Australian Goldfields Open 2015: Qualifying Preview


New season, new players and new qualifying venue as Monday sees the start of the 2015 Australian Goldfields Open qualifiers from the K2 in Crawley.

  • Click here to view the tournament draw at snookerorg

With the event coming so early in the season, it is not surprising to see that a number of professionals have opted to sit the event out and the result is that a large number of places in the draw have been awarded to top up players from the Q School Order of Merit.

Without wanting to fully explore the debate as to top up players here, their inclusion has been a subject of some debate on social media during the course of the last few days. For me, while it is perhaps not ideal to see the mixture of professional and amateur players that we have, the scenario is infinitely preferable to the alternative of having several byes that would otherwise be the case.

Looking at the draw, world number 26 Martin Gould is the top seed in qualifying, highlighting that there are nine players above him in the rankings who have skipped the event, notably Ding Junhui, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Barry Hawkins and Mark Williams from the top 16, as well as Graeme Dott, Ryan Day, Liang Wenbo, Alan McManus and Anthony McGill outside of that bracket.

Other members of the top 64 to miss the event are Matthew Stevens, Kurt Maflin, Dechawat Poomjaeng, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Yu Delu, Cao Yupeng and Robin Hull, while although he had entered, IBSF world champion Yan Bingtao has unfortunately not been granted a visa to enable him to play his first tournament as a professional.

Turning to the format, the first round in theory sees seeds 65-96 take on 97-128, although due to the numerous non-entries there will in fact be only 29 professionals involved, all up against amateur top ups, while there are even a few all-amateur match-ups.

From there, the winners take on those seeded 33-48, before the winners of those matches play each other and then finally those seeded 17-32 play their only match in the final qualifying round.

In terms of points of interest, it is often the case at these early season events that those players who have either just qualified from, or have at last played at Q School are even more of a threat to their professional opponents, who can be rusty at this time of year, the majority not having played a competitive match since the World Championship qualifiers in early April.

I will also be interested to see how a few of the newcomers get on, as well as the like of Hossein Vafaei Ayouri and top up player Zhao Xintong, who begins against fellow amateur Kuldesh Johal. If you fancy them to do well, check out these free bet codes and take a look at the latest odds.

As ever at this event, matches will be played over the best of nine frames from Monday, through to the fourth and final qualifying round on Friday.

In terms of rankings, please note that at this stage I am unable to published a new projected seedings list, pending confirmation of this season’s seeding cut-off dates from World Snooker.