NEIL Robertson will return to Bendigo next month in a bid to win an elusive first Australian Goldfields Open snooker title.
Robertson headlines a world-class field for the $500,000 tournament at Bendigo Stadium.
The 2010 world champion made the final in Bendigo last year, losing to Marco Fu, and he's determined to go one better this year.
“It was such a fantastic feeling to get to the final in 2013,” said the 32-year-old.
“I’ve always felt that to win a ranking title on Australian soil would be one of the greatest moments of my career and I hope I can achieve it this time.
"I’d love to see the fans out in force to support the tournament, watch the sport played at the highest level and help snooker grow in our country.”
Robertson enjoyed a superb 2013/14 season, highlighted by victory in the UK Championship last December which made him the first non-British player to complete snooker’s Triple Crown, having already won the World Championship and Masters titles.
He also became the first player ever to score 100 century breaks in a single season, completing the ‘ton of tons’ on his way to the semi-finals of the recent World Championship.
He faces stiff opposition in 2014, with four-time world champion and snooker legend John Higgins, current World Open champion Shaun Murphy plus former Bendigo champions Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins confirmed starters for the event.
The top 16 entrants are all seeded through to the venue, and will be joined by 16 qualifiers as well as local Australian wild cards.
The qualifying rounds run from May 30 to June 3 in Gloucester, England.
The Australian Goldfields Open runs from June 30 to July 6.
The top 16 seeds are: 1. Neil Robertson. 2. Barry Hawkins. 3. Shaun Murphy. 4. Mark Allen. 5. Ricky Walden. 6. John Higgins. 7. Stuart Bingham. 8. Stephen Maguire. 9. Joe Perry. 10. Mark Davis. 11. Matthew Stevens. 12. Robert Milkins. 13. Ryan Day. 14. Michael Holt. 15. Xiao Guodong. 16. Dominic Dale.