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'Worst I've played all season': Mark Allen targets improvement after Welsh Open progress



Mark Allen

Mark Allen

Getty Images

Mark Allen

Honest Mark Allen admits his performances will have to improve if he is to follow in the footsteps of Graeme McDowell and add to Northern Ireland's sporting success stories at Celtic Manor.

McDowell went down in Ryder Cup folklore at the Welsh resort in 2011, overcoming Hunter Mahan in the final singles match to secure a famous European win.

Allen recalls being gripped by the drama a decade ago and goes into today's second-round clash with Nigel Bond hoping to use those memories as inspiration.

"I was spending a week down with Terry Griffiths in Llanelli at the time and he knew I wouldn't be in when the golf was on," Allen said following his 4-2 first-round win over Fraser Patrick.

"I remember Graeme McDowell's game against Mahan, Mahan duffing the chip… Graeme always handles the big occasion really well, he's a big-time pressure player. That's a bit of a trait in various sportspeople from Northern Ireland. It would have been great if the course had been open. I haven't played much in the last few years but I used to play off three - I'm now down at 23. Maybe playing the Ryder Cup course could have sparked something!"

Allen sealed his success over Patrick with consecutive breaks of 61 and 71 on Monday but was far from happy with his display.

"That's probably the worst I've played this season," he said. "I felt quite uncomfortable, the table wasn't very good, but fortunately I found a bit of form at 2-2.

"You can't win the tournament on a Monday, you can only lose it, so getting through is the most important thing. I have a few positives to take into Wednesday."

Yesterday's action saw Ronnie O'Sullivan set up a clash with his idol Jimmy White after crushing Robbie Williams 4-0.

The Rocket is playing his first ranking event of 2021 and compiled breaks of 56 or higher in every frame, peaking with a 122.

Mark Williams, the only Welshman to have won the Welsh Open, beat his countryman Michael White 4-1 while newly-crowned Snooker Shootout champion Ryan Day began his quest for success on home soil with a 4-3 win over Ian Burns.

Antrim's Jordan Brown, who overcame Luo Honghao 4-0, today takes on the winner of last night's match between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Sam Craigie.

Gerard Greene will play Scott Donaldson after a 4-3 triumph over Farakh Ajaib.

Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport app.

Belfast Telegraph