Legendary cue master Francisco “Django” Bustamante and former world champion Alex Pagulayan face a topnotch competition when the prestigious 2017 World Pool Masters unfolds today at the Tercentenary Sports Hall Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.
Bustamante, fresh from winning the Derby City Classic 9-Ball Banks Division in Indiana, tests the mettle of reigning World Pool 9-Ball champion Albin Ouschan of Austria in the first round of the knockout tournament.
Pagulayan, on the other hand, will be facing the winner in the Gibraltar qualifying tournament scheduled on Thursday night.
The organizers have only invited 16 players – former champions and continental winners – in the three-day meet, which offers a whopping $20,000 to the champion and $10,000 consolation prize to the runner-up.
Semifinalists will get $5,000 and $4,000 to the quarterfinalists while the first-round losers will receive $3,000 each.
The other invited players are 2015 champion Shane Van Boening of the US, second seed Chang Jung Lin of Taiwan and third pick Jayson Shaw of Scotland as well as Wu Jiaqing of China, Niels Feijen of the Netherlands, David Alcaide of Spain, Ralf Souquet of Germany, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz of Spain, Naoyuki Oi of Japan, Wojciech Szewczyk of Poland, Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait and Mark Gray of England.
Seeing action in the first round are Van Boening versus Sanchez-Ruiz, Alcaide versus Souquet, Wu versus Oi, Shaw versus Szewczyk, Chang versus Gray, and Feijen versus the runner-up in the Gibraltar qualifying event.
Souquet holds the most number of titles in the tournament with six (1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2011 while Bustamante (1998 and 2001), Van Boening (2014 and 2015) and Thomas Engert of Germany (2004 and 2007) own two each.