Five minute 20 second break pots pounds 165,000

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The Independent Online
Mike Tyson has collected money quicker in the boxing ring and even Britain's horizontal heavyweight Frank Bruno has picked up hundreds of thousands of pounds for a few moments work, but Ronnie O'Sullivan entered snooker history yesterday with the fastest 147 maximum in tournament play. With it, he earned pounds 165,000.

O'Sullivan's maximum - 15 reds, 15 blacks and the six colours in one visit to the table - took just 5minutes 20 seconds, and with a pounds 147,000 bonus for a maximum and pounds 18,000 for the highest break during the Embassy World Championships, works out at pounds 515 a second. In comparison, the pounds 210,000 on offer to the eventual winner at the Crucible, Sheffield, for 17 days' work is chicken-feed.

The frame, the 14th in his 10-6 win over Mick Price, put O'Sullivan through to the second round and a step nearer a potential quarter-final against Stephen Hendry who also is hoping to create a landmark of his own by becoming the first man to win the modern world championship seven times.

"It was unbelievable to do this in the world championships," O'Sullivan, who is ranked eighth in the world, said. "I haven't had a maximum in ages, even in practice, so to get it at the Crucible is fantastic. There is only one venue as far as snooker is concerned."

"You could add, and his supporters probably will do, that there is only one Ronnie O'Sullivan. The 21-year-old from Chigwell, Essex, compiled his first 100 break at the age of 10 and immediately broke Hendry's record of 36 consecutive victories after turning professional in 1992. He has frequently found the fame that comes with such exploits hard to handle, however, and at last year's world championships he assaulted a press officer for which he was fined pounds 20,000 and ordered to make a "voluntary" donation of pounds 10,000 to charity. He was also given a two-year ban, suspended for two years conditional on his good conduct.

O'Sullivan becomes only the fourth man to record a maximum in the world championships, following Cliff Thorburn in 1983, Jimmy White in 1992 and Stephen Hendry in 1995. It is the 20th official 147 compiled in a major tournament.

Winning potential, page 28