The upcoming Betway UK Championship represents the final chance for players to add prize money to their ranking totals ahead of the decisive seeding cut-off to determine places at this season’s Masters.
As always, the world’s top 16 players after the UK Championship will qualify to play at snooker’s most historic invitational event, with several in the running to make their debut next January.
The counting period for the tournament includes all prize money earned at ranking events from the 2018 Scottish Open up to and including the 2020 UK Championship.
The latest Race to the Masters standings, already taking into account the prize money still to be removed from the official world rankings from the 2018 UK Championship, shows the live standings and the true picture of how each player is looking ahead of this year’s UK tournament.
State of Play
Analysis of the standings shows that the top 13 players on the ‘Race to the Masters’ table are now mathematically certain of qualification following defeat for Ali Carter in the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open.
This includes 11th ranked Stuart Bingham, who will be the top seed for the tournament as its defending champion, while world number two Ronnie O’Sullivan will be seeded second as reigning world champion. Yan Bingtao is also assured of his Masters debut in 12th position.
The first player who could therefore miss out is two-time champion Mark Williams, who if he were to lose his first round match to Ben Hancorn at the UK Championship would be overtaken if three of the following scenarios were to unfold:
- Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to reach the semi-finals
- Gary Wilson, Jack Lisowski, Ali Carter, Anthony McGill, Joe Perry, Graeme Dott, Barry Hawkins or Scott Donaldson reach the final
- One of the next 40 players win the title
Williams would also guarantee qualification by reaching the last 32 of the UK Championship.
Behind him in 15th position is Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who is looking to qualify for the tournament for the first time in his career. Defeat to Lukas Kleckers in his last 128 match would leave him vulnerable if two of the following results come to pass:
- Gary Wilson or Jack Lisowski to reach the last 16
- Ali Carter or Anthony McGill reach the quarter-finals
- Joe Perry, Graeme Dott or Barry Hawkins reach the semi-finals
- Scott Donaldson, Zhou Yuelong, Kurt Maflin, Matt Selt, Michael Holt or Tom Ford reach the final
- One of the next 41 players win the title
The most immediate battle however is for the 16th and final slot, with another potential debutant Gary Wilson just £1,250 ahead of closest chaser Jack Lisowski.
As a consequence of the strict seeding system for the tournament, with the pair also ranked 16th and 17th prior to the following the Championship League, they are set on course to meet in potentially a winner takes all third round match at the UK Championship.
That said, there are other scenarios which could see Wilson miss out if he were to lose his opening match to Oliver Lines as follows:
- Jack Lisowski to reach the last 64
- Ali Carter or Anthony McGill reach the last 32
- Joe Perry to reach the quarter-finals
- Graeme Dott, Barry Hawkins or Scott Donaldson reach the semi-finals
- Zhou Yuelong, Kurt Maflin, Matt Selt, Michael Holt, Tom Ford or Zhao Xintong reach the final
- One of the next 47 players win the title
As mentioned above, the draw for the UK Championship is strictly seeded, meaning that there are a number of potential third round matches between players directly fighting for the three remaining Masters places. These include:
- Mark Williams (14) v Ali Carter (18)
- Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (15) v Joe Perry (20)
- Gary Wilson (16) v Jack Lisowski (17)
Daily updates on the latest standings will be published here at wpbsa.com during the course of the UK Championship as the final 16 are set…