Anthony McGill wins dramatic Snooker shoot-out to earn valuable ranking points

With high profile names such as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Judd Trump all choosing to sit out the series of one-frame matches, the tournament was blown open to the rest of the 128 competitors. It was to be Anthony McGill who took his opportunity after defeating Xiao Guodong, but whether the 42nd seed from China should have made the final two in the first place was a bone of controversy.

Big names fall in early stages

With ten minute matches consisting of one frame and a 15-second shot clock reducing to ten-seconds midway through the match, the Shoot-Out has been criticised by some because of it's differentiation from the usual ranking tournaments. The idea behind the system is to bring in more spectators, though there were still a number of spare seats across the three days despite the raucous atmosphere created by the 'yellow brigade'.

A number of top names dropped out in the opening round, with top ten seeds Mark Allen, Joe Perry, Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham all being dismissed at the first hurdle. Meanwhile five amateurs progressed, though Joshua Thomond could be considered unfortunate or careless as he lost out to Michael Holt when he potted the cue ball with his final shot.

Player attire is another change for the competition (photo: Getty Images)
Player attire is another change for the competition (photo: Getty Images)

A duo of familiar names and a pair of unfamiliar ones continue their march

The random nature of the competition continued into round two as Barry Hawkins, Ricky Walden, Liang Wenbo and Mark Williams all lost to players outside the top 70 on a fast table cloth. It left only Shaun Murphy and McGill as the only top ten seeds left into the competition.

McGill came through a tough random draw against Mark King in round three, whilst amateurs Andy Hicks and Steven Hallworth progressed alongside number 103 seed Cao Yupeng.

The quarter-finals was then given a somewhat more familiar feel as three recent major ranking tournament winners in Murphy, McGill and Anthony Hamilton all continued their quest. Yet they were joined by the pair of amateurs Hicks and Hallworth as they progressed towards their dream across a thrilling weekend of action.

Controversy reigns before McGill seals his second success

Yet it was during the quarter-finals that a controversial moment tainted the competition. Fans in the front row known as the 'yellow brigade' had been vocal throughout the tournament whenever someone went to pot the two-point ball. Yet with Guodong holding a six-point lead it transpired that he had struck the cue ball after the shot clock had run out. His opponent David Gilbert should have been awarded ball in hand and four points but the referee admitted that he had not heard the buzzer as Guodong continued the break that saw him through to the semi-finals.

Murphy and McGill joined Guodong after defeating David Grace and Hamilton respectively, whilst Hicks won the battle of the amateurs as he moved two wins away from an unlikely tournament victory.

Yet Guodong was to end Hicks' run in the semi-finals with a composed break of 59, before McGill defeated Murphy in a high scoring contest. The Scotsman then completed his second major ranking tournament success as a break of 67 added to his 2016 Indian Open victory with a 67-19 win over the number 42 seed from China.

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