TEENAGE Musselburgh snooker star Ross Muir will play on World Snooker’s Professional Tour next season after sensationally qualifying this weekend from Q School at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
The 17-year-old, who only two weeks ago became Scottish Amateur Champion, had already won three matches on Thursday and Friday and needed two more wins on Saturday to earn his professional status.
The former Musselburgh High School pupil started well against England’s Mitchell Mann, winning the opening two frames, but Mann made breaks of 66 and 68 to level the match before winning the fifth on the black to lead 3-2. Muir quickly got over losing the fifth frame, comfortably winning the sixth before making a break of 70 to win the match.
The reward for that fine victory was a clash against Ireland’s former professional David Morris, who had already made five century breaks in the event. Muir again started well, winning two close opening frames before winning the third comfortably to leave himself on the verge of securing his ticket to the pro circuit. Muir then didn’t let the opportunity slip by making a break of 76 to win the match and achieve his dream.
Muir said: “The competition was really tough and I had to be at the top of my game this week. I gained a lot of confidence after winning the Scottish amateur and my opening result in the first Q school event and I knew if I kept up my performance level I wouldn’t be too far away.”
Muir’s has become the third Scot in the last 12 months to join the World Snooker Professional Tour after Bonnyrigg’s Michael Leslie and Perth’s Scott Donaldson joined last season after winning the European Under 21 and European Amateur Championships.
Leith’s Chris Small, who reached a career high No. 12 in the world rankings and is now focusing on a career in coaching, said: “It has been a terrific 12 months for Scottish snooker with three of the top young Scottish players making it on to the tour. It is an amazing achievement by Ross at just 17 years old.
“I knew he wasn’t far away from making it professional, but I thought he maybe needed at least another 12 months as an amateur but would definitely benefit from the experience of Q School.
“However, he has done the business against some very good players, so congratulations to him.”
Muir does not have long to celebrate his win. Qualifying for the main tour means that he has had to withdraw from the European Amateur Championships next week in Poland as his first event as a pro will be next Monday.
Muir added: “It is hard to believe that on Saturday I was still an amateur and in just over a week I will be playing in my first professional tournament. To now be competing on tour against some of my idols is a dream come true for me.
“I will take a few days off now to recharge and will get back on the practice table and work my socks off.”