Another Hong Kong pro: Andy Lee joins Marco Fu on World Snooker tour after Q School success
The 37-year-old finished in the top four of the third qualifying tournament, enough to earn a two-year card on the main circuit
Andy Lee became the second Hong Kong player to earn a place on World Snooker’s main tour after an arduous run to the last four at Q School 3 in Burton, England on Thursday.
The 37-year-old UK-born Lee beat England’s Kuldesh Johal 4-2 in the quarter-finals to earn one of four two-year pro spots from Q School 3, joining veteran Hong Kong player Marco Fu Ka-chun on the circuit.
Lee needed to win six matches to finish in the top four and he turned in an impressive performance, losing only eight frames while winning 24 over the two-day qualifier. In Q School 2 he missed out in the last 16 by losing 4-1 to China’s Lu Ning and was beaten 4-0 in the last 32 by Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong in Q School 1.
“This really is a special result for Andy Lee and for Hong Kong billiard sports,” said Hong Kong Sports Institute head snooker coach Wayne Griffiths. “We have been fortunate in recent years to enjoy headline grabbing results from Marco Fu and Ng On-yee, but this is another great milestone.
“Andy is one of our hardest workers and he always trains with the right attitude. It is no accident that players like Andy, Marco and On-yee, who consistently train with intention and purpose, achieve the best results.
“We look forward to working hard to support Andy in his preparation for taking on the best players in the world for the next two seasons.”
Lee will be able to play in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 main world snooker tour thanks to his Q School 3 success. It will be Lee’s second stint as a pro player, having played one season on the main tour in 2009 under the England banner.
“Delighted be back on the tour after nine years away!,” Lee tweeted. “Incredible feeling being back! Whatever happens I can enjoy the next 2 years as a professional snooker player! Thanks for all messages ... time for a drink or two or twelve!”
Delighted be back on the tour after 9 years away! ♂️ Incredible feeling being back! Whatever happens I can enjoy the next 2 years as a professional snooker player! Thanks for all messages... time for a drink or two or twelve!! #worldsnooker #qschool #torture
— Andy Lee (@leechunwai147) June 1, 2018
Lee joined the Hong Kong Sports Institute programme in 2011-12 and has established himself as the city’s number one amateur player over the past one year.
He started to make an impact on the global stage last year with medals in the world and Asian 5 reds events. In 2014, Lee partnered Fung Kwok-wai to the IBSF Team gold medal.
“Andy came back to us [in Hong Kong] and has continued to work with dedication for the past six years,” added Griffiths. “Overcoming a field of close to 200 of the best amateurs in the world is a fantastic and well deserved achievement.”
Women’s world champion Ng On-yee also took part in the Q School events but failed to achieve a top four place. But the world number one was this week invited to compete in the inaugural 64-player Challenge Tour that features 10 events and offers places on the world tour for the top two players.