The Road to Oz

The first major qualifying event of the new campaign takes place this week as the Australian Open is welcomed into the calendar.

In 1989 there was a snooker tournament scheduled for Down Under but the event had to be moved to Hong Kong because of organising difficulties.

22 years later, aided by a new regime and a recent world champion in Neil Robertson, Australia is firmly back on snooker’s global map.

The qualifiers themselves are being played at the Snooker Academy in Sheffield but it is extremely exciting that the green baize is being formally noticed in Oz.

It will be intriguing to see what level of attendance there will be when the tournament proper gets underway next month but this week will decide what 16 hopefuls will join the elite top 16 in the rankings in the main draw.

There are so many opportunities now to build on your ranking position throughout the year but being the first event everyone will be eager to start successfully.

David Morris and Joe Meara contest an all-Ireland clash while David Hogan takes on Paul Davison in the first qualifying round.

Those who begin tomorrow will have to battle through four rounds to progress to the main event.

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