UK Championship 2016: Mark Williams says golf helped him focus on snooker

Mark Williams
Mark Williams last reached the UK Championship last 16 in 2011, when he was defeated 6-3 by Ricky Walden

Mark Williams says cold weather forced him to ditch golf and focus on snooker again - and helped him reach the last 16 of the UK Championship for the first time in five years.

The 41-year-old beat Ricky Walden to progress at the Barbican in York.

The Welshman trailed 5-3 before winning three successive frames.

"I've been watching [at this stage] on TV but it's nice to be here," he said. "As it's colder and I'm not playing golf, I'm really enjoying playing."

Williams said he took "a few months off" after losing 13-3 to Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals of the World Championship in April.

But he moved into the last 16 of the UK Championship by making his experience count in a nervy finale.

"When I went 5-3 down, it could have been 5-3 either way," Williams told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"I made a lot of one-frame visits but I kept losing the scrappy frames, which are the ones I normally win.

"I'm over the moon because I know it was a big game for both of us. I'm 16th and he's 17th in the rankings so I knew it was going to be a lot of nerves both ways."

Top Stories