Mark Allen put a stunning start to his bid for BetVictor Shoot Out glory down to "no drunks shouting at me" after a record 142 clearance against England's Jimmy Robertson in Milton Keynes.
The previous best in the one-frame stop-clock format was 139 - there had only ever been 21 centuries - but the Antrim cueman set a new mark with some superb shots to clear the table in under 10 minutes in the £171,000 behind-closed-doors event, usually played in a raucous party atmosphere more akin to darts.
"The only way is down after that," joked Allen. "But I'll take it!"
The World No.10 added: "It's nice to do it (set a new record). I am here to win. When you have played in the tournament for a few years you get to know what shots to play and when to play them. That knowledge comes into play. I don't think you can really prepare for this tournament. It's not snooker as I know it."
And the 34-year-old admitted Covid restrictions are playing a part.
"It's different with no crowd - you don't get drunks shouting and roaring abuse at you! But that's part of the fun of it," he quipped.
Allen revealed he has been juggling cues - with differing outcomes.
"I'm onto my fourth cue this season - I'm happy with this one," he said.
Allen is approaching the remainder of the season - which will climax with the World Championship at Sheffield's famous Crucible in April and May - with confidence. Before that he will turn his attention to the Welsh Open which starts on Monday week at Celtic Manor - a treat for the golf fanatic as it hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Allen said: "In general my game has been in good shape. I just need to convert good performances into wins."
Allen's fellow Ulstermen had mixed fortunes in the Shoot Out, Declan Lavery beating England's Steven Hallworth but Fergal Quinn losing to experienced Welshman Matthew Stevens.
Victory was particularly sweet for Northern Ireland amateur champion Lavery, who missed out on a glamour clash with former world champion Neil Robertson at November's NI Open after testing positive for Covid.
Antrim's Jordan Brown takes on Ukrainian 15-year-old sensation Iulian Boiko today, with Allen in last-64 action tomorrow.