Name: Liam Highfield
DOB: 1st December 1990
Turned Pro: 2010
Highest Ranking: 63rd (2011)
Highest Break: 138 (Shanghai Masters Qualifiers 2010)
Career Highlights: 2014 Australian Goldfields Open last 32, 2015 German Masters last 32, 2013 World Championship last 48, 2011 & 2013 Australian Goldfields Open last 48, 2013 Haikou World Open last 48, 2015 ET6 last 16, 2011 PTC1 & PTC2 last 16, 2014/15 Q School qualifier
A talented junior, Liam Highfield made a name for himself back in 2008 when he made the first 147 break of his fledgling career at the Willie Thorne Snooker Centre in Leicester, notably playing an excellent shot on the 10th red, doubling it in before bringing another red into play from the side-cushion.
As well as making the big breaks however, Liam can also win tournaments as evidenced by his triumph at the 2009 English Under-19 Championship in Sheffield.
2009/10 – PIOS Success
With some momentum behind him following that victory, Liam got his 2009/10 season off to a strong start with a run to the final of the first event of the PIOS season before losing out to Jack Lisowski. Not to be disheartened, Liam went one better in the second event, gaining revenge over Lisowski early on before going all the way to defeat Neal Jones in the final.
Liam during the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
Though Liam would not take another event during the remainder of the season, his performances were enough to see him end the season ranked number two and in doing so book his place on the main tour for 2010/11.
With the introduction of the new Players Tour Championship, the 2010/11 season was a good time for young professionals to step up to the main tour and so it proved for Liam as he consistently won matches early on, a semi-final appearance at the EPTC4 event in Gloucester proving to be the highlight.
Though he could not make it to a venue in one of the season’s major ranking events, consistent performances as highlighted by a third round appearance at the 2010 Shanghai Masters were enough to lift him up to 68th place in the rankings at the end of the campaign. Although he had finished just outside of the top 64 following a disappointing World Championship defeat to Kuldesh Johal, his early-season performances during the PTC were enough to see him retain his place on the main tour for the following campaign.
Liam made a strong start to the 2011/12 season as he reached the last 16 stage of the first two PTC events of the season, notably running Ronnie O’Sullivan close in Gloucester before losing in a deciding frame.
Better was to come during the qualifiers for the Australian Goldfields Open tournament as he defeated Simon Bedford and Xiao Guodong before receiving a bye against Steve Davis to move into the final qualifying round. Though his run was to come to an end against Dominic Dale, he had at least done enough to move up onto the fringes of the top 64 for the first time in his career.
Liam at PTC2
Unfortunately for Liam however he was to suffer a dip in form following these promising results, losing his opening matches at the next four PTC tournaments while also falling at the first hurdle in qualifying for the Shanghai Masters, UK Championship and German Masters events.
The second half of the season was to be an improvement as he won his opening qualifying matches at the Haikou World Open, China Open and World Championship qualifiers, but his failure to progress any further in those events left his tour status hanging in the balance at the season’s end. Ultimately however, other results were to go his way, meaning that he would retain his place on the main tour for at least a further two seasons by virtue of the PTC Order of Merit.
Having remained on tour by the narrowest of margins, Liam made a steady start to the 2012/13 campaign, with his best results from the first half of the season proving to be runs to the last 48 of both the Australian Goldfields Open and 2013 Haikou World Open qualifiers, while he also reached the third qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters.
Liam at the 2012 UKPTC4 event
Liam was however to struggle during the PTC events, his best result being a last 16 run at the ET6 event, played in both Sheffield and Munich.
During the second half of the season, Liam’ best results were to be runs to the last 48 of both the Haikou World Open and World Championship tournaments, the latter in particular earning Liam a career-best £8,200, despite defeat to Marcus Campbell preventing him from earning a Crucible début.
Liam was to begin the 2013/14 season as he ended the last, victories against Daniel Wells and Ross Muir seeing him reach the final round of the Australian Goldfields Open qualifiers, where he lost out to Scotland’s Marcus Campbell.
Otherwise however, the season was to prove another difficult one for Liam, who won just two more matches at full-ranking events during the campaign, meaning that he would finish ranked 83rd and was therefore relegated from the main tour as a result.
Liam was though to earn himself a reprieve at the second Q School event in May 2014, as he defeated Jason Devaney, Kishan Hirani, Marc J Davis, John Parkin, George Pragnall and finally Canada’s Alex Pagulayan to secure a two-year tour card from the 2014/15 season.
The 2014/15 season was to prove a positive one for Liam on the whole as he reached the last 32 of a ranking event for the first time at the Australian Goldfields Open, before repeating the run at the German Masters.
Unfortunately for Liam, on both occasions he was to run into Xiao Guodong, who by the end of the season was able to knock Liam out of four full-ranking events as the two repeatedly met in important matches.
His best result at a European Tour event came at the Gdynia Open where he defeated Ian Glover, Stuart Bingham and Mark Selby to reach the last 16, where Mark Williams would be one match too far.