Posted in PRO TOUR MAGIC 2015 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 2, 2014

By Josh Bennett

Let's start with the big news: Following Reid Duke's defeat at the hands of Kyle Boggemes to miss Day 2, Jeremy Dezani has further strengthened his stranglehold on the Player of the Year Title. He's on pace for a big finish with a 7-1 record and if he makes Top 16 then the title is his. Failing that, only the following people have a hope of catching him, and will likely need to Top 8 or better to do it: Stanislav Cifka, Owen Turtenwald, Shaun McLaren, Josh Utter-Leyton, Tom Martell, Patrick Chapin, Yuuya Watanabe, Paul Rietzl, Lee Shi Tian, Jared Boettcher, Ben Stark, Alex Hayne, Jacob Wilson and Chris Fennell.

With Reid Duke's early exit this weekend, Jeremy Dezani is in a commanding position to claim the title.

Everything is still in play for Rookie of the Year. Jared Boettcher has limped into Day 2 with a 4-4 record, but everyone capable of overtaking him made the cut as well. Dimitriy Butakov leads the chasers with a 6-2 record, but again, it'll take at least a Top 4 finish to knock out Boettcher.

The big news in the Latin America Region is that point frontrunner Willy Edel made a Day 1 exit. That locks his Pro Point total for the season at 41. Dark horse Miguel Angel Rodriguez also failed to make the cut, so two players remain in the hunt. Marcelino Freeman will need to Top 8 to guarantee an invitation, but at 5-3 and only 22 Pro Points he's well behind odds-on favorite and Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa. PV is sitting at 6-1-1 and 27 Pro Points.

All the major players in the APAC race are live for Day 2, with frontrunners Lee Shi Tian crossing at 5-3 and Nam Sung Wook putting up a mediocre 4-4. Those in the hunt will need at least a Top 8 which for Park Jun Young, Champman Sim and Jingwei Zheng means rattling off 8 consecutive wins. It's more likely that Tzu-Ching Kuo can make a run at an upset with his 6-2 record.

In the European race, there are plenty of people chasing a Top 8 and a prayer, but pace-setter Stanislav Cifka managed to bank a 5-3 performance, putting him a win up on his closest competitor, World Champion Shahar Shenhar.

In the race for the Japanese invites, Yuuya Watanabe has refused to give up his top spot quietly. Still, all the principals have made Day 2, so there's still plenty of volatility. Newly-minted Hall of Famer Makihito Mihara and Ken Yukuhiro have the best shot and turning the tables with their 6-2 records.

Lastly, there is North America, and here the story is all about the Peach Garden Oath Brothers. Reid Duke is out. He is locked at 73 points. Meanwhile his Oath Brothers are tearing up the tournament - William Jensen has posted a perfect 8-0, and Owen Turtenwald is sitting at 7-1. They'll be the names to watch as we head down the stretch toward the Top 8.

The picture is still somewhat cloudy, but as players pick up that deadly fifth loss their thin hopes will evaporate. Stay tuned to our live video coverage for all the action!