O’Sullivan scrambles ‘like Tiger and Seve’ on way to win in York

Ronnie O'Sullivan saw off Michael White 6-1 in the third round of the Betway UK Championship in York.
Ronnie O'Sullivan saw off Michael White 6-1 in the third round of the Betway UK Championship in York.
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RONNIE O’Sullivan compared himself to former world No 1 golfer Tiger Woods as he celebrated his birthday in style by hammering Michael White in the third round of the Betway UK Championship in York.

The five-time champion dominated White, making a phenomenal early break of 132 as he triumphed 6-1.

O’Sullivan admitted he had to scrap to come out on top on the baize and likened snooker to golf in the process.

He said: “Michael [White] didn’t play well at all. He missed so many balls and you could see he was struggling and he wasn’t getting any luck at all.

“He’s a good lad and he loves the game. I wasn’t great either, but I managed to scramble a bit better than he did.

“It’s a bit like golf and if you don’t get on the line right you put the ball everywhere.

“I’m a little bit like Seve [Ballesteros] or Tiger [Woods] where I can manufacture shots, but the more robotic type players, if they’re not online, they really struggle.

“The likes of me and Mark Williams can scramble a bit better and it’s just what you have to do sometimes.”

O’Sullivan’s century break was his 909th at ranking tournaments and despite claiming he does not care who he faces next, he revealed he still has a burning desire to win.

He said: “I know each century gets me nearer to the 1,000, which is nice to do, but I’m sure someone else will get there too – there’s a lot of tournaments these days.

“I come here, have a bit of fun, and if I win it’s a bit of a bonus. This is a hobby. Of course I want to win, but I’m not going to drive myself mad. No matter what, I love to win. I have a natural desire to want to compete, but I won’t get bothered by the conditions or the referee.”

John Higgins made it three Scots in the last 16 as he edged past Yan Bingtao.

Two half-century breaks had Higgins in complete control at the interval, but the 17-year-old roared back to bring the scores level at 3-3.

However, Higgins was able to rattle off three successive frames to edge out the teenager.

The four-time world champion was proud of the way he battled against the Chinese cueman.

He said: “I thought I competed well with him. My safety game was really good and it had to be against Yan. He’s such a dangerous player.

“I went 3-0 up and missed a pretty difficult red on the cushion. He then came back the way I thought he’d come back because he’s a really good player.

“The seventh frame was a big frame because if he had gone in front he’d have the confidence, but I managed to nick it and then I thought I played two good frames.”

Higgins will next face Mark King for a place in the quarter-finals after the English potter defeated Belgian Luca Brecel 6-3.

King won his first ranking title at the Northern Irish Open last season and Higgins believes the 43-year-old has gone to a new level in the past 12 months.

He said: “Mark King is a different player since he won the Northern Irish Open, he looks more confident around the table.

“It’s going to be a real tough game. He looked good in his last match.

“He’s had some great results lately. He’s giving it everything for his family and I can only respect that.”

Watch live coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.