Stephen Maguire was only at the Tour Championship because Ding Junhui pulled out, but he is going to enjoy his ‘fluked’ victory after downing Mark Allen 10-6 in Friday’s final.
The Scot was number nine on the one-year ranking list, but after Ding decided not to travel to the UK over safety concerns, Maguire took his place and knocked out the top two players in the world, Neil Robertson and Judd Trump, to reach the final.
There he saw off Allen, notching the tournament high break of 139 in the process.
The victory saw him claim the £150,000 winner’s prize, £100,000 bonus for winning the Coral Cup (amounting the most prize money over the World Grand Prix, Players Championship and Tour Championship) and the £10,000 high break prize for that superb 139.
Maguire could scarcely believe his achievement, given the circumstances and the fact he has not won a ranking event since the 2013 Welsh Open, but he is delighted to end that drought.
‘To win this tournament, with the best players in the world, over a longer format is unreal. It is amazing that I am the last man standing,’ said Maguire.
‘I was all over the place at the end. I thought I’d win it half an hour before that. I had a couple of chances and things would just go wrong. I was just glad I got a shot at that pink. If it was anywhere near a bag, I was going to go for it.
‘I felt good about potting it. I landed alright on the black and the rest was history.
‘It’s scary, it has definitely not sunk in yet. The amount of money this tournament has paid is incredible. It is a hell of a lot of money for five days of work.’
Maguire climbs to world number nine after this success and will go into the World Championship, which begins on 31 July, with some serious momentum behind him.
‘If I’m not confident going into any tournament after that then there is something wrong with me,’ he said. ‘I’ll go back, take a few days off and look forward to practising for Sheffield.
‘I actually don’t know what to say because I wasn’t good enough to be here. I managed to fluke my way to the title.
‘I think over the last few years I just accepted that I wouldn’t win a tournament again and it has kind of eased my expectations.
‘I better not get carried away because I’ve won one trophy, but it is a great feeling. It’s unreal.’
The 39 year old Glaswegian has also picked up the World Cup, with John Higgins for Scotland, and the Six-red World Championship this season, but the Tour Championship title has now become the highlight.
He’s not going to go wild with the huge prize money, though, with his sights set on shoes and socks.
‘I’ve had a great season. This tops it off. I can’t have any more confidence before Sheffield. I’m really excited about it,’ the champion continued.
‘I think everyone is after socks and shoes, we’ll get some stuff like that.’
As for Allen, he walks away with £60,000 and having secured good wins over Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby to reach the final, where he admits he wasn’t good enough.
‘I made too many mistakes today,’ said the Pistol. ‘You can’t afford to do that in any final, never mind against Stephen when he is playing so well. He stepped it up tonight.
‘I felt I missed the boat, I should probably have been ahead after the first session. All credit to Stephen, he has been knocking on the door for a while now.
‘I am gutted to lose, but if I am going to lose to anyone, it is one of my best mates on tour. I am glad to see him win.’
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