JORDAN Brown says his stunning Welsh Open triumph has made all his sacrifices worthwhile as he reflects on causing one of snooker’s greatest ever upsets, writes Paul Martin.
The world No.81 was a 750-1 outsider when he arrived in Newport but shocked six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in a thrilling final at Celtic Manor, taking the deciding frame with a break of 74 to win 9-8.
Brown, the lowest-placed winner of a ranking tournament since 1993, has flown up to 45 in the world following his fairytale run and becomes the fourth Northern Irishman to win a ranking title after Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Mark Allen.
"I always believed in myself,” he said. “I had some dark days in my snooker life but that makes you a stronger person.
“All of those sacrifices and hard work; I was working in the petrol station and playing full-time snooker as well.
“Five years I said I would give it a proper go because I had never really committed myself before that. It's all paying off now.
“It’s a very proud moment as I’m a very proud Northern Irishman. To follow in the footsteps of those who have won ranking events – Alex, Dennis and my good pal Mark – it’s a dream come true to be part of that history.
“It’s going to lead to bigger and better things. I’ve made my mark on the snooker world now and accomplished what I felt I was capable of. It won’t stop there.”
Brown was assured from the outset against the Rocket and took a 5-3 lead into the evening session.
The Antrim potter kept his composure amid an O’Sullivan fightback and came through his fourth decider of the week to deny the world No.3 a record-equalling fifth Welsh Open crown.
“Ronnie is the greatest of all time and it's an honour just to play him,” Brown said.
“If I’d have played Ronnie the player, instead of the table, I’d have been beaten today as he’s so good and can steamroller you.
“I just had to concentrate on my game. If you take your chances it doesn’t matter who is in the other chair.”
Brown earns £70,000 from lifting the Ray Reardon Trophy and will now take part in this week’s Players Championship in Milton Keynes.
“Financially, it’s life-changing,” he said. “It will take a while to sink in but it’s only a stepping stone.”
“Hopefully this is the start of big things. I’ve proved I can play and I feel I belong here.”