Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Heading to Munich

The second and most crucial half of the season kicks off on Friday as the PTC roadshow rolls to Munich for its final chapter.

Sixteen remaining potters are crossing to Germany to fight it out at another of the exciting European venues, which have been the real success story of this season's series.

PTC12 is the final short format pro-am event of the campaign and being held in Germany is a fitting end.

Fans are expected to turn it in their droves, showing more hard evidence of the current snooker boom in Germany.

We've seen this season it's no myth how much the Europeans love snooker and while numerous PTCs held in Sheffield have flattered to deceive, the European-staged tournaments have been a real draw.

This event is likely to be no different, not least because it's the last chance for player's to claim their place in the vital top 24 in the Order of Merit, to qualify for the PTC Grand Finals being hosted in Ireland later this year.

To view the current standings in the Order of Merit, click here

The final PTC of the season also stands a good chance of producing another winner from outside of the game's top circle of players.

Mark Allen, Martin Gould and Stephen Maguire are the only three top 16 players to make it this far but have yet to won one of the events between them before.

Lower down the ranks, the likes of Michael Holt, Marcus Campbell and Andrew Higginson have already chalked up PTC wins and will be keen to add to their tally.

There's plenty of other contenders around too. Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry has definitely got the experience and will have a large proportion of the crowd on his side. Ricky Walden and Marco Fu are two of the form men after their runs in the UK Championship, while Joe Perry has plenty of experience as well.

Interestingly, a win for Walden would also see Ronnie O'Sullivan slip out of the top 16 at the forthcoming seedlings revisions.

Or will the trophy be lifted by an even more unlikely contender? China's Xiao Guodong has been one of the success stories of the season so far. Could he follow in the footsteps of Ding Junhui to become a ranking event winner?

David Grace is scrapping for his life to stay on tour, Mike Dunn is on the comeback trail after suffering from kidney stones, David Gilbert is enjoying life back on the professional circuit and Kurt Maflin is desperate to become the first Norwegian to win a World Snooker event.

Then, there's David Gray. Are we ready to see the first amateur win a PTC?

You can put forward a strong argument for any of these players putting together a run of four wins to claim the title. Whoever comes out on top, you won't miss a trick following with Eurosport's continued great coverage.

Last 16 draw:

Kurt Maflin v Andrew Higginson
Marcus Campbell v Michael Holt
Ricky Walden v Xiao Guodong
David Gilbert v Joe Perry
Mike Dunn v Mark Allen
Stephen Hendry v Marco Fu
David Grace v Martin Gould
Stephen Maguire v David Gray

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