US OPEN: Bourne man goes Stateside chasing Mosconi Cup place

Mark Gray is jetting off around the world looking to secure his place in the Mosconi Cup.

Tuesday, 11th October 2016, 7:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:10 pm

Gray missed out on qualifying for the annual Europe-USA shoot-out at the Leende Open in Holland last month.

The 43 year-old from Bourne needed to match the performance of Niels Feijen to edge him out at the top the European rankings.

But he finished fifth and the Dutchman went on to win the tournament.

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Gray remains second in the combined World and European rankings behind Feijen with the US and Kuwait Opens to come before the Mosconi Cup at Alexandra Palace in December.

Gray knows finishing second behind Fiejen on the World and European list will be enough to book his place in the European team.

He currently has a nine-point lead over third-placed Jason Shaw going into the US Open that gets underway in Norfolk, Virginia on October 16.

Gray said: “Jason is a massive threat. I leapfrogged him by finishing fifth in Holland, but he is based in the States and knows the tables over there.

“I usually give the US Open a miss, but this year, my hand has been forced after what happened in Holland.

“I was happy to finish fifth, but then Niels went on to win it and robbed me right at the end. I couldn’t have done much more.

“I had a really tough draw and beat the world champion Albin Ouschan.

“That was a big scalp and it shows that when I play my ‘A’ game, I can beat anybody.

“I haven’t qualified yet, but I still have a chance. It’s going to be tough.

“The best players in the world will be at the US Open. I finished 25th there before and while that doesn’t sound great, there were around 300 there.”

Even if Gray doesn’t qualify for the Mosconi Cup via the rankings, there’s still a chance he will be handed a wild card to compete in the event for the third time in front of the Sky Sports cameras.