European Order of Merit: Gibraltar Update
Little over a week ago Hong Kong’s Marco Fu claimed his maiden title on the Kreativ Dental European Tour, defeating Michael White 4-1 to win the Dafabet Gibraltar Open.
Victory for Fu earned him the top prize of £18,750 and ensures that he will be among the 32 players battling to win the Players Championship in Manchester next March.
The inaugural tournament in Gibraltar was the penultimate event of this season’s Kreativ Dental European Tour, with just the Gdynia Open to come next February.
As has been the case during the past two seasons, that event represents the last opportunity for players to add prize money to their totals on the European Order of Merit and so will take on added significance in the calendar, with three three crucial ranking battles to be determined.
Battle One – Euro Qualifiers
For some players, their position on the final European Order of Merit will represent their best chance to remain on tour next season. They can do so by finishing as one of the top eight players on the final European Order of Merit, not already qualified for next season’s tour, ie those outide of the top 64 on the main two-year ranking list at the end of this season.
Those in danger of finishing the season outside of the top 64 will therefore be keen to finish as high up on the European Order of Merit to give themselves a second avenue onto the 2016/17 tour.
With just one event to play, the players currently on course to earn a new two-year card this way are bolded:
- Thor Chuan Leong – £4,200
- Ian Burns – £4,050
- Lee Walker – £3,225
- Aditya Mehta – £3,000
- Hammad Miah (amateur) – £2,700
- Zhang Anda – £2,325 (already qualified through Asian Order of Merit)
- Scott Donaldson – £2,250
- Joel Walker – £2,100
- One of: Gerard Greene, Mitchell Mann, Zak Surety and Michael Leslie – all £1,950 (Surety would currently take the spot due to having the best result at the most recent event)
It is always hard to predict what will happen in the final event. Two years ago we saw almost all of the players in contention winning multiple matches as the battle went to the wire, while in 2015 many of the concerned players lost early as a relieved James Cahill clung on to the eighth and final tour card.
Furthermore the position can change depending on what happens between now and the end of the season on the full two-year ranking list. For example if Oliver Lines were to drop out of the top 64, with £4,875 on the European Order of Merit, he would take one of the above places.
A full analysis of the draw and of all the players in contention will follow prior to the event.
Battle Two – Players Championship Places
The second battle concerns the Players Championship event next March and the battle to finish inside the top 24 on the European Order of Merit to qualify for that event.
Following the publication of the Gdynia draw earlier today we already know that players such as Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan cannot qualify for the Players Championship. This is because they are currently outside of that top 24 and have elected not to play in Poland.
To complicate matters further this season, there are also an additional six places to be determined via a combined European/Asian Order of Merit. This could change to four depending on whether a second Asian Tour event will be staged during this season.
Again, further analysis of this battle will follow closer to the tournament in Gdynia.
Battle Three – World Grand Prix Places
Finally, the Gdynia Open also represents the final opportunity for players to add prize money to their totals on the race to qualify for the 2016 World Grand Prix.
Similar to last season, the top 32 players on a one-year list including all events from the 2015 Australian Goldfields Open to the tournament in Gdynia will qualify to play in Llandudno next March on ITV.
Further updates on this particular battle will follow over the next two months, with only the German Masters, Welsh Open and Gdynia Open tournaments still remaining which will count towards qualification.
The Kreativ Dental European Tour concludes with the Gdynia Open from the 24th February 2016.
Visit www.worldsnooker.com for information on how to buy tickets.