2015 Champion of Champions open without snooker star O’Sullivan
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 9, 2015
2015 Champion of Champions Snooker
Green Baize champs from past year play, but Rocket absent
Ronnie O’Sullivan has opted against defending his Champion of Champions Snooker title, despite winning the UK title in a memorable 10-9 final against Judd Trump last December in York.
The Rocket is yet to play in a tournament this season on medical grounds due to chronic insomnia and was last seen in action when losing at the Crucible to eventual 2015 World Snooker champion Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals.
Without Rocket Ronnie, the show must go on, and this year’s Champion of Champions event in Coventry has a wide open feel to it.
Wide open field in West Midlands
Nobody can call 2015 Grand Prix winner Trump a strong favourite for this event at 7/2, but he heads the betting from Gdynia Open champ Neil Robertson (4/1), China Open victor Mark Selby (11/2) and Masters holder Shaun Murphy (also 11/2).
In O’Sullivan’s absence, 10/1 tournament chance John Higgins is the top seed following three tournament wins in 2015. He could be worth a punt to follow up on early season triumphs at the Australian Goldfields Open and International Championship here. Odds of 11/8 say the Wizard of Wishaw will win his Champion of Champions group.
Joining the above names and Bingham as seeds are Riga Open champ Barry Hawkins and Players Championship winner Joe Perry. Each of the top eight will play unseeded opponents first before facing a group final, then the semis and tournament final.
This means there are some tough first round fixtures for the likes of Hawkins, Higgins and Selby in the draw. The seeded Scot takes on Ali Carter, who won the Paul Hunter Classic; the Hawk encounters Bulgarian Open champion and consistent top 16 player Mark Allen; and the Jester from Leicester meets fiery Glaswegian and Lisbon Open holder Stephen Maguire.
2015 Champion of Champions Snooker draw
Group 1 (November 11th)
John Higgins (1) v Ali Carter
Joe Perry (8) v Michael Whie
Group 2 (November 12th)
Shaun Murphy (5) v Yan Bingtao
Neil Robeetson (4) v Rory McLeod
Group 3 (November 10th)
Stuart Bingham (3) v Zhou Yuelong
Judd Trump (6) v Kyren Wilson
Group 4 (November 13th)
Barry Hawkins (7) v Mark Allen
Mark Selby (2) v Stephen Maguire
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