The 24-year-old has endured a tough season in which he has failed to progress past the first round of a tournament, and his bad run continued with a 6-4 defeat at the hands of world No 49 Michael Georgiou in York. Having fallen 2-0 behind in the early stages, Lines clawed his way back into the match and levelled terms at 4-4 with a half-century break, before Georgiou notched the last two frames to seal the win.
And having failed to transfer his encouraging form on the practice table to the main arena, Lines was left perplexed by his disappointing showing at the first Triple Crown event of the season.
“I’ve been practicing hard and playing really well,” he said. “ I’m not sure how you can go from feeling amazing to feeling as bad as I did out there today.
“It was a very poor game and he’ll probably say the same. I never seemed to settle down in the whole game, from ball one right to the end.
“I play for these occasions but I didn’t handle it very well today. It’s hard out there with the pressure because we both needed to win, but in the end it’s just very disappointing.”
Despite being whitewashed in his opener, Lines’s dad Peter insisted there were plenty of positives to take into the rest of his season. The 49-year-old was handed one of the toughest draws possible in the first round at the York Barbican, and failed to get a frame on the board against John Higgins, losing out 6-0.
Despite the heavy scoreline on day one of the competition, Higgins admitted he found the going tough and world No 124 Lines acknowledged there were elements of his game that were pleasing.
“It was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests,” he said. “Sometimes when it’s 6-0 you’ve just been hammered, but it was a lot tighter than it seemed.
“There’s no shame in losing to John, he’s one of the best players of all time, so I’ll try and take the positives and come back stronger. I’ve not been competing at all this season so it was nice to be out there playing well against someone that good. There are signs of improvement but I still need to work a bit harder.”
Barry Hawkins made the third 147 of his career en route t a 6-2 victory over Gerard Greene.
China’s Ding Junhui enjoyed a 6-2 win over Duane Jones.