There are now just three ranking events to be completed prior to the all-important seeding cut-off to determine the field for this season’s Dafabet Masters.
Snooker’s premier invitational event returns to the Alexandra Palace from 13-20 January 2019 and will feature the world’s top 16 ranked players following next month’s UK Championship. This period therefore includes all prize money earned at ranking events from the 2016 Scottish Open up to and including the 2018 UK Championship in York. These points are illustrated on the latest Race to the Masters table.
With just the International Championship, Northern Ireland Open and UK Championship to be completed, the field is beginning to take shape with Stuart Bingham (£319,000) becoming the latest player to all but secure his position at the Masters by winning the English Open last week in Crawley.
Having began that tournament ‘on the bubble’ in 16th position, the £70,000 first prize was enough to see Bingham leap four places and £76,475 clear of Scotland’s Anthony McGill (£242,525) in 17th.
Below Bingham, it is worth noting that 14th placed Luca Brecel (£296,000) is the only player in the race who has not qualified for this week’s big money International Championship and so will be keeping an eye on the results of the players below him. Among them, Scotland’s Stephen Maguire (£285,025) heads to the tournament following an important run to the semi-finals at the English Open which has put some distance between himself and the chasing pack.
The man currently in most danger is Hong Kong’s Marco Fu (£261,500), who notwithstanding an improved start to the season has slipped down the ranking list slightly having missed several tournaments last season due to laser eye surgery.
With six players currently within £50,000 of him with three tournaments to go, it will be interesting to see whether he can hold on to that final position or whether somebody will come through the pack to book their place at the Alexandra Palace.
Follow our Race to the Masters table for all of the latest updates during the coming weeks…