Snooker News

Thor Thunders Past Ding

Another hectic day in the Gdynia Open saw the last 16 line-up completed in this season’s final European Tour event in Poland.

Thor Chuan Leong Welsh Open

Thor, 27, also reached the last 16 of the Paul Hunter Classic – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The action also had many implications concerning the various races in the rankings and order of merits for upcoming tournaments and tour survival.

The Gdynia Open is the last counting ranking event towards the Players Championship and World Grand Prix, while competitors ranked outside the world’s top 64 have been jostling for the top eight places on the European Tour Order of Merit who are offered two-year tour cards at the end of this campaign.

In that respect, it was a fantastic day for Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong, who reached round four with a superb 4-1 victory over Ding Junhui.

His progress all but guarantees him a ticket onto the pro circuit next season via the OoM, while he is also just one further win away from qualifying for the Players Championship as well.

It was a similarly important day for English duo Liam Highfield and Ryan Causton, who both also won their three opening matches to jump into contention for those coveted eight spots.

Highfield came from 3-0 down to steal victory from Robin Hull on the final black while amateur Causton enjoyed superb victories over Ryan Day and David Gilbert.

Should both reach the quarter-finals, it would put them in a strong position to qualify for a tour card, again through the OoM.

This leaves tour veteran Anthony Hamilton in a precarious position as he currently occupies the eighth and last position in these standings.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson’s hat-trick of wins ensures he will feature at the Players Championship, barring a very unusual set of results on Sunday.

Chinese youngster Zhou Yuelong needs a semi-final appearance to help his chances of qualifying for Manchester but is up against Barry Hawkins next, with the Riga Open champion securing triumphs over Yu Delu, Jimmy Robertson and Joe Perry.

Elsewhere, German Masters champion Martin Gould maintained his good form of late but will need to at least reach the final if he is to book a spot at the Players Championship while Ben Woollaston was another to progress to the final day.

In the race for the World Grand Prix, Stephen Maguire continues to hold onto the 32nd and final spot but Zhou, Andrew Higginson, Mark King and, in particular, Rory McLeod could all dislodge the Scot with an extended run.

It’s all a bit complicated but away from all that there’s actually still a title to be contested with almost £20,000 up for grabs for the champion in what is potentially the last ever European Tour event.

If you do want to keep up to date with all the various permutations though, I suggest popping over to Matt Huart’s ProSnookerBlog for extensive coverage on the matter.

Click here to view the full draw.

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