Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, snooker’s fastest player, won his first ranking title by beating Michael Holt in the final of the BetVictor Shoot Out.
Bangkok’s 33-year-old Un-Nooh became the only Thai player other than James Wattana to win a ranking title with a stunning display of natural talent at Watford Colosseum. The world number 53 made the highest break in the eight-year history of the Shoot Out, 139, in the semi-finals to beat Jamie Clarke, then scored a quick-fire 74 in the final to earn the £32,000 top prize.
The tournament has a unique format with all matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five. That suited Un-Nooh’s game as his average shot time of under 17 seconds is the fastest on the tour. He had never previously been beyond the last 16 of the event, but this time his game clicked.
Un-Nooh turned pro in 2009 and had never previously played in a ranking final. He won the invitational Six Red World Championship in 2015 in his native Thailand, but to join the circle of players to have won a ranking title is surely his proudest moment. He climbs 12 places to 41st in the world.
Holt, age 40 from Nottingham, was also seeking his first ranking title, having played in one final before. He made an excellent break of 56 to beat Michael White from 21-0 down in the semi-finals. But a loose safety shot early in the final gave his opponent a chance, and a few minutes later the match was over. World number 46 Holt earns £16,000.
Un-Nooh said: “I am so proud of myself. I have worked hard and have been looking to win this tournament. I told myself I could win this event many years ago. I haven’t been close before, but this format is perfect for me. I can easily play with ten or 15 seconds. That is normal for me.
“It has been a long time since James Wattana was the last player from Thailand to win a ranking title. I hope that this helps to make snooker more popular in Thailand. It would be good if this helps the Thai association to encourage more young players in the future.
“The 139 break was fantastic and very important in terms of my career. It was my best ever break. To do it in only six minutes was brilliant. I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”