Welsh Open Snooker: Information and a Potted History

Getty Images/Christopher Lee
Held every year since 1992, the Welsh Open is professional snooker's third longest-running ranking event, only behind the World Championship and UK Championship in terms of longevity.

The Welsh Open has always been open to all professional tour card holders. A plethora of the sport's greatest exponents have won the title, but the tournament has also provided career breakthroughs, with several players collecting their maiden ranking crown.

Since the 2016/17 campaign, the Welsh Open has been the fourth and final leg of the Home Nations Series with entrants aiming to lift The Ray Reardon Trophy - named in honour of Tredegar’s six-time world champion. At the first presentation of it in 2017, Reardon was there to hand over the trophy.

The Welsh Open is also currently part of the BetVictor European Series. In 2023 and 2024 it supplied the final event in that particular order of merit race.

Venues in Newport and Cardiff have hosted the Welsh Open, but its current home is the Venue Cymru in Llandudno. 

A tiered draw format was used for the event up until 2014 when it became a flat draw for all participating players (minus the occasional preliminary/wildcard round). However, in 2025, the event is set to change back to a tiered system.

Welsh Open Snooker: Most successful players, stats, stories, best finals 

There have been 19 different champions from the 33 Welsh Opens staged to date. 

With a record five titles to his name, John Higgins is the most successful player in Welsh Open snooker history. 

Having lost his first two final appearances in the event, Higgins came back from 8-6 down to oust Stephen Lee in the 2000 final before back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. 

‘The Wizard of Wishaw’ notched up titles four and five in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

Credit: Getty Images/Alex PantlingCredit: Getty Images/Alex Pantling
Credit: Getty Images/Alex Pantling | Getty Images/Alex Pantling

Ronnie O’Sullivan is one behind Higgins on the all-time list with four. He claimed his maiden Welsh crown in 2004 when he won the final four frames to deny Steve Davis, 9-8. O’Sullivan retained the title twelve months later with another deciding frame success, this time against Stephen Hendry. 

O’Sullivan famously made a maximum 147 break in the final frame of his 9-3 title match victory over Ding Junhui in 2014. Two years later, he strung together seven frames from 5-2 down to overhaul Neil Robertson in the final.

Several players have won their maiden ranking event titles at the Welsh Open such as future world champions Ken Doherty (1993) and Mark Williams, who was ranked 39 in the world when he became the first home soil champion in 1996. 

Williams defeated Stephen Hendry on the final pink to claim his second Welsh Open title in 1999, but he lost to Hendry in the showpiece match four years later. That was the last time a Welsh player appeared in the final. 

Another future Crucible king to taste ranking event glory for the first time at this competition was Mark Selby who turned an 8-5 deficit into a 9-8 win against Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2008. 

Aged just 19 and ranked number 43 in the world, Paul Hunter raised his first ranking event trophy in 1998. He collected a second Welsh accolade in 2002. 

Ali Carter (2009) and Jordan Brown (2021) are the other players to get their ranking breakthroughs in this historic event. 

Brown's memorable achievement was one of the most unexpected title victories in professional snooker history. During the behind closed doors event (due to the Covid-19 Pandemic), the Northern Irishman won deciding frames in four consecutive rounds before causing a huge upset by pipping O'Sullivan 9-8 in the final. The world number 81 was the lowest ranked player to win a ranking event since 1993. 

Another unlikely Welsh Open hero was Andrew Higginson at the 2007 installment. Having been an amateur the season before, Higginson was rated at odds of 500/1 to lift the trophy in Newport, but a string of impressive results - including his maiden professional 147 during the quarter-finals - saw him reach the final. He had previously never been past the last 16 of such an event. 

Higginson trailed Neil Robertson 6-2 in the final but pieced together six successive frames to move 8-6 ahead and on the cusp of a sensation. However, there wasn't a fairytale ending as Robertson went on a three-frame burst to eventually scoop the top prize. This is one of nine finals in the competition’s history to go all the way to a deciding frame. 

Steve Davis is the other player to have retained the Welsh Open title. His successfully defence in 1995 was his 28th and final ranking event win. 

At the 2023 Welsh Open final there was even more at stake for Robert Milkins who defeated Shaun Murphy 9-7 to not only claim his second ranking title and £80,000 but also finish top of the BetVictor European Series order of merit and bank a £150,000 bonus.

Credit: Getty Images/Richard PelhamCredit: Getty Images/Richard Pelham
Credit: Getty Images/Richard Pelham | Getty Images/Richard Pelham

Welsh Open Snooker: Roll of Honour, Locations, Winner’s Prize Money

1992: Stephen Hendry 9-3 Darren Morgan (Newport) | £25,000

1993: Ken Doherty 9-7 Alan McManus (Newport) | £27,500

1994: Steve Davis 9-6 Alan McManus (Newport) | £27,000

1995: Steve Davis 9-3 John Higgins (Newport) | £32,500

1996: Mark Williams 9-3 John Parrott (Newport) | £36,000

1997: Stephen Hendry 9-2 Mark King (Newport) | £37,500

1998: Paul Hunter 9-5 John Higgins (Newport) | £60,000

1999: Mark Williams 9-8 Stephen Hendry (Cardiff) | £60,000

2000: John Higgins 9-8 Stephen Lee (Cardiff) | £62,000

2001: Ken Doherty 9-2 Paul Hunter (Cardiff) | £62,000

2002: Paul Hunter 9-7 Ken Doherty (Cardiff) | £82,500

2003: Stephen Hendry 9-5 Mark Williams (Cardiff) | £82,500

2004: Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-8 Steve Davis (Cardiff) | £52,000

2005: Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-8 Stephen Hendry (Newport) | £35,000

2006: Stephen Lee 9-4 Shaun Murphy (Newport) | £35,000

2007: Neil Robertson 9-8 Andrew Higginson (Newport) | £35,000

2008: Mark Selby 9-8 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Newport) | £35,000

2009: Ali Carter 9-5 Joe Swail (Newport) | £35,000

2010: John Higgins 9-4 Ali Carter (Newport) | £35,000

2011: John Higgins 9-6 Stephen Maguire (Newport) | £30,000

2012: Ding Junhui 9-6 Mark Selby (Newport) | £30,000

2013: Stephen Maguire 9-8 Stuart Bingham (Newport) | £50,000

2014: Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-3 Ding Junhui (Newport) | £60,000

2015: John Higgins 9-3 Ben Woollaston (Cardiff) | £60,000

2016: Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-5 Neil Robertson (Cardiff) | £60,000

2017: Stuart Bingham 9-8 Judd Trump (Cardiff) | £70,000

2018: John Higgins 9-7 Barry Hawkins (Cardiff) | £70,000

2019: Neil Robertson 9-7 Stuart Bingham (Cardiff) | £70,000

2020: Shaun Murphy 9-1 Kyren Wilson (Cardiff) | £70,000

2021: Jordan Brown 9-8 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Newport) | £70,000

2022: Joe Perry 9-5 Judd Trump (Newport) | £70,000

2023: Robert Milkins 9-7 Shaun Murphy (Llandudno) | £80,000

2024: Gary Wilson 9-4 Martin O'Donnell (Llandudno) | £80,000

Welsh Open Snooker 147 Breaks 

  • 1999: Ronnie O’Sullivan (Quarter-Finals) 

  • 1999: Barry Pinches (Qualifying for the 2000 event) 

  • 2007: Andrew Higginson (Quarter-Finals) 

  • 2011: Stephen Hendry (Last 16) 

  • 2014: Ronnie O’Sullivan (Final) 

  • 2016: Ding Junhui (Quarter-Finals) 

  • 2019: Neil Robertson (Round One), Noppon Saengkham (Last 32) 

  • 2020: Kyren Wilson (Round One) 

  • 2023: Shaun Murphy (Last 16) 

  • 2024: Gary Wilson (Semi-Finals) 

(Players in bold denotes it was their first 147 in professional competition)

There have been 11 maximum 147 breaks made at the Welsh Open. Ronnie O’Sullivan is the only player to have made more than one. 

O’Sullivan (2014), Neil Robertson (2019) and Gary Wilson (2024) all won the event they compiled the 147 in. 

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.