Monday 1 March 2021

UK Open draw out

Few interesting games straight off the bat, but first, did I ever make a post analysing the amount of times players drift left? Not sure why else Mardle would have blocked me on Twitter, but oh well, I guess I'll just have to live without his insights into the game.

UK Open draw is done. Disappointing six withdrawals, most we kind of expected but Krcmar missing out is unfortunate, was fairly quiet this week but certainly someone who could have done some damage. Larsson was another odd one, the rest we knew about. So, let's look through each game:

1) Aaron Beeney or Lisa Ashton v Darius Labanauskas - Darius should be extremely comfortable to make round four, but the second round game has got a fair bit more interesting, Ashton went 0-4 and didn't score too great, down in the bottom ten. Same as Beeney, but Aaron having picked up some confidence boosting performances and wins will certainly help.

2) Keane Barry or Geert Nentjes/Richie Burnett v Luke Woodhouse - Interesting section. Burnett didn't make it out of Q-School after a fairly solid Challenge Tour season in 2020, but did end up fairly high up the averages, that said, Geert was looking a fair bit better and probably has to be the favourite. Barry is a step up in class again, scoring a good point and a half better last week than Nentjes was, with Woodhouse ranking closer to Nentjes than Barry. Maybe Luke's experience will count for a little bit.

3) Max Hopp v Willie O'Connor - Hopp appeared quiet this weekend, but quietly put up some good scoring, certainly a fair bit better than we've seen for a while, nearly a whole point better than O'Connor, so maybe Max has a bit of an edge, although it seems like forever since we saw him bink that Euro Tour title, and Willie's definitely done more notable stuff in the interim period, so would say this'll be fairly flippy.

4) Nick Kenny or Ryan Meikle v Kai Fan Leung or Joe Murnan/Matthew Dennant - Looks wide open this one. First game might be a bit one sided, Meikle had a good weekend statistically scoring above 91 compared to Nick's scoring just under 89. On the other side, KFL showed flashes in 2020 and wasn't really off the pace this week, but Murnan's been looking extremely strong of late, and should be favourite to get to round four - although Dennant is a pretty huge banana skin, being one of the top players who didn't get a card in terms of averages. Could be the case that Murnan gets progressively easier opponents in each round.

5) Jonathan Worsley or Andrew Gilding v Scott Mitchell or Lewis Williams/Luc Peters - Another real interesting section. Worsley made names for the right reasons in the first Super Series with a big semi final run, but that seemed like a variance special as he was under 88 scoring for the week, so a clear three points below Gilding who's shown glimpses that he might be getting back to his best. On the other side, Mitchell got a bye and while he's not got a huge amount in the bank to date, certainly played well enough that he should be able to handle either opponent in round two - Williams had some great results but was very up and down, so if there's more down then Peters might be able to quietly pull through, although Williams first made his mark in this event. A Gilding/Mitchell round three game would be too close to call potentially.

6) Harald Leitinger or Karel Sedlacek v Mike de Decker or Rhys Griffin/Sean Fisher - Harald had a pretty disastrous Super Series in terms of scoring, ending as one of three players to score under 80, so Karel should be comfortable enough. On the other side it's hard to look past de Decker, whose scoring was extremely close to Sedlacek's - I don't know a great deal about either of the first round players, Fisher just getting a spot through Q-School and Griffin just getting one from the Dev Tour, in Q-School Rhys was several points higher than Sean so I guess we go with him and then de Decker to advance?

7) James Wilson v Keegan Brown - One of a few straight up third round matches. Brown didn't have a brilliant Super Series, ending at around 89 in scoring with a fair bit of inconsistency. Wilson was also hugely inconsistent, but was right up there with an absurd winning average and could easily have made a bit more money with a couple more solid legs here and there. Keegan's probably done a bit more in 2020, last year wasn't great for James at all, but on current form it should go the other way.

8) Steve West v Jason Lowe - Now here's one where we've got two players who had bad weeks. West was horrendous, finishing way, way down the scoring list and barely scratching above 80, which is not a good sign against someone ordinarily as solid as Lowe - but Jason didn't exactly have a great time of things, but he does have a big negative consistency score so was maybe running into some tricky opponents? His scoring's still way down on what it was last year though. Probably still favour Jason.

9) Kim Huybrechts v Ryan Murray or Krzysztof Kciuk - This'd be a good one to view. Kim looks to be getting close to his best, which is a dangerous level of play that can deal damage to anyone. Murray was quietly good in 2020 and made a bit of a name with a fine worlds performance, while Kciuk was definitely improving rapidly towards the end of the season, but at least on last week he was a bit below Murray, but very close to say the least. Probably Ryan edges it, but I can't see either troubling Huybrechts.

10) Brendan Dolan v Maik Kuivenhoven or Boris Koltsov/Rusty Jake Rodriguez - Interesting international section. Koltsov and Rusty duked it out at Q-School and gave us a lot of data, Rusty actually having better scoring than Boris, although Boris clearly got the better results, and in the Super Series Rusty also had much better scoring. He was looking very good. Maik was tracking extremely similar to Boris last week, scoring is basically identical albeit a fair bit tighter on consistency. Would think if Rusty shows up, he can easily get through to Brendan, and he wasn't scoring that far behind Dolan this week, so maybe he can pull off a big run?

11) Ryan Searle v Robert Collins or Shane McGuirk/Jack Main - Really don't think anyone troubles Ryan here. He's just too good, although the Super Series probably has to go down as an off week, hopefully he makes the requisite adjustments. Collins is in from the Dev Tour and drew a bye, but looked pretty bad at Q-School so either McGuirk or Main have got to fancy their chances. Jack got the card but Shane scored a bit better, and of course got the nine, and was pretty darned close to getting a card in any case, so maybe he should be a small favourite?

12) Ryan Joyce v Cristo Reyes - Hard to call. We've seen fuck all from Reyes forever and he wasn't at Bolton last week. Joyce was and his scoring was fine, although maybe a little bit below the average we come to expect from him. It's really hard to believe that Reyes is in any sort of match condition and will surely be pretty rusty, sure, if he shows his best he can certainly handle Ryan, but I can't see that happening.

13) Mark McGeeney v Steve Beaton - Steve's got to be happy with this draw. In this round having dropped out of the top 32 for the first time since possibly ever, McGeeney's scoring was well below par at Bolton, Steve tracking pretty much exactly ninety a turn which is seven more than Mark was. Beaton's enormous experience and relative level of current performances will surely see him through this one.

14) Ron Meulenkamp v Eddie Lovely or Lorenzo Pronk/Jason Heaver - Jason had a bit of a rough start in terms of results to life with a tour card, but his scoring was steady enough and was maybe a little bit unfortunate. Pronk scored a little bit higher but was very unbalanced, having a few very good legs but plenty of poor ones so maybe Jason's consistency will see him through. Lovely has a similar profile scoring wise to Heaver, but about a point higher all round - not really quick to finish, but got enough to get some results and move through to a first round bye. All depends if Pronk turns up, if not, Lovely against Heaver could be tight and a bit attritious. Ron scored over 90 which is a bit better than any potential opponent, although not by that wide a margin, he certainly wasn't having a great run late in 2020, but if he can turn things round back to 2019 form, he should be fine.

15) Madars Razma v Zoran Lerchbacher/Jim Williams or Gordon Mathers/Kirk Shepherd - Seems wide open does this section from round one. Zoran's scoring in the opening weekend wasn't great, but in Q-School he was about a point higher than Jim was, but I think most people would probably take Jim over what we've seen from both players across their career. Mathers and Shepherd both won cards, and their scoring across the recent Bolton weekend was basically identical. Way too tough to call that one. I would think the winner of that game gets through to face Madars, who had a very good weekend statistically and, importantly, seemed to iron out a bit of the ups and downs from his game, so I think the Latvian will make round four.

16) Ted Evetts v Darren Webster - This should be a fun one. Darren's been on the decline for a bit now, and seemed to lack scoring pretty badly at Bolton and didn't get good results at all, but at the same time, it's about half a point better than Ted's was, but Evetts I think has the higher peak round about now. May well be tight.

17) Wayne Jones or Martijn Kleermaker v Jeff Smith or Berry van Peer/Martin Schindler - Urgh, tricky one to guess is this. Jones didn't play Bolton so we don't have a great line on him, while Martijn didn't look at the races either, so I think we may just ignore that one barring great odds one way or the other and look to the other set. Schindler's looked incredibly solid of late, a long way ahead of van Peer, and has just got that little bit extra scoring power in the winning legs than Jeff has, so I'd take him to nick it, and probably go all the way through to round four.

18) Justin Pipe v Luke Humphries - If both players are firing, this ought to be good, Luke's on my list of players to finally bink this season, while Pipe had a decent 2020 and was at least trending in the right direction. Both were scoring 91 at Bolton, so should be tight, think Luke should have the edge though.

19) John Henderson v Matt Edgar - Ooh, Bolton rematch from when Hendo nicked one against Edgar in a decider. Hendo's had a pretty horrid last twelve months, and was scoring a fair bit worst than Matt, who was quite a bit up and down with some occasional bad legs (he goes into this on his channel), so I think Edgar is the favourite, assuming he can keep things together.

20) Adam Hunt v Martin Lukeman/Maikel Verberk or Scott Taylor/John Michael - Real mix of players here - Lukeman's got a card for the first time, looked pretty competent at Q-School, was maybe a little unfortunate at Bolton but was lacking scoring power. Verberk is here from the Challenge Tour, but was under 85 (in conventional averages) at Q-School, so will take Martin there. Taylor is also in from the Challenge Tour, but we have to compare having good form at this event with looking pretty ordinary at Q-School, albeit not much worse than Michael was, and John's scoring at Bolton was nothing really to shout about. So maybe take the two domestic players and then Lukeman to edge through to Hunt? Adam was meh last week, but was steadily improving in 2020 and should be able to handle this just fine, he does have a lot of experience at this stage.

21) Josh Payne v Keelan Kay/Kevin McDine or Brian Raman/Rowby John Rodriguez - Er, OK then, Kay is here from the Dev Tour, but scored in the 70's at Q-School, McDine blew a card but was a good five points higher so will take Kevin there. Raman also has a Dev Tour spot, was comparable to McDine at Q-School, but was a few points behind Rowby, whose scoring at Bolton was just fine, so I guess we take the Austrian to come through? And then probably beat Payne? Josh's performance in the Super Series wasn't anything to write home about, Rowby was a lot better.

22) Damon Heta v Steffen Siepmann or David Evans - Well, Heta's winning, Evans was well below par at Bolton and Siepmann's been his usual steady self, but that isn't a level that can threaten Damon at all. If David can't improve sharpish Steffen could take it, although I do think David is clearly the better player, he just needs to show it.

23) Steve Lennon v William Borland or Joe Davis/Kevin Doets - That first round game would be a lot of fun to see, two Dev Tour qualifiers, Doets maybe being in the conversation of one of the best players without a card these days while Davis made the world youth final, Kevin should have a clear edge though. Borland didn't have results at Bolton but his game wasn't hugely below par, Kevin is certainly in with a good chance of getting through that one as well. Lennon should be a step too far, he continues to put up very good numbers but just lacks in results, Doets wouldn't be drawing dead but would fancy Steve to take it.

24) Jim McEwan/Sebastian Bialecki or Jitse van der Wal/Florian Hempel v Derk Telnekes or Geert de Vos/Niels Zonneveld - Christ, this is a mess. McEwan I know nothing about. 86 standard average, just missed out at Q-School, meh. Bialecki outscored him, is in from the Dev Tour, certainly seen the name a few times, probably has the edge. van der Wal binked a Challenge Tour last year but did little else throughout the year, but was right next to McEwan in the Q-School averages, but a fair bit behind Hempel, who did come through it. Probably Hempel > Bialecki in round 2, but it's tight. de Vos and Zonneveld both got cards at Q-School, Geert not really performing on the scoring there but binking it outright while Niels scored a lot better and ground it out through consistency. Odd that the scoring at Bolton was the other way around completely. Derk didn't have a good Bolton, and has always seemed to be the sort of player who's done a bit better with results than scoring. Who knows.

25) Jesus Noguera or Pete Hudson/Ryan de Vreede v Alan Tabern or Adam Gawlas/Gino Vos - Nice international feel about this one. Noguera has had his moments on tour and scored a pretty respectable 89 at Bolton last weekend, which is about half a point better than Hudson did, who got a fairly mediocre average at Q-School, but it was still a little bit better than Ryan's. Alan was comparable to Pete, albeit a bit more explosive, which was easily outdone by Gawlas, who ended up in the top ten of averages of all of Q-School, cracking 91 at Bolton, solid start. Vos was averaging 87 at Q-School, which isn't too bad but I can't see him being able to trouble Adam, who may well be the pick to take this round four spot, certainly seems to have the most upside.

26) John Brown/Gavin Carlin or Matt Jackson/Nathan Rafferty v Martin Thomas or Lukas Wenig/Chas Barstow - Another mess of a section. Carlin nearly reclaimed his card, but not quite, but the averages were fine, actually higher than Brown, who only just crept onto the tour, so maybe Carlin, with the greater body of experience, actually has the edge here. Rafferty was unfortunately unable to try to win his card, and if he did, he might have had a very good chance, Jackson was close to getting a card, but not quite, would fancy Nathan here. On the other side, Thomas had a very nice opening weekend at Bolton, although his scoring was a little bit lower than Barstow, who was incredibly unlucky not to get a card and was averaging like a madman. Wenig was in a similar spot, but just slightly lower than Barstow in the averages - but still higher than Thomas. Real tough to call.

27) Andy Boulton v Jelle Klaasen - This is a lot clearer, and may well be one of the ties of the round. Boulton and Klaasen have both done well of late, Boulton's been playing at a consistently high standard for some time now, while Jelle is trending back up after a fair bit of a dip, and this last weekend both were scoring in the 91-92 region per turn, ending up on the first page on my sheet, so I'd expect a high standard of play with Andy maybe having the small edge.

28) Andy Hamilton or Ritchie Edhouse/Damian Mol v Gary Blades or Jake Jones/Dom Taylor - Fun mix of names here. Hammer was not great at Bolton - alright in his winning legs, but way, way down in his losing legs, to the point where he was outscored by three points per turn by Edhouse. What Mol can do is going to be interesting to see, he was just a few hundred quid off winning a card from the Dev Tour, but was right in the middle of the bunch at Q-School. Edhouse maybe? On the other side, Blades looked maybe the best he has done on tour this past week and was a bit unlucky to not return with any cash - he was a good three points higher than Jones at least, who was four points higher than Taylor in the Q-School averages. I do think Gary can take this, and may be able to nick the third round tie as well.

29) Ross Smith v Callan Rydz - Oh boy, what a tie this is. Smith is in the fringes of lists for who'll next bink a Pro Tour event, while Rydz got removed from those lists a few days ago. Smith's scoring at Bolton was just fine, but Rydz was a fair bit better, so you've got to take Callan on current form.

30) Michael Rasztovits or Peter Jacques v Ciaran Teehan or Brett Claydon/Danny Baggish - Hmm, interesting section. Rasztovits drew a bye and will face Jacques, we saw Michael at Bolton and while he picked up an alright win or two, he was a bit below Jacques' standards so I've got to favour Peter. Teehan looked a fair bit better in terms of results at Bolton, but the scoring was down at Rasztovits' levels, so he could be in trouble here, Claydon performed a bit better, and Baggish was a lot better again, so I'm thinking Danny just takes this good draw (which he wasn't getting recently) and takes it into round four.

31) Martin Atkins or Bradley Brooks v Scott Waites or Steve Brown - Should be straight forward. Brooks had a real bad weekend at Bolton. Atkins was a little better, but probably has a lower ceiling than Brooks does, so Bradley can take it if he finds it, but if not, Martin will advance. Brown was also having a rough time, while Waites was continuing the good stuff he was showing in the latter half of 2020. Scott should cruise here.

32) Michael Mansell v Alan Soutar or Raymond van Barneveld - Here's what the TV will pick up on. Barney obviously binked, but Soutar played better. In terms of scoring, Alan was half a point better, just running into tough opponents. Both players are way, way better than Mansell, at least on current form. So whoever comes through this behemoth of a second round tie ought to be comfortable to get another win. Soutar will surely be the value.

Tips will come once I've seen lines.

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