With the season the Essex professional has had, it is possible with victories in next week’s China Open – which now has the biggest pay cheque outside the world championship – and in Sheffield, the Rocket could overcome Mark Selby’s huge gap on the money list rankings.
Last week in Wales, O’Sullivan was in good form to overcome Judd Trump in a nail-biting final frame win, whilst Murphy, playing with a sore neck all week, managed to overcome Mark Williams in the other semi-final.
Murphy’s win over O’Sullivan in the Champion of Champions final back in November, seemed to kickstart O’Sullivan’s season, as he went off to win the Shanghai Masters and gain revenge over the Magician with a UK Championship final win in December.
The final last week was no different. O’Sullivan, managed to get a 6-3 lead as neither player hit top form, and went onto to take the title in the evening session with the loss of one frame.
O’Sullivan who took a cheque for £125,000 couldn’t explain why he was playing the best snooker of his career but did attribute it to ‘focus.’ “I’ve played some pretty good stuff over the past years, but this year, I really have focused on match snooker and the results have come. I’m delighted to pick up some more silverware.”
O’Sullivan who is now just three shy of Hendry’s record of 33 ranking titles, also joined the Scotsman and Mark Selby in winning 5 tournaments in one season.
The China Open begins next week – Live on Eurosport TV.