Adopted Yorkshireman Shaun Murphy is hoping ‘home’ advantage will help him break his duck at the Embassy World Championship next month.
Murphy defeated twice semi-finalist Joe Swail 10-8 at Prestatyn tonight to secure a place at Sheffield’s famous Crucible Theatre.
The 22-year-old is from Northamptonshire but moved to Rotherham last year to be with his girlfriend.
It means Murphy has only a short drive when he attempts to win his first match at the Crucible in three appearances.
He lost 10-4 to Stephen Hendry on his debut in 2002 and suffered a heartbreaking 10-9 defeat to Ken Doherty on the final black two years ago.
“Whenever I go into Sheffield I drive past the Crucible and the memories come flooding back, but all I’ve had for the last two years is memories,” Murphy said.
“I can’t wait to play there again. Living so close certainly cuts down on the expenses and I’ll have loads of support.”
Leading 6-5, Murphy fired in back-to-back centuries of 106 and 131 and made a further ton, 119, to lead 9-7.
Irishman Swail, who appeared in the last four at Sheffield in 2000 and 2001, won the next with a run of 72 and led 59-0 in the 18th frame but missed a brown and Murphy clinched the match with a 67.
Andy Hicks, who had to be separated from volatile Australian Quinten Hann after their ill-tempered first-round match last year, beat Dominic Dale 10-5 to secure a return visit.
Robert Milkins, beaten 9-8 from 8-5 up by Matthew Stevens in the Irish Masters semi-finals a fortnight ago, breezed through with a 10-3 victory over Adrian Gunnell.
Michael Holt, who lost 10-9 from 9-5 up to Anthony Hamilton at the same stage last year, beat Stuart Bingham 10-8 to book his Crucible debut.