Euro Tour – The Early Running
Victory for Barry Hawkins at the Kaspersky Lab Riga Open on Sunday evening marked the end of the first event of the 2015/16 Kreativ Dental European Tour.
As was the case last season, there will be six events held in total, culminating in the Gdynia Open next February, but even at this early stage there are already some early winners following the action in Latvia.
Players Championship Qualification
Following the capture of his maiden European Tour event, Barry Hawkins has guaranteed himself a spot at this season’s Players Championship event set to take place next March.
Although there is no qualification spot available as such for event winners, his prize of £18,750 will be more than enough to secure him one of the 24 places in the event available via the European Order of Merit.
Similarly, runner-up Tom Ford is also virtually guaranteed a spot at the event having banked £9,000, with the final qualifier last season being John Higgins with £6,583.
Losing semi-finalists Graeme Dott and Ben Woollaston are not quite safe yet, but have given themselves an excellent chance to qualify during the course of the remaining five events.
2016/17 Tour Cards
Again, we might only be two events into the 2015/16 season, but already there have been moves in the race to secure a tour card from the start of the 2016/17 season.
This is in the case of both players who are currently competing as amateurs, as well as professionals on the second year of a two-year tour card, or those currently ranked inside of the top 64 but in danger of dropping out of that bracket at the end of this season.
So of those players, who has got off to a good start?
Although he is now up inside the top 64, Riga runner-up Tom Ford was perilously placed heading into this event, but has now given his ranking a significant boost. Furthermore, even if he were to drop out of the top 64, he is almost certain to be in line to gain a fresh two-year tour card as a result of his position on the European Order of Merit.
It has also been a good weekend for amateur Hammad Miah, who following his two wins at the professional stages of the event has £900 on the board already.
Similarly, current pro Peter Lines, who is in danger of dropping out of the top 64 this season, has also added £900 to his tally, while no fewer than 13 players in a similar position were able to win one match at the weekend and move to £525.
Of course, the picture will change greatly between now and next February, the next opportunity for the players to add to their totals coming at the Paul Hunter Classic event later this month…