Sunday, 26 June 2011

Doing battle to go down under

Qualification for the first Australian Goldfields Open begins tomorrow.

With 100 professional tour cards now up for grabs, instead of the traditional 96, an extra round of qualifying has been created.

But with only 99 cards handed out so far, Marco Fu and Igor Figueredo not entering and Indian wildcard winner Lucky Vatnani choosing not to show for his first major ranking event match against Kurt Maflin, it's the traditional 96 players battling it out, and no need for any preliminary matches this evening.

Not only does tomorrow mark the start of the first major ranking event of the new season, but it's also the first down under in Australia, so there's plenty of excitement from the players.

With the start to this season being a lot earlier than usual, you can expect many of the results to come down to who's put in the hardest hours of practise over their shortened summer.

It was obvious from the PTC1 competition that not everyone was as sharp on the baize as you'd expect for the beginning of a fresh campaign. But this event means a whole lot more.

Despite a bit of ring rust, I'm expecting competition to be as fierce as ever in Sheffield this week.

The opening round sees tour debutant and Belgium wonderkid Luca Brecel begin his trail to the southern hemisphere against Sam Baird, while Grimsby's Stuart Carrington takes on Scott Mackenzie.

Daniel Wells returns against veteran James Wattana, in form Q School victor David Gilbert meets Passakorn Suwannawat and Crucible qualifier Andrew Pagett takes on Adam Wicheard.

Other interesting ties pair young sensation Kacper Filipiak with Li Yan, newley-wed Ben Woollaston with Adam Duffy, and the talented Sam Craigie with David Grace.

Let's hope it's a g'day mate!

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