Snooker in September
Snooker in August concluded with the Paul Hunter Classic last weekend as Michael White captured his second ranking event title in Furth. The Welshman counted world number one Mark Selby and the in-form Shaun Murphy among his victims as he pocketed the £20,000 champion’s cheque at the Stadthalle in Germany.
It was also a landmark month for Luca Brecel, who became the first player ever from mainland Europe to win a ranking tournament.
The Belgian inflicted what would be the first of successive final defeats on Murphy when he triumphed in the China Championship in Guangzhou.
Murphy has been in sizzling hot form but was unable to add to his trophy cabinet so far in 2017/18 and will turn his attention to September in the hope of landing some silverware.
September was once the traditional starting month of the snooker season but now finds itself right in the middle of a busy campaign.
The next few weeks have an especially Asian-leg feel to it with three tournaments to be contested across three different countries across the continent.
The World 6 Red Championship is first up next week with 32 players invited to contest the annual short format battle in Thailand.
Ding Junhui will return as the defending champion alongside a host of other professionals and a handful of amateur competitors.
Despite not being loved by all, 6 red snooker has attracted enough attention in the last decade or so to warrant a sustainable World Championship, and that’s been highlighted by what’s arguably the strongest field ever assembled this year in Bangkok.
Shortly following that will be the fourth ranking event of this term with the Indian Open back on the calendar for a fourth time since 2013.
Anthony McGill emerged victorious with a maiden ranking event trophy last summer and will be hoping to take advantage of another depleted field again with several of the marquee names opting out of India.
Into the second half of September quickly comes the World Open, which has replaced the Shanghai Masters from its usual spot on the schedule.
This edition of the World Open is a much more lucrative competition compared to previous outings with the champion set to receive a whopping £150,000.
This prize puts it in line with other major Chinese events, the China Championship and the International Championship, and just behind the £170,000 on offer for the UK.
Ali Carter is the defending champion but chose not to enter again this year, a decision perhaps made before the significant increase in prize fund was announced.
Yushan as a destination isn’t the easiest of places to get to in China but the players will certainly be well paid if they can manage to reach the business end on this occasion.
Finally, the end of the month sees the qualifying round for the International Championship played out, a tournament that in recent seasons has attempted to lay claim to being the fourth major and biggest event outside the United Kingdom.
Like all the previous preliminaries this season, the competitors will descend on the Preston Guild Hall for five days of action in which 128 will be whittled down to the 64 who will feature at the venue stage.