The battle for the final Tour Championship places is heating up after the three remaining contenders advanced to the last 16 of the Gibraltar Open on Saturday.
Mark Allen, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, and Mark Williams have already guaranteed their berths in the lucrative eight-man field in Llandudno.
But the two final Tour Championship spots are yet to be determined for what is the final event in this season’s Coral Cup series.
The Gibraltar Open, with a top prize of just £25,000, may be getting negative coverage from some of the sport’s biggest stars who opted out of participating this year.
For Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham, and David Gilbert, though, it will prove to be the difference between staying at home next week or being included in a new prestigious tournament that will boast only multi-session matches at the Venue Cymru.
Bingham and Wilson are currently set to complete the final Tour Championship line-up but Gilbert’s destiny remains in his own hands.
On the opposite side of the draw to his rival pair, the World Open and German Masters runner-up knows that a maiden ranking event triumph in Gibraltar would guarantee his rise into the top eight on the one-year rankings list.
With £6,000 separating Bingham in seventh and Gilbert in ninth, a number of permutations could see the order change on Sunday.
However, Bingham and Wilson can be assured in the knowledge that should Gilbert exit before the final, the 37 year-old’s chances will be over.
Gilbert faces Daniel Wells in the fourth round in Gibraltar while Bingham and Wilson entertain Kurt Maflin and Robert Milkins in the bottom section of the draw respectively.
With the latter pair of Englishman set to cross paths in the last four, it could make for a dramatic conclusion to this weekend’s ranking event pro-am if the “Angry Farmer” were to manoeuvre his way through to the title decider.
💬 @KyrenWilson: “It’s nice that we’re still in”
Wilson, Stuart Bingham & David Gilbert are all through to the last 16 of the @betway Gibraltar Open.
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) March 16, 2019
Meanwhile, defending champion Ryan Day remains on course to reign again at the Rock after surviving a 4-3 tussle with Elliot Slessor in the third round.
Day overcame Cao Yupeng in the 2018 final for his second ranking event success and will be hoping to rediscover some form ahead of this term’s finale.
Elsewhere, China’s Tian Pengfei progressed after 4-0 victories over Michael Georgiou and Liam Highfield.
Joining four other Chinese competitors who made it through on Friday, Tian will face countryman Yan Bingtao for a place in the last eight.
Andrew Higginson and Gary Wilson were the others to remain in the hunt for glory in the fourth last ranking event of the season.
Wilson takes on Yuan Sijun while the former plays Zhou Yuelong at the Victoria Stadium on the last day.
Live coverage of the 2019 Gibraltar Open continues on Eurosport.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)