Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Going to Galway

It's time to turn up the heat as the players return for the final section of a packed campaign.

A break in the busy snooker calendar has become somewhat of a scarce luxury this season but, after just over a week off the baize, the boys are ready to return.

A trip to Galway, Ireland, for the PTC Grand Finals is the start of the final three ranking events of this year's circuit and a sure sign the World Championship is on its way.

The 24 players making the trip across the Irish Sea to play for the £70,000 top prize is a mix of players from across the rankings who best performed in this season's 12 PTC events.

With a mix of household names, more experienced professionals and the game's emerging talents ready to cue up it promises to be another excellent feast of snooker. One of the best parts about the PTC Grand Finals - being played for a second time - is that it's an event played with just one table. This gives all the tournament's competitors a chance to shine in front of the TV cameras.

The likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson, Stephen Maguire, John Higgins and Mark Selby are among the more well-known stars competing but it isn't a completely star-studded line-up. Mark Williams, Mark Allen and last year's winner, Shaun Murphy, all failed to make the cut this time round.

Completing the draw includes this season's PTC winners Andrew Higginson, Ben Woollaston , Tom Ford and Michael Holt, who this week have the chance to earn more money and vital ranking points as a result of their trophy triumphs.

There's also Jack Lisowski, Jamie Jones and Xiao Guodong competing alongside more seasoned professionals including Fergal O'Brien, Mark Davis and Dominic Dale.

The mix of names in the hat makes for an intriguing competition, and it's great to be back in Ireland too. It's always been one of the favoured stop-off points on the calendar and this event should prove to be no different.

It's good to be back.

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