Snooker Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou has squeezed into the top 32 in the World Grand Prix Order of Merit standings, qualifying for next week’s event in Preston at the last opportunity.
The 30 year-old, who by representing Cyprus became only the second European from outside the UK and Ireland to claim a ranking title on Sunday, moved up to no.29 in the list after collecting the £32,000 top prize at the Watford Colosseum.
Georgiou said after his maiden success: “What a feeling and what a weekend!”
“I just want to thank everyone for the great support and the kind words sent this weekend.
“I’m trying to get back to all of you who have sent kind messages. It still hasn’t sunk in!”
Georgiou will also make a significant leap up the official world rankings, rising up into the top 64 at no.59 – but is still the lowest ranked qualifier for the Guild Hall.
Defending World Grand Prix champion Barry Hawkins failed to do enough to earn a return to the scene of his last ranking event success twelve months ago.
Hawkins, needing a minimum of a run to the final in the Shoot Out, lost to eventual runner-up Graeme Dott in the last 16.
Dott comfortably qualifies for next week’s lucrative event, where the players will be fighting it out for a £100,000 champion’s cheque, after reaching the final in both of the last two ranking events.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will be the top seed in Preston after accumulating just shy of half a million pounds in prize money so far this campaign.
5dimes will have lines on the best odds in the market, which have O’Sullivan as the slight favourite ahead of Mark Selby for the World Grand Prix title.
Mark Williams, winner of both the Northern Ireland Open and the German Masters in a resurgent period for the Welshman, will be the second seed.
All of this season’s ranking event winners have earned their place, including Paul Hunter Classic champion Michael White who just about held on to secure his berth in 30th spot.
In all, only two members of the top 16 will fail to gain an invite – the aforementioned Hawkins and also Marco Fu, who has taken some time out from the sport in order to recover from eye surgery.
Former World Grand Prix runner-up Stuart Bingham, who only recently returned from a ban for betting, hung on to claim one of the final places, just £3,000-odd ahead of Tom Ford who was the unfortunate player in 33rd position that just missed out.
The season’s Order of Merit winnings will also determine the top 16 players who will qualify for March’s Players Championship.