Some of the greatest snooker players of all time will raise funds for the Father Ray Foundation at the Pattaya Snooker Open at the Amari Orchid Resort & Tower next year.
The world’s top players from Europe and Thailand – including Ken Doherty, Jimmy White, John Higgins, Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, James Wattana, Dechawat Poomjaeng, and Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn – will compete over three days in the last week of August 2015, with 500 seats available for fans to take in the action.
Funds raised will go to the Father Ray Foundation’s education fund.
The tournament will be held under the supervision and rules of the European Billiards & Snooker Association, International Billiards and Snooker Federation and Billiards Sports Association of Thailand.
Organizers, players and benefactors gather for a group photo during the press conference announcing next year’s Pattaya Snooker Open at the Amari Orchid Resort & Tower to benefit the Father Ray Foundation.
The marquee players will bring a long list of titles and accomplishments to the Pattaya tourney.
Thanawat, nicknamed “Thai-namite,” reached the final 32 of the 2011 German Masters and was the youngest player at just 16 years of age to get a maximum 147 break. He was a quarter finalist at the 2013 European Tour Events 5 and 6, and winner of the IBSF World Under-21 Snooker Championships in 2011 and, in 2009 and 2010, a semifinalist at the ACBS Asian Snooker Championship.
James Wattana from Thailand was relegated from snooker’s main tour after a disappointing 2013/2014 season but will enter the Open with a special invitation extended from World Snooker. He was the first player from the Far East to make a significant impact in professional snooker and his success inspired a rapid growth of interest in Asia. He enjoyed most his success in the 1990s and his last significant win was the 2003 Euro-Asia Masters invitation event in Hong Kong.
Dechawat Poomjaeng reached the last 32 of five world-ranking events during the 2013/2104 season. Perhaps the highlight of his season was scoring the first official 147 break of his career during a match against Zak Surety in the German Masters qualifiers in December 2014. Dechawat captured the imagination of the snooker public with a brilliant run in the 2013 World Championship. He won four matches to qualify for the Crucible for the first time. He became the seventh Thai player to win the World Amateur Championship when he beat India’s Pankaj Advani 10-7 in the final in Damascus, Syria in 2010. He also won a bronze medal in the Asian games in 2010.
Ken Doherty from Ireland saved his best until last during the 2013/14 season, finishing the campaign with a run to the last 16 of the World Championship. After beating Dechawat 10-5 in the final qualifying round, Doherty scored a 10-5 victory over Stuart Bingham, the first time he had won a match at the Crucible since 2006. He finished the season at number 33 in the world rankings. In 2012 he made his first-ever official 147 at the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany. At the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open, Doherty beat Stephen Maguire, Liang Wenbo and Mark Selby to reach the semi-finals, before his run was ended by Mark Williams.
John Higgins from Scotland had a promising start to the 2013/14 season, winning the Bulgarian Open European Tour event in Sofia. He went on to reach the final of the first ranking event of the campaign, the Wuxi Classic in China. However, the rest of the campaign brought little joy to Higgins. He did reach three consecutive ranking-event quarter finals, at the Welsh Open, World Open and Players Championship, where he suffered a 10-7 first round defeat against Alan McManus. Higgins won his 25th and most recent ranking title at the 2012 Shanghai Masters.
Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn, aka “Nook Sakol” from Thailand, was the runner up in the 2013 Thailand Championship as well as being the runner up in the Thailand 6-red championship 2014. Nook also won the 2014 Nakhon Pathom Cup and was a 2014 Asian Championship quarter-finalist. Nook had a fantastic run at this year’s 6 reds in Bangkok to make it through to the semi-finals and achieving the highest ranking of a Thai player to date at the 6 Reds World Championship.
Jimmy White from England was in danger of dropping off snooker’s main tour for much of the 2013/14 season, but rescued himself with a run to the last 16 of the China Open. He won three matches before Mark Selby ended his progress in Beijing. Still, he had to wait on results at The World Championship to find out whether he would keep his tour card, and breathed a sigh of relief when Michael Wasley lost in the last 16 at the Crucible which meant that White finished the season ranked 64th in the world. After three decades of trying, White finally landed a world title in 2010, although not quite the one he wanted. He won the Seniors World Championship, beating Steve Davis 4-1 in the final in Bradford. The Londoner’s last major success came at the 2004 Players Championship at the SECC in Glasgow.