Stephen Maguire has set himself the challenge of rapidly adding to his trophy haul after ending a five-year wait to win a ranking event title at the BetVictor Welsh Open.
The Scot showed tremendous nerve and character to take the £50,000 first prize in Newport on Sunday night as he battled back from 7-5 down to eventually prevail 9-8 after a final-frame shoot-out with Stuart Bingham.
Maguire’s last title had come at the China Open in 2008, since when he has lost three finals, including in Wales in 2011. Victory in Wales sets the 31-year-old Glaswegian up nicely for the World Championship, but Maguire is not looking too far ahead, instead wanting to add another victory to his tally before heading to the Crucible in April. “I feel great now and I will feel great for the next few days. But I have another tournament coming up in China very soon and I want to be able to push on from here,” he said.
“I don’t want it to be five years before I win another trophy, that was too long and I was starting to doubt if I would ever do it again. Now I am back in the winner’s enclosure it is very important I push on. I want to make sure I do not lose touch with the boys who have been winning tournaments. There have been guys winning tournaments who I think I am better than and it was hurting me. A lot can happen between now and the World Championship, there are three tournaments and I would like to win another trophy.
“This year’s World Championship is wide open but it does not get better than winning a tournament, particularly as it is getting harder every year.”
Maguire was particularly pleased with the resolve he showed with the final apparently slipping away from him.
There were moments during the 12th and 13th frames where he looked a beaten man, sitting in his chair with his head in his hands, but he bounced back up off the canvas. “I was very pleased with the way I finished the match, especially after I let him get back to 8-8 after I had been leading 8-7, at that point I thought I had let it go,” he said.
“I had to have a few words with myself and I was chuffed to get the chance to win it and make it count.”