World number 27 O’Brien played brilliant snooker in the last three frames
Stuart Bingham’s first ranking event match as World Champion ended in a 5-4 defeat to Fergal O’Brien at the Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo.
Bingham claimed the world title for the first time last month, but has made a slow start to the new season. He was part of the England team which failed to make the knock-out phase of the recent World Cup in China, and has now suffered an early exit in the opening ranking event of the 2015/16 campaign.
Bingham, who won this title in 2011, led 4-2 before Irishman O’Brien stormed back to win the last three frames with top breaks of 128, 66 and 88.
“It’s a great win, from 4-2 down I found a nice groove and I’m delighted with the way I finished,” said O’Brien, who now meets John Higgins in the last 16 on Thursday. “At 4-2 you’re only one mistake away from losing, but when I got chances I felt full of confidence.”
Four-time World Champion Higgins saw off Michael Georgiou 5-2 with a top break of 83.
“I should have been 3-1 down at the interval so I was delighted to be 2-2 and I played well after that,” said Higgins.
Defending champion Judd Trump eased to a 5-0 win over Jack Lisowski, knocking in breaks of 114, 50, 102 and 69.
“I played some good stuff today,” said Trump, who beat Neil Robertson in last year’s final.
The conditions are always good here and I enjoy playing here. It’s a long way to come but the conditions are perfect and I put in a lot of preparation. It was important for me to come back and try to win it again.
Australian wild card Adrian Ridley sprung a surprise with a 5-3 victory over world number 32 Ben Woollaston.
Ridley, from Yarrawonga, came from 2-1 down to lead 4-2. He lost the seventh frame but then clinched victory on the black in the eighth.
“It’s a fantastic feeling, though I know Ben wasn’t at his best and it’s tough for the players who have travelled a long way here,” said Ridley, who now meets Robert Milkins in the last 32. “Hopefully I won’t be as nervous in my next match, I’m just happy to have another match and I’ll be aiming to give Rob a run for his money.”
The other wild card, Ben Judge, lost 5-0 to Matthew Selt, who compiled runs of 90, 91, 56 and 94.
Ricky Walden came from 2-0 down to beat Andrew Higginson 5-3 with a top break of 54 while Stephen Maguire top scored with 58 in a 5-0 whitewash of Joel Walker.
John Higgins came good after the interval