Bingham closes in on the title

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The Independent Online

Stuart Bingham had one hand on the Benson and Hedges Championship title yesterday after gaining a valuable first-session lead over Shaun Murphy in Malvern.

Stuart Bingham had one hand on the Benson and Hedges Championship title yesterday after gaining a valuable first-session lead over Shaun Murphy in Malvern.

The 24-year-old from Basildon led his Northamptonshire rival, six years his junior, 5-2 and required four of the remaining 10 frames in yesterday's evening session to clinch the title.

Bingham, who upset the defending champion, Stephen Hendry, in the first round of last season's world championship, started the match as favourite and maintained the form that saw him through six previous victories in the tournament.

Bingham was always in control, though he could not add to his tally of six centuries. The closest he came was in the third frame when he reached 94 before missing the 14th red.

However, it was a much smaller break that may prove decisive. Murphy looked in prime position to clinch the final frame of the session but instead missed the last red leaving Bingham to clear up to the pink to gain his 5-2 lead.

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