The season-long race to qualify for next month’s Ladbrokes Players Championship reaches its climax this weekend in Gibraltar as the final counting event is played out, but who can still claim a place at the final opportunity.
In a significant change for this season, just 16 players will be involved at this season’s Players Championship, compared to 32 as has previously been the case since the event was first won by Shaun Murphy back in 2011.
With each player who makes it guaranteed to earn at least £10,000, which will count towards World Championship qualification, it could make the difference between some players earning a top 16 seeding for Sheffield and having to win three matches to make it through to the Crucible this year.
Often within my ranking analysis blogs, there is much that can change depending upon results in future tournaments, but already this time we know that the top 15 players on the Race to Llandudno are now guaranteed to qualify. These are:
- Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, Judd Trump, Stuart Bingham, Ding Junhui, Ali Carter, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Marco Fu, Anthony McGill, Liang Wenbo, John Higgins, Anthony Hamilton, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Mark King
What can change?
That means that just one place, currently held by 16th placed Ryan Day following his run to the final of the recent World Grand Prix, remains up for grabs.
The Welshman can be caught by only two players in Gibraltar, either:
- Joe Perry – must reach at least the final
- Mark Williams – must win the title
If Day were to reach the last 16, Perry would then need to win the title, while Williams could no longer overtake his countryman.
Updates will follow throughout the Jojobet.com Gibraltar Open, with the professional stages getting underway on Friday 3 March 2017.