVictor Scottish Open, with the Stephen Hendry Trophy once again up for grabs.
Tickets remain available for you to be at the Venue Cymru from December 6th to 12th. Click here to buy yours now.
Since the inaugural event in 2016, we have seen supreme snooker, capitulations, near misses, jubilation and high drama. Here is a look back at the first five Scottish Open finals.
2016 – Marco Fu 9-4 John Higgins
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu produced a blistering display of break building to win the first Scottish Open and deny Wishaw’s John Higgins what would have been an emotional victory on home turf.
Throughout the tournament Fu compiled an impressive 11 century breaks, as well as 21 further contributions over 50.
However, it was four-time Crucible king Higgins who started fastest in the title match, firing in three consecutive centuries to charge into a 3-0 lead. Fu responded with a ton of his own to make it 3-1 at the mid-session, in what was an extraordinary start to the encounter at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.
When they returned Higgins managed to stretch his lead by taking the fifth to move into a 4-1 advantage, but that would be the last frame he’d register in the final. An imperious run of eight successive frames from Fu saw him ease to the title with a 9-4 win and secure his third ranking event victory.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Fu. “To beat John in Glasgow is one of the biggest wins of my career. It was a great occasion and I managed to play some good match snooker. It’s a dream come true. I was fearing the worst at 3-0 down because the way John was playing was very difficult to contain. I was guessing I was going to be 7-1 down after the first session, I would have even taken 6-2. I was over the moon at 4-4, those three frames I won from 4-1 down were the most important part of the match.”
2017 – Neil Robertson 9-8 Cao Yupeng
Having dropped out of the world’s top 16 and missed out on the cut off for Masters qualification just a week earlier, Neil Robertson returned to snooker’s elite tier seven days too late by winning the most dramatic of Scottish Open finals.
The Thunder from Down Under faced a huge deficit when he trailed Chinese counterpart Cao Yupeng 8-4. However, he mounted an improbable fightback to turn the match around.
After 2010 World Champion Robertson clawed his way back to 8-7, there was an extraordinary 16th frame. Cao looked set to clinch the title by clearing the colours, before missing a straightforward pink. He had another chance on the final black, but jawed it and the ball remained over the pocket to allow Robertson to set up a decider.
The Triple Crown winner showed his mettle by firing in a break of 59 under extreme pressure. He eventually crossed the line to take home the title and the Stephen Hendry Trophy.
Robertson said: “I can’t remember being involved in too many finals like that, where I had to come from so far behind. I was millimetres from losing with Cao rattling the black.
“I started to notice some nerves and jitters in his cue action and I was super aggressive the next few frames. It was all out attack to put him under pressure.
“He just completely outplayed me for a lot of the match. Up to 8-4 it was one of the best performances ever against me He played as the underdog and was free flowing with no pressure. I was expecting some of the mistakes he made at the end to come at the start of the match.”
2018 – Mark Allen 9-7 Shaun Murphy
Mark Allen defeated close friend Shaun Murphy in an enthralling contest to pick up the fifth of his six career ranking titles to date.
The match had looked set to go all the way to a decider, before Murphy miscued on 29 while among the balls at 8-7 down. Allen pounced and went about compiling a match winning break.
He was on 50 with one red left when his attempted pink to a centre pocket hit the jaws and stayed out, but it rolled diagonally across the table and dropped into a baulk corner. The Northern Irishman made the most of his good fortune and completed a clearance of 83 to take home the title.
The victory capped off a superb year for the Pistol, who had already won the Masters and the International Championship in 2018. He was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the UK Championship just a week prior to his victory in Glasgow.
“As the match went on, I got stronger. At 7-6 down I produced some good snooker,” said Allen. “Shaun will probably rue a few missed chances, as his long game was ridiculously good today. He created a lot of good opportunities which he didn’t quite convert into frame winning chances.”
2019 – Mark Selby 9-6 Jack Lisowski
Mark Selby became the first player to win two Home Nations events in a single season after a hard fought win over Jack Lisowski.
The Jester from Leicester had already won the English Open earlier in the campaign, when he stormed to a 9-1 defeat of David Gilbert in the title match.
It was the first time that Selby had ever competed in the Scottish Open, having previously elected to miss the event with it coming off the back of the UK Championship. His decision to play was vindicated when he beat the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Gilbert to reach the final.
Lisowski was playing in his third ranking final and seeking a maiden title. Unfortunately, having now competed in six ranking finals, he is yet to pick up his first professional silverware.
Selby came into the evening session leading 5-3, but Gloucestershire’s Lisowski who edged his way back into the tie to trail by one at 6-5. There was then a marathon 12th frame, which included a period of 26 minutes without a pot, that Selby secured in 48 minutes to move 7-5 up.
That proved to be a crucial moment as he won two of the next three frames to convert his 9-6 victory.
Selby said: “It feels amazing. I had a disappointing performance at the UK Championship, I was telling myself I might not even play in this. I thought I should just get back on the bike and go again. Here I am now holding the trophy, unbelievable really.
“I knew I had to be on my game from the word go. Jack was never going to hold back from start to finish. Even right to the end he kept going for his shots. He didn’t shy away from anything. He is probably one of the best talents I’ve seen since Ronnie O’Sullivan. He hits the ball as well as anyone. It is only a matter of time before he wins something.”
2020 – Mark Selby 9-3 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Mark Selby continued his undefeated run by winning the event for a second consecutive time, in only his second appearance.
With the World Snooker Tour forced behind closed doors the event was moved to Milton Keynes, where it was played out in a strictly regulated environment to protect against Covid-19.
Selby faced a familiar foe in the form of 37-time ranking event winner Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final. The pair had crossed cues months earlier in an epic World Championship semi-final, which O’Sullivan won 17-16.
Victory for Selby on this occasion saw him reduce his deficit in the head-to-head standings to 16-11.
It was O’Sullivan’s second final loss of the season. He would go on to be runner-up in five events throughout the campaign and fail to secure any silverware. It was also O’Sullivan’s heaviest defeat in a ranking final since losing 9-2 to John Higgins at the 2005 Grand Prix.
It was a dominant performance from Selby, who led 6-2 after the first session and picked up three of the next four frames when play resumed to seal the title. He compiled breaks of 56, 102, 62, 50, 77, 78, 51, 61 and 76 on his way to victory.
“To win any tournament is fantastic, but when you are going back as defending champion, it is always nice to try and win it again,” said Selby. “You never want to go out early as a defending champion. Thankfully for me, I’ve managed to come here and do a good job.
“I am a perfectionist and if I’m not doing something right, then I get down on myself. I’m always striving to get better. I’m not getting any younger, but as long as you are healthy then you can try to improve. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
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