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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 20:50 GMT
Hunter storms to victory
Paul Hunter took home 52,000
Hunter started brightly and never looked back

England's Paul Hunter claimed the British Open title at Telford with a 4-9 defeat of compatriot Ian McCulloch.

It was the Yorkshireman's third title of the year and earned him 52,000.

The reigning Regal Welsh Open and Benson and Hedges Masters champion was never threatened after storming into a 3-0 lead.


I felt I was the best player all through the tournament
Paul Hunter

McCulloch, appearing in his first major final, failed to produce the same consistent scoring that had helped him to beat John Higgins and Mark Williams.

"I was happy with the way I played all week," said Hunter.

"I felt I was the best player all through the tournament and came out on top in the final."

Hunter, the world number nine from Leeds, exploited McCulloch's nervousness by taking the first two frames.

And when McCulloch missed an easy blue in the third, Hunter went three frames clear by potting blue and pink.

McCulloch, the world number 43 from Preston, enjoyed a slice of luck in the fourth when he fluked a red.

And the 31-year-old went on to complete a break of 99 to get his first frame on the board.

But Hunter hit back with a run of 110 to lead 4-1 before going 5-2 ahead with a 90 in the seventh after McCulloch had won the sixth with a 70.


I expected to win the final after how I'd played this week
Ian McCullough

Hunter then extended his lead to four frames by winning the last of the session with two breaks of 35.

When they resumed, he claimed a 7-2 lead with an effort of 93 before McCulloch fired in a 135 total clearance.

He also made a break of 79 in the 12th but it was too late to prevent Hunter clinching the title.

McCulloch, who collected 26,000 and rises to a provisional 26th in the rankings, was satisfied with his run to the final.

"I've had the week of my life but Paul thoroughly deserves to win," he said.

"I expected to win the final after how I'd played this week but he played the better snooker."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Clive Everton
"McCulloch made mistakes in frames he should have won"

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