Judd Trump still has a lot of thinking to do ahead of the Northern Ireland Open. The Jester from Leicester would still be reeling in the thoughts of losing out to Neil Robertson in the finals of the Champion of Champions tournament. Consequently, he passed on the opportunity to pocket a £150,000 cheque.
The first shots of the Northern Ireland Open will take place on Monday, and Judd Trump would be looking to avoid an upset against the underdog, James Cahill.
It would be a tall order for James Cahill, though. Judd Trump remains the defending champion of this tournament, and it was at this very scene that his year-long rise back to the summit of the sport all began.
Since then, he’s gone on to lift five additional titles including the prestigious masters and the World Championship.
He’s definitely the man to beat this year, getting into the final of the Champion of Champions just one week after landing the World Open crown in Yushan.
That said, James Cahill famously ousted Ronnie O’Sullivan from the Crucible last year and should be a tough nut to crack for the World Champion.
Ronnie O’Sullivan then takes on Oliver Lines in the opening round. Quite unusually, the Rocket takes a very relaxed approach to the tour at present. O’Sullivan who’s lifted 36 titles in his career so far doesn’t really give off the impression that he cares very much
about the event.
Most big hitters are expected to feature in the Nothern Ireland Open. A notable absentee, however, is Mark Williams who was the tournament’s champion in 2017.
The Champion of Champions winner, Neil Robertson who’s already started his week on a good note is expected to continue his good run of form when he takes on Mark Joyce.
John Higgins is tied for an easier schedule. The former world champion should be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on emerging Chinese star Chang Bingyu.
Most people will have their eyes on Mark Selby. The English man is the only one still realistically in the race for the unlikely £1 million bonus for bagging all four Home Nations titles.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is priced at 3.85 to win the 2019 Northern Ireland Open, while strong rival Judd Trump is given 4.20.
Written by: Roland Arum