STUART BINGHAM motored into the second round of the Northern Ireland Open after breezing past world number 115 Oliver Lines in Milton Keynes.

The Basildon potter was a man in a hurry at the Marshall Arena as breaks of 74 and 72 saw off his lowly-ranked opponent and catapulted him into the last 64.

World number 11 Bingham, who has endured a stuttering start to the 2020/21 season, will now face Chinese teenager Zhao Jianbo in his second round match at the Home Nations event.

The 2015 world champion had to do things the hard way in his first round game on Tuesday, however, going behind after a scrappy first frame as Lines racked up 54 points to the Essex player’s 42.

Bingham levelled in a similarly attritional second but then found his familiar fluency with a visit of 72 in the third.

A fine 74 then opened up daylight and Bingham, chasing a maiden ranking event title since the 2019 Gibraltar Open, wrapped things up to dash the Leeds player’s hopes of progression.

Bingham memorably soared to Masters glory in January but has suffered a mixed run of form on the circuit since, losing in the second round of the English Open last month as well as against world number one Judd Trump at the Champion of Champions.

He’ll be hoping to build momentum at the Northern Ireland Open, however, as the six-time ranking event winner ramps up preparations for the UK Championship next week.

The tournament, one of snooker’s three Triple Crown events alongside the World Championship and Masters, will be taking place at the same Milton Keynes venue rather than its usual York location as the sport continues to adapt to coronavirus restrictions.

And there Bingham will face fellow Basildon player Zak Surety, who toppled world No.43 Mark King in his first round match.

Surety, the world number 122, delivered a brilliant performance as breaks of 63 and 51 shocked the 2016 Northern Ireland Open champion in Milton Keynes.

The 29-year-old will meet world number 29 Zhao Xintong in his last 64 match.

>Watch the Northern Ireland Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport app, and stream on discovery+