Astley was beaten 4-2 by Mark Williams in Llandudno, squandering a chance to take the lead in the fifth frame with the match all square after trying to roll in a red along the bottom cushion.
Three-time world champion Williams went on to secure victory and progress to the main draw of the event.
O’Sullivan, who secured his eighth Masters and UK Championship titles earlier this season, is working for Eurosport as a pundit after withdrawing his tournament entry due to anxiety and did not hold back in his criticism of Astley’s shot
“If I’ve got a chance, I think I should win the game,” O’Sullivan said of the 35-year-old’s missed red. “If I’m out of position, I’m taking it on because I just can’t accept that I’m not going to win the frame so it’s hard to refuse balls sometimes. I’d probably try and screw that in, pinch it in a bit and at least if you miss it the red goes away.
“But to play it like that, he’s not even on the black... bad shot. He ain’t got a snooker brain really, that’s what it is. You’ve got to have a snooker brain.
"You've got to have one of the two: a 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐢𝐪𝐮𝐞 or a 𝒔𝒏𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒊𝒏!" 🧠
Ronnie O'Sullivan explores John Astley's strategy against Mark Williams 🗣️@ronnieo147 | @rachelcasey11 | #WelshOpen pic.twitter.com/ZBAQk5E9dc
— Eurosport (@eurosport) February 12, 2024
“Some people are good at maths, some people are good at English, some people just have a snooker brain and some people just don’t play the right shot, and they’ll never play the right shot because their brain doesn’t think like a snooker player.
“There are some top five players, I won’t mention any names, that I don’t think have a snooker brain but they have such good technique that they can get away with it. He has neither. He doesn’t have a good technique and he doesn’t even have a snooker brain.
“He’s just going to make 30s, 40s, miss balls and never do anything really. It’s unfortunate, but you’ve got to have one of the two. You’ve got to have good technique or a snooker brain and if you’ve got neither then maybe it’s time to find something else to do.”
Gateshead-born Astley is currently ranked 78th in the world and reached the third round of last year’s English Open.
Williams will next take on Sanderson Lam in the last 64 in Wales as he bids to win his home event for the first time in 25 years.