Maguire savours winning feeling
Stephen Maguire admitted he had forgotten what winning felt like after he ended his wait for a ranking event title by holding his nerve to take a final-frame decider against Stuart Bingham in the BetVictor Welsh Open final in Newport.
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Maguire, the world number six, had led 4-2 at one point during the afternoon session, only for Bingham to hit back by winning five of the next six frames to lead 7-5.
Maguire dug deep and won a critical 13th frame where his opponent missed a shot to move within one of victory, and went on to take an 8-7 advantage.
Bingham, who won the last two frames to win his semi-final against Ding Junhui, set up a decider but Maguire's 82 sealed a 9-8 success and his fifth career title.
Maguire's previous title had come at the China Open in 2008 and the 31-year-old was delighted to have ended the wait.
"I forgot what it felt like to be the winner at the end of the tournament, so it is the best feeling ever really," he said.
"I thought I had thrown that away when I let Stuart back in at 8-7 and that would have really hurt if I had lost that one in a decider."
And the Scotsman believes his busy schedule over the course of the season played a factor in his success in south Wales, which was well-timed with the World Championship fast approaching.
"I don't know why it clicked for me this week," he said. "But I have been playing snooker non-stop since the New Year and I have played so many great players in the last three months, maybe I am just match sharp, but whatever it is I hope I can keep my finger on it.
"It is nice boost leading up to the World Championship in a couple of months, but there are three tournaments before then and if I can get my name on another trophy I would take it in a minute."
Bingham, who was looking for his first ranking event success on British soil, eventually came up short, having come out on top in similar situations against Ding and Neil Robertson earlier in the week.
And the Essex player was left to reflect on two key moments he felt had cost him victory.
In the 13th frame Bingham looked on course to move 8-5 ahead, but his attempt to snooker his opponent resulted in the blue finding the middle pocket via a double and left him tight behind the pink.
Bingham missed the resulting pot, and Maguire stepped in to start his revival - and the Englishman later missed a plant he felt was sure to drop.
"I had a shot where I flicked the blue and then I missed an easy pink and in the next frame I bounced the blue off the spot. I felt today I threw it away a bit really," he said.
"To clear up to go to 8-8, I thought the writing was on the wall, but I cannot believe I missed that plant.
"Normally when I go for a plant it is dead set, but it has been a great week. Some of the matches I have come through have been excellent but congratulations to Stephen."