Another week and another ranking event as the Shoot Out at the Colosseum in Watford follows the Welsh Open that finished on Sunday.
Shout Out for the Shoot Out
The 2020 Snooker Shoot Out got under way on Thursday, returning to the calendar for the tenth straight year.
Once again a ranking event, the Shoot Out is widely regarded as the most controversial tournament on the schedule.
Incorporating a variation on the traditional rules of the game, players need to win only seven frames to win the trophy and the £50,000 top prize.
This year’s edition is the third leg in the European Series – a four tournament swing in which the highest earner will pocket an additional £150,000 bonus.
Front-runners Neil Robertson and Judd Trump haven’t entered, so there’s a slim chance for one from the chasing pack to narrow the gap ahead of next month’s Gibraltar Open.
The Shoot Out is also the last counting event in the Race to the Players Championship, which takes place next week in Southport.
Sixteen competitors will line up for the second Coral Series tournament and reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is currently defending the 16th and final qualifying spot.
The “Rocket” gets his Shoot Out campaign going on Friday night against former Masters champion Alan McManus.
On the opening day, the likes of defending champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Mark Williams, and Kyren Wilson survived the opening hurdle.
Mark Selby, Mark Allen, and Stuart Bingham were among those to bow out after just ten minutes of action.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)
🗣 “The chance to win £50k is unbelievable”
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) February 20, 2020
Murphy’s Magic at the Motorpoint Arena
Shaun Murphy became the fourth player this season to capture more than one ranking event title when he romped to Welsh Open glory on Sunday in Cardiff.
The “Magician” produced a clinical display to hammer Kyren Wilson with a 9-1 scoreline.
When Murphy lost to Trump in the final of the International Championship last summer, it represented a sixth defeat in a ranking event final on the trot.
But the former world champion stopped the rot shortly after by claiming the China Championship honours and there was simply no stopping him at the Motorpoint Arena.
Murphy has now won nine ranking titles, spanning 15 years on the circuit, and he will be feeling confident ahead of the World Championship in April.
Hugill Wins Challenge Tour 9
Ashley Hugill emerged as the winner of the ninth Challenge Tour event of the season at the Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llanelli last weekend.
Hugill beat Sydney Wilson in the final, one of several fellow former professionals that he overcame en route to success.
With the £2,000 champion’s cheque, the 25 year-old moved to the top of the Challenge Tour order of merit standings.
The player who finishes at the top come the end of the campaign will gain an automatic ticket to the pro tour.
However, as Hugill is already guaranteed his promotion after his victory in last month’s WSF Open in Malta, Andrew Pagett in second is the next in line to benefit from the opportunity.
As the fifth Challenge Tour event was postponed earlier this term, it means that there are still two tournaments left to contest.
The Shoot Out will be the main focus this weekend as the clock counts down yet more silverware being awarded.
Quickly following that will be the Players Championship, which gets under way on Monday.