The Welshman had been in the doldrums for a couple of years after a dismal run of form.
There is a £50,000 cheque on offer for the champion at the Marshall Arena.
There are 64 players still hoping to beat the clock and collect the £50,000 top prize.
The Northern Irishman previously reached the final of the competition in 2013.
The quick-paced ranking event returns for another edition on the calendar.
The fast-paced tournament will have a very different outlook this year while being played behind closed doors.
The four-tournament swing provided a handsome bonus that motivated some of the marquee names to enter the smaller events.
Nine tournaments are scheduled to take place from the start of the campaign until Christmas.
This week was another that saw a ranking event end and another begin as Michael Holt bagged his first title at this level on Sunday in Watford.