Tour Championship draw
Snooker News

Tour Championship Draw and Preview

The conclusion of the Gibraltar Open on Sunday simultaneously completed the Tour Championship draw for this week’s lucrative ranking event in Llandudno.

The top eight players on the one-year ranking list are invited to compete in the exciting climax to this season’s inaugural Coral Cup series.

Mark Allen, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, and Mark Williams had already guaranteed their places at Venue Cymru.

Stuart Bingham’s super triumph in Gibraltar duly ensured his participation, leaving just one further place up for grabs in the Tour Championship draw.

A defeat for Kyren Wilson in the last 16 left the door ajar for David Gilbert to snatch a late position in the line-up.

But the 37 year-old, who crucially lost to Wilson in the final of the German Masters last month, bowed out in the quarter-final and ultimately fell just a few thousand pounds short.

As it is, the octet looks pretty impressive with a proven mix of world champions and ranking event winners, as well as current and former world number ones.

Indeed, the only competitor in the field who has never garnered silverware in a Triple Crown tournament is Kettering’s Wilson.

The Coral Cup series boasts three tournaments, all of which are staged on ITV4 and carry significant prize funds.

The initial World Grand Prix featured the top 32 on the one-year ranking list with the £100,000 champion’s cheque awarded to Trump.

O’Sullivan then emerged victorious in the 16-man Players Championship earlier in March, collecting £125,000 in capturing a 35th career ranking title.

There’s a whopping £150,000 on offer for the Tour Championship and an exciting new format that will have traditionalists jumping for joy.

That’s because for the first time since the 2010 UK Championship, a ranking event other than the World Championship will be contested in its entirety while utilising multi-session encounters.

The quarter-finals will be played over the best of 17 frames before a pair of last four affairs that will last 19 frames.

Excitingly, the title decider will take three sessions to complete, taking place on Saturday evening and across Sunday in a battle that is scheduled for 25 frames.

Bingham, who admitted that getting into the Tour Championship draw was one of his goals for the season, will take on favourite O’Sullivan at the opening hurdle.

The 42 year-old famously ousted the “Rocket” en route to claiming the 2015 world crown but, if O’Sullivan produces the level that he displayed in Preston last week, it’s undoubtedly going to be a difficult task.

Wilson’s reward for scraping into the mix is a meeting with top seed Allen in what is a repeat of last year’s Masters final.

The remaining couple of fixtures provide two mouthwatering prospects with Selby taking on Robertson and Williams entertaining Trump.

Selby will be looking to defend a world number one position that he has held since winning the 2015 German Masters.

An O’Sullivan success in the tournament would result in there officially being a new top player for the first time in more than four years.

Interestingly, the pair have landed on opposite brackets, meaning a possible mammoth final showdown in store with more than just the trophy at stake.

Victory for O’Sullivan would also see him draw level on the all-time ranking event winners list with Stephen Hendry on 36.

Plenty to look forward to in Wales this week.

Tour Championship Draw
Mark Allen (1) vs Kyren Wilson (8)
Mark Selby (5) vs Neil Robertson (4)
Judd Trump (3) vs Mark Williams (6)
Stuart Bingham (7) vs Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Click here to view the full Tour Championship draw (Times: CET)

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