With the field now set for the upcoming Ladbrokes World Grand Prix following Michael Georgiou’s victory at the Shoot Out last weekend, attention now turns to the race to make it to the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno.
As was the case in 2017, the top 16 players on the one-year ranking list following the Gibraltar Open will qualify to play at the Ladbrokes Players Championship next month.
With £125,000 on offer to the winner and a minimum of £10,000 to any player who qualifies, not only is the tournament a prestigious competition in its own right, but the prize money earned could also prove crucial in this year’s Race to the Crucible, with just the China Open to follow the action in Llandudno.
In the mix
So who is currently in the mix to qualify for the 16-player tournament in North Wales?
At the time of writing there are three events prior to the all-important seedings revision, the World Grand Prix, the Welsh Open and the Gibraltar Open concluding on 11th March 2018.
With only the top 32 on the one-year ranking list following the Shoot Out guaranteed to earn at least a further £5,000 at the World Grand Prix, the size of the task facing those outside of that bracket to qualify for Llandudno is significant. For example, 33rd placed Tom Ford currently stands £48,275 behind 16th placed Martin Gould and is likely to fall further behind still with only Cardiff and Gibraltar to follow next week’s action in Preston.
Updated position as of 14/02/2018 (including minimum prize money from WGP):
13th – Stephen Maguire – £119,000
14th – Graeme Dott – £111,000
15th – Anthony McGill – £104,000
16th – Martin Gould – £103,500
17th – Yan Bingtao – £101,500
18th – Cao Yupeng – £96,000
19th – Joe Perry – £90,500
20th – Li Hang – £89,000
21st – Jack Lisowski – £88,600
22nd – David Gilbert – £77,000
23rd – Mark Joyce – £76,000
24th – Xiao Guodong – £74,500
25th – Ali Carter – £74,000
26th– Mark King – £73,725
Four players currently ranked inside the world’s official top 16 on the two-year ranking list are set to miss out on the Players Championship, namely Barry Hawkins, Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham and Ali Carter.
Bingham and Carter have qualified for the World Grand Prix, however Hawkins has not and so effectively must win the Welsh Open to stand any chance. Fu, currently sidelined follow laser eye surgery, will not be in action in Cardiff and so will definitely not qualify to play in Llandudno.
Further updates will follow over the coming weeks, with the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix set to run from 19-25 February 2018.