Race to Southport – One to Go

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There is just one event remaining before the final field is confirmed for the upcoming Coral Players Championship which will take place at the Southport Waterfront from 24 February – 1 March 2020.

The top 16 players on the one-year ranking list for the 2019/20 season following the BetVictor Shoot Out will qualify to play at the second leg of the Coral Series, following Neil Robertson’s success at the Coral World Grand Prix in Cheltenham earlier this month.

Latest position as of 15/02/2020:

1st – Judd Trump – £531,500
2nd – Shaun Murphy – £311,000*
3rd – Neil Robertson – £274,500
4th – Mark Selby – £267,500
5th – Ding Junhui – £261,250
6th – Mark Allen – £150,500
7th – Yan Bingtao – £148,500
8th – John Higgins – £143,500
9th – Graeme Dott – £136,250
10th – Thepchaiya Un-Nooh – £130,500
11th – Kyren Wilson – £129,500*
12th – Stephen Maguire – £122,000
13th – Mark Williams – £112,750
14th – Joe Perry – £110,000
15th – David Gilbert – £103,500
16th – Ronnie O’Sullivan – £97,000
17th – Gary Wilson – £91,000
18th – Tom Ford – £83,250
19th – Jack Lisowski – £82,750
20th – Zhou Yuelong – £80,250

Heading into next weekend’s Shoot Out in Watford we can already say that the top 13 players on the one-year list are already mathematically assured of their places in Southport.

With the newly increased top prize of £50,000 to be won, the first player who can still mathematically be caught is Joe Perry, who would miss out on the Players Championship if he were to lose his opening match at the Shoot Out to Jimmy Robertson and three of the following were to happen:

  • David Gilbert reaches the semi-finals
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan reaches the final
  • One of the next 14 players wins the tournament

Also still at risk is David Gilbert, the world number 12 hoping that two of the following outcomes would not come to pass if he were to lose his Watford opener to Robert Milkins:

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan reaches the semi-finals
  • Gary Wilson reaches the final
  • One of the next 13 players wins the tournament

Despite his run to the final, Ronnie O’Sullivan is still not yet assured of his place at the Players Championship and vulnerable to a surprise winner of a tournament not yet won by a top 16 ranked player during its nine-year history. If he were to lose his first match against Alan McManus, any of the following scenarios would see him miss out on his title defence in Southport:

  • Gary Wilson reaches the semi-finals
  • Tom Ford, Jack Lisowski or Zhou Yuelong reaches the final
  • One of the next 16 players wins the tournament

As an added factor to consider, the draw for the Players Championship would be seeded in accordance with the one-year ranking list after the Shoot Out, meaning that at the time of writing we are set for a blockbuster opening round clash between world number one Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan in Southport.

You will be able to follow all of the latest movements in the provisional draw for the competition during our Players Championship Race Blog next week here at wpbsa.com