Peter Wright will be the top seed heading into next month’s Coral UK Open Finals in Minehead, after winning three of the six qualification events at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan over the last fortnight.
Wright tops the Order of Merit after defeating Adrian Lewis, Michael Smith and James Wade in the respective finals, as he amassed a staggering £35,000 in prize money across the qualification campaign.
Simon Whitlock finished in second position after maintaining his excellent Pro Tour form. ‘The Wizard’ won two of the six UK Open qualifiers to record his fourth PDC title in as many months, as he finished with a total of £21,250 in prize money.
World champion Michael van Gerwen was the only other player to win one of the qualifying events and finished in third position as a consequence. MvG endured a disappointing triple-header last week, but performed magnificently in Friday’s fourth qualifier.
Van Gerwen incredibly registered TWO nine-dart finishes in his third-round clash against Ryan Murray, having survived match darts in his opening game. The world number one went on to defeat his old adversary Gary Anderson in the final and having confirmed his spot in Minehead, he opted to withdraw from the final two events.
Anderson himself sits in fourth place after winning £11,750 in prize money. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ competed in five of the six qualifiers and reached two finals, where he was beaten by Simon Whitlock and Van Gerwen respectively.
The world number two was closely followed in fifth position by his protege Michael Smith, who kicked off his Pro Tour season strongly. ‘Bully Boy’ endured a tough end to 2016, suffering an eight-match losing streak on the Pro Tour. Nevertheless, the St Helen’s star reached a final, semi-final and two quarter-finals in a very consistent showing.
James Wade finished in sixth position after his run to the final in Sunday’s last qualifier. ‘The Machine’, who lost out to hat-trick hero Peter Wright, amassed £9,000 of prize money in total. Elsewhere, the Stoke duo of Ian White and Adrian Lewis were tied in seventh after reaching the latter stages on a number of occasions.
Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld finished the qualification campaign in ninth on the Order of Merit. Van Barneveld was the epitome of consistency throughout the two triple-headers. He was one of just seven players to win prize money across all six events, and he reached the last 16 stage on five separate occasions.
The veteran duo of Mervyn King and Steve Beaton both secured £7,750 to finish in joint tenth position. King reached the last eight twice, whilst ‘The Bronzed Adonis’ recorded three quarter-final appearances, which included a thrashing of Michael van Gerwen on the opening weekend.
Premier League stars Dave Chisnall and Jelle Klaasen are in 12th and 13th positions respectively, whilst Benito van de Pas, who won three Players Championship titles in 2016, trailed behind in 14th.
Rob Cross was one of the most impressive performers across the qualification campaign, finishing 15th on the Order of Merit. Cross’s emergence came at the UK Open finals last year where he reached the last 32 as an amateur. He defeated Ken MacNeil, Wes Newton and Jeffrey de Graaf, before losing out to eventual winner Michael van Gerwen.
Cross enjoyed great success on the Challenge Tour last year and secured himself a PDC Tour card by virtue of topping the Challenge Tour Order of Merit. His best run came in Saturday’s fifth qualifying event, where he claimed the scalps of James Wade, Dave Chisnall, Robert Thornton and Jelle Klaasen to reach the last four.
Welsh number one Gerwyn Price finished 16th after a strong showing in the second triple-header, whilst Darren Webster, who landed a nine-darter against Benito van de Pas in Saturday’s fifth qualifier, was tied in 17th alongside Premier League star Kim Huybrechts.
Kim was closely trailed by his older brother Ronny in 19th. ‘The Rebel’ was facing the prospect of missing out on the UK Open Finals after performing poorly on the opening weekend, but he stormed into the final of Saturday’s qualifier, having also hit a nine-darter against Darren Webster in the quarter-finals.
Alan Norris ensured that he will enter the UK Open Finals at the third-round stage after reaching the semi-finals of Sunday’s sixth and final qualifier. Elsewhere, Brendan Dolan, John Henderson and Kyle Anderson were all tied in 21st position after enjoying a strong start to their respective Pro Tour seasons.
Former world finalist Kevin Painter finished the qualification campaign in 24th place after rolling back the years to reach the semi-finals of Friday’s fourth qualifier. Spanish star Cristo Reyes also finished inside the top 32, as did former Lakeside world champion Christian Kist, who hit the fifth nine-darter of the weekend in Sunday’s event.
The young quartet of Chris Quantock, Chris Dobey, Ricky Evans and Joe Cullen will also go straight through to round-three at Minehead after finishing just inside the top 32. Mick Todd finished in 31st after reaching his maiden PDC semi-final in UK Open qualifier three, whilst UK Open qualifier four semi-finalist Ryan Searle was ranked 32nd.
There will be a number of big names entering the UK Open Finals at the second-round stage. Former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting finished in 33rd position via count-back, whilst Robert Thornton and Daryl Gurney finished in 37th and 38 respectively.
Elsewhere, 2007 UK Open finalist Vincent van der Voort will enter the tournament in round-two after finishing 41st, and nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins will begin his UK Open campaign at the same stage after amassing £1,500 in prize money across three events.
Former World-Youth champion Keegan Brown will be action from the first-round stage at Minehead after finishing 67th on the final UK Open Order of Merit. Ronnie Baxter, Jamie Caven and James Wilson will also compete in round-one, after narrowly securing their qualification on the final day of competition.
Nevertheless, a host of other big names will not be competing in Minehead next month. Phil Taylor and Mensur Suljovic are the two big-name absentees. Neither player entered any of the six qualifiers; Taylor stressed earlier this year that he will no longer compete on the Pro Tour, whilst Suljovic was absent due to personal reasons.
The talented young quartet of Max Hopp, Dimitri van den Bergh, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Nathan Aspinall also missed out on qualification after winning just £500 in prize money across the six events.
Three-time world champion John Part failed to make the cut after regaining his PDC Tour Card last month, whilst Paul Nicholson also narrowly missed out. Robbie Green also surprisingly failed to qualify, whilst former UK Open finalists Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Mark Walsh will not feature in Minehead this year.
The final UK Open Order of Merit standings can be viewed below!
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2017 Coral UK Open Order of Merit
Following Qualifier Six
|3||Gerwen, Michael van||£13,000|
|9||Barneveld, Raymond van||£8,250|
|14||Pas, Benito van de||£6,500|
|41||Voort, Vincent van der||£2,250|
|47||Duijvenbode, Dirk van||£2,000|
|51||Graaf, Jeffrey de||£1,750|
|62||Leung, Kai Fan||£1,250|
|67||Lam, Ting Chi Royden||£1,000|
|67||Zwaan, Jeffrey de||£1,000|
|—||Did Not Qualify||—|
|81||Vreede, Ryan de||£750|
|81||Decker, Mike De||£750|
|100||Peer, Berry van||£500|
|100||Bergh, Dimitri Van Den||£500|
|114||Hoog, Bryan de||£250|
|114||Wiel, Willy van de||£250|