John Higgins began the defence of his British Open title at Leicester's Morningside Arena in supreme style as he impeccably constructed the 12th 147 of his gilded career to become the second most prolific maximum maker of all time.
Only the Scotsman's great rival Ronnie O'Sullivan – who turned professional in the same year as Higgins in 1992 – is ahead of the Wishaw man on the maximum list having made 15 in competition over the past 29 years.
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Higgins embarked upon his flawless break in the first frame of a 3-1 win against Switzerland's world number 42 Alexander Ursenbacher in the first round of the relocated British Open, a tournament Higgins won when it was last held in Brighton back in 2004 as he beat fellow Scot Stephen Maguire 9-6 in the final.
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A magnificent long red set the scene for the noticeably slimmer Higgins – who has lost several stones during the summer months – as he pieced together a glorious break with the watching fans giving him a standing ovation when he sunk the final black.
"Any time you get a maximum break, it's a great break. That was no different so I'm delighted," said Higgins, who cited his pot on the final yellow with the rest as the pivotal shot of the break.
"I potted the long red and did the rest of it so brilliant. The table is playing so reactive."
Higgins admits the game has become easier after shifting some timber during the close season and added: "Without a shadow of a doubt. It helps you get about the table a bit easier.
There is no disguising that fact. So hopefully I can keep it up and keep the weight off until the end of my career.
Ursenbacher restored parity at 1-1 with a 61, but Higgins reached the last-64 draw with further timely contributions of 78 and 57.
At the age of 46 and 90 days, Higgins is the oldest man to make a maximum at the elite level of snooker, but he also held that record when he made his 10th and 11th maximums at the age of 45 against Kurt Maflin and Kyren Wilson respectively at the World Championship and Championship League in 2020.
It is the 167th official maximum in the sport's history since Steve Davis compiled the first televised 147 break against John Spencer at the Lada Classic in 1982.
Higgins recorded his first 147 against 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor at the age of 24 at the 2000 Nations Cup, but has lost none of his break-building ability some 21 years later.
ALL-TIME TOP TEN MAXIMUM MEN
- 1 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) 15
- 2 John Higgins (Sco) 12
- 3 Stephen Hendry (Sco) 11
- 4 Stuart Bingham (Eng) 8
- 5 Ding Junhui (Chn) 6
- Shaun Murphy (Eng) 6
- 7 Tom Ford (Eng) 5
- Judd Trump (Eng) 5
- 9 Marco Fu (HK) 4
- Neil Robertson (Aus) 4
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