Michael Holt faces a do-or-die bid to remain on the World Snooker Tour after slumping to a 4-2 defeat to Zhao Jianbo at event two of snooker Q School in Sheffield.
The former Shoot Out winner suffered a shock 4-3 defeat in the second round of event one to 17-year-old amateur Nattanapong Chaikul last week and could not stave off another premature exit to 18-year-old Zhao in the fourth round.
Holt – who joined the professional circuit in 1996 – faces the end of his 26-year stay on the main circuit unless he can claim one of the final four tour cards available at event three of Q School.
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The Nottingham player finished the 2021/22 season in 65th spot after a 6-3 loss to Tom Ford in the third round of World Championship qualifying last month at the English Institute of Sport.
Holt made a superb 142 break – the highest break of the event – to level at 2-2 against Zhao, but lost the sixth frame on the black to crash out.
Zhao enjoyed runs of 61 and 73 to progress. He faces Chris Totten on Thursday night needing two more wins to secure his spot on the main circuit with event two finishing on Friday morning.
2020 world quarter-final Kurt Maflin ran out a 4-2 winner against Ben Hancorn. The Norwegian pieced together breaks of 50, 59 and 97 with his opponent contributing 52 and 101.
Maflin faces Sanderson Lam or Tyler Rees on Thursday night.
Event three begins on Saturday before Q School concludes on Thursday.
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Fergal O'Brien, Rod Lawler, Andy Lee and Bai Langning claimed the first four tour cards last week from a total of 12 available at Ponds Forge.
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An Asia-Oceania Q School will also take place in Bangkok for the first time starting on 1 June with another four tour cards on the line.
Two events are to be hosted in Thailand's capital city with the finalists from both earning a two-year card to the elite circuit.
19-year-old Julien Leclercq of Belgium clinched a two-year tour card with victory at the Q Tour play-offs.
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