MARK Lloyd has been handed a wildcard for his first professional snooker tournament.
It means the 19-year-old from Gosport could face a green-baize superstar such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump or Mark Selby live on TV.
Lloyd said he was “delighted” to receive the nomination for the 19.com English Open, which runs from October 14-20 in Crawley.
The coveted spot was awarded to the teenage ace by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards for winning this year’s English Under-21 Championship.
Lloyd admitted it came as a surprise and is now counting the days until next week’s flat draw.
“I was delighted when I saw the invite for the English Open,” he said.
“I wasn’t expecting an invite. So when I got it, I felt a bit of a buzz to know that I’ll be in a professional tournament for the first time.
“I can’t wait to go there and play. What an experience it will be.
“I’ll just have to wait and see who I’ll be drawn against. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The shock news came two day after he picked up a cool £300 for winning the West of England Open at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.
Lloyd compiled a 98 break en route to topping his eight-man round-robin group in the event run by the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation.
He then dispatched Lee McArthur and defending champion Ryan Mears in the knockout, both by 2-0 scorelines.
And a 14-hour day ended with a 2-1 victory over Paignton-based James Lee in the final.
“It was a very long day,” he added.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)