SNOOKER analyst George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) takes a look at the Paul Hunter Classic, picking out his strongest outright fancies.
Paul Hunter Classic | Friday 24th- Sunday 26th August 2018
Ranking event number three of the 2018/19 season takes us to Furth in Germany for the Paul Hunter Classic – named after the late three-time Masters champion and inaugural winner here.
From 2004 to 2009, this event was a Pro-Am but from 2010 it became a minor ranking event (now a proper ranking event). It's an identical event to the Gibraltar Open, played in March – best of sevens all the way through the tournament.
The event only contains seven previous ranking event winners, and I'm very keen to take on two of them – Shaun Murphy and Kyren Wilson. Murphy has had a poor start to the season (lost in two qualifiers already) and Wilson I feel is very vulnerable in this short format. He prefers the longer slogs.
Lisowski can go a long way
I kick off my outrights, the first of five, with my headline fancy, the recent Riga Masters runner up, Jack Lisowski. He went well for us in Latvia, and I don't see why he can't again in Germany, be it at 13/2 not 28/1.
Since finishing runner up to Robertson, he lost 5-3 from 3-0 up against Mark Williams in the World Open quarter-final. He has a tendency to play right handed on shots (instead of using the rest) and missed one crucial ball to go 4-2 up on the Welshman. It was said by a few that Lisowski bottled it here.
I'm more in the camp that he's sometimes too confident and thinks that he can pot everything, even right handed. Moving forward, he has a perfect draw in Furth to really go deep. A rock solid each way bet. Momentum is key for Jack. I mentioned earlier why I didn't fancy Kyren Wilson, with the short format. Quite the opposite with Lisowski. Perfect for his quick fire play.
This season, there's not been a more consistent player than Lisowski. He's the classiest player in the field this week. I'm confident he can finally break his ranking title duck here.
Wilson in with a chance
There is a Wilson I do like this week – Gary Wilson – the Wallsend based, former taxi driver, can have a positive say in Furth. An outstanding junior, the former China Open finalist is a top player and can beat anybody.
He's got a very good all round game but is especially lethal in the break building department. Since losing his first match of the season to Michael White in Riga qualifying, Wilson has won seven of his last eight matches, knocking in 21 breaks over 50 in the process including four tons. His only loss was to Barry Hawkins, 5-3 in the World Open QF.
Wilson lost in the quarters here last year. He's closing in on the top 32. It's where he belongs. I won't be at all surprised if Wilson wins a ranking event one day. I'm sure he will be targeting a win this week. He's got the game at 25/1 (28/1 with a boost on Ladbrokes) to be a mighty threat.
Have a dart at Davis
For me, one of the best players never to win a ranking event is Mark Davis from West Sussex. The 46-year-old pro since 1991, is a fabulous cueist. A joy to watch. He was a member of the top 16 in the 2013/14 season. He made the final here in 2011. And is a three time winner of the Six Red World Championship. Davis has made 18 Quarter Finals in his career but only converted five into Semi Finals.
What will inspire Davis, is Anthony Hamilton, who won a first ranking tournament of his career at 45 in the 2016 German Masters. As per usual, he's in very good nick this season. Outside of the top 32, there aren't many more reliable or adaptable competitors than Davis. He can win matches on his experience alone.
Davis had been quoted for the Riga & World Open outrights round 66/1. He's 40/1 this week in a weaker field. I can't leave him out the equation – there won't be a more deserved champion this week.
Big-priced Joyce can give us joy
I feel Mark Joyce is overpriced at 100/1 in Furth. Like Gary Wilson, the Walsall pro made the Quarters here last season. He's made a further five Quarter Finals in his 12 year career including at the German Masters. He does seem to enjoy Germany.
Joyce hasn't enjoyed the best start to the season. He's been having a few issues with his technique. However, he's a real confidence player and a good 5-1 win over James Wattana Monday for the trip to China would have given him belief. 100/1 is a big price for a player who can mix it with the top jollies. I thought he would be 50/1 looking at his path. He's worth a go at double that with Bet365.
Swiss star is too big
At the World Open, I tipped Noppon Saengkham at 200/1 and he lost 6-5 in the Semi Final. In a very similar mould is Alexander Ursenbacher. I like his chances to outrun his 150/1 odds. In the recent qualifying for China, Belgium and India, he's come through in each. That's no mean feat and the 5-0 thrashing of Ben Woollaston on Tuesday for China was very eye-catching.
The 2017 European under-21 champion reached a maiden ranking semi-final last season at the English Open. From then, he disappointingly lost his last nine matches of the 2017/18 season.
It's encouraging to see he's found his form again with three wins on the spin. He's in the same section as Mark Joyce. Obviously they might meet in the last 16 so one will depart. I advise backing both though. While the iron is hot, the ferocious potting Ursenbacher is worth keeping on side. 150/1 is way to big given his form.
Paul Hunter Classic – Jack Lisowski to win (13/2 each-way Betfair)
Paul Hunter Classic – Gary Wilson to win (28/1 each-way Ladbrokes)
Paul Hunter Classic – Mark Davis to win (40/1 each-way Bet365)
Paul Hunter Classic – Mark Joyce to win (100/1 each-way Bet365)
Paul Hunter Classic – Alexander Ursenbacher to win (150/1 each-way Bet Victor)