Stephen Maguire holds nerve to beat Mark Allen in Coral Tour Championship final
Late replacement Stephen Maguire held his nerve to beat Mark Allen 10-6 in the final of Coral Tour Championship in Milton Keynes and banked a pay-cheque in excess of £250,000.
Maguire, who was only called up to the event after Ding Junhui withdrew due to travel restrictions, not only picked up the £150,000 first prize but also a £100,000 bonus for topping the Coral Tour rankings, and the £10,000 highest break prize.
Reflecting on his first ranking title win in seven years, Maguire said: “Honestly I was just thinking about the title. I was trying not to think about the money – it’s a hell of a lot of money to win in one week.
“It’s a massive tournament and I was gutted I wasn’t in it at the start, so to get that call-up and to be part of the tournament was good enough. When I came down here winning the title hadn’t entered my mind.”
Three days after being branded an underachiever by Judd Trump prior to their semi-final clash, Maguire made a sluggish start and was fortunate to finish the afternoon session level at 4-4.
But a 139 total clearance got the evening session off to a flyer and stole the highest break prize from Trump, whom Maguire would also deny the £100,000 jackpot that the world number one was still in line to pocket had Allen won.
Reflecting on Trump’s comments, Maguire shrugged: “I talk to maybe five or six players on the tour and count them as friends, and anyone else, I couldn’t care less what they say.
“It doesn’t spur me on, I just kind of laugh and I think to myself, why don’t players just keep their mouths shut, as it just puts extra pressure on themselves.”
The pair split the next two frames before Maguire took his chance to extend his lead to 7-5 after Allen jawed a red to the middle on a break of 36.
Maguire moved to the brink of victory at 9-5 but Allen, showing a glimpse of the form that had seen him hammer Mark Selby 9-2 in their semi-final, responded with a break of 107 – narrowly missing a highest break of his own.
In what turned out to be a marathon final frame, Maguire got the better of a lengthy safety exchange with a brave pink setting him up to complete by far the most lucrative win of his career.
“If I’d lost that frame I was fearing the worst,” admitted Maguire. “I thought I’d won it three or four times, and I just couldn’t get over the line. When I potted that pink, it was just relief.”