FOR MOST professional snooker players, falling off the tour would be their worst nightmare but Peter Lines claims it has given him a new lease of life.
After spending all bar one of the previous 25 years as a professional, the Leeds cueman lost his tour card at the end of last season after finishing outside the world’s top 64.
But this term Lines has entered a number of pro events as an amateur – with four wins to reach round three at the Paul Hunter Classic in August a particular highlight.
The 46-year-old is currently in action at the English Open at EventCity in Manchester, where he overcame Pickering’s Paul Davison 4-1 in the first round on Tuesday.
And the veteran believes that playing pressure-free snooker is paying dividends for him.
“It’s a lot more relaxed since I dropped off the tour – I’m still going to get invited into a lot of the comps, I’m going to play and I’m under less pressure so I’m enjoying it,” explained Lines.
“It’s a tricky one because I’m not sure if I’d rather be on the tour and outside the 64 or doing it like this.
“For the last four of five seasons I was on the borderline of falling out of the top 64 and you’re just thinking about it all the time, the pressure of it.
“I’ve started winning matches now I’m off the tour! It’s about being out there, relaxing and just playing your game.
“The top players can do that, whether they’re in the World Championship final or in the first round here – that’s the secret. It’s tough to find that secret though!”
Lines will be in round two action on Wednesday as he looks to continue his rejuvenation.
While going even further at the English Open would be a bonus, the Yorkshireman admits his main focus is helping son Oliver, who is also a snooker professional and currently ranked 61 in the world.
The younger Lines lost his opening encounter at the English Open 4-1 to Ian Preece with Lines Sr claiming he would happily sacrifice his own success for his son.
“I come to tournaments but realistically, my main aim is looking after Oliver,” he added.
“Oliver has already lost in this event, so if I could give him my place, I would do that but obviously that’s not how it works!”
The Lines men weren’t the only Yorkshire potters in action in Manchester this week as Leeds’ Sanderson Lam let a 2-0 lead slip to 16-year-old Chinese sensation Yan Bingtao, who eventually prevailed 4-2 in their first-round clash.
*Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.