The Bulgarian Open gets under way on Friday as the fourth European Tour of the season hits Sofia.
Indeed, the tournament has already been running for the last two days as the preliminary rounds determined the amateurs who were able to join the main draw and make up the numbers.
Among those are Irish duo Brendan O’Donoghue and Josh Boileau, who each came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the last 128.
Their rewards are meetings with world champions, with Irish national champion O’Donoghue to challenge Peter Ebdon today and Boileau tasked with facing current Crucible king Stuart Bingham tomorrow.
Boileau is in good form this week following his run to the final of the Irish Open last Sunday – the showdown with Michael Judge still to be played – while O’Donoghue will be building on his confidence ahead of his attempt at IBSF World Championship glory next week in Egypt.
Dubliners Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien are also competing and the former is automatically into the second round following the withdrawal of Jimmy White.
O’Brien plays England’s Michael Georgiou and could meet O’Donoghue in the next round should the pair emerge from their opening bout unscathed.
Elsewhere, the draw is of course a busy one with plenty of encounters to be played out before the last 16 is determined for Sunday’s showdown.
Some intriguing early ties, though, include the repeat of the Six Red World Championship final between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Liang Wenbo, and Xiao Guodong’s tie against Ben Woollaston.
A few of the top stars aren’t in attendance but the likes of John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump, Mark Allen and Bingham ensure that it’ll be a highly competitive field as always.