Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld has returned to the world’s top eight on the PDC Order of Merit after reaching the quarter-final stages of last weekend’s UK Open Finals in Minehead.
Van Barneveld’s semi-final showing at the recent World Championships had catapulted him back inside the world’s top ten, but his run to the last eight in the tournament dubbed ‘The FA Cup of Darts’ has seen him leapfrog both Jelle Klaasen and Mensur Suljovic into eighth- his highest ranking position for over four years.
The Dutchman defeated Barrie Bates, Ron Meulenkamp and Alan Tabern to reach the quarter-finals, before he succumbed to eventual champion Peter Wright 10-8 in one of the best games in UK Open history.
Wright averaged 110.88 and landed thirteen maximums, as Barney suffered defeat despite posting a 108.10 average. Nevertheless, Van Barneveld has the consolation of moving up to eighth in the world with £314,000 in prize money, having reached the quarter-finals or better of a televised ranking event for the fifth tournament in succession.
Mensur Suljovic has dropped from eighth to tenth following his absence in Minehead. The Austrian was defending £10,000 in prize money having reached the quarter-finals two years ago, but he was unable to participate last weekend having missed the six UK Open qualifiers due to personal reasons.
Elsewhere, Phil Taylor has slipped to a career-low of seventh on the Order of Merit after missing his first UK Open since it’s inaugural staging in 2003. The 16-time world champion opted not to participate in this year’s UK Open Qualifiers as he continues to wind down his illustrious career.
Michael van Gerwen’s lead at the top of the PDC Order of Merit has been cut to less than £1m after ‘The Green Machine’ was unable to defend his title through injury. However, world number two Gary Anderson was unable to capitalise on MvG’s absence, after suffering a dramatic deciding-leg defeat to BDO star Paul Hogan in the last 64.
Peter Wright has closed the gap on Anderson to £162,750 after ending his wait for a first televised title with victory over Gerwyn Price in Sunday’s UK Open Final. Wright had been runner-up to Michael van Gerwen for the previous two years but it was a case of third time lucky for the Scot, who secured maiden glory in his sixth major final.
Nevertheless, it was also a very profitable weekend for Price, who continues his remarkable rise up the darting echelons. The 31-year-old burst on to the scene three years ago after securing a tour card at Q-School, but his run to a first TV final saw him accrue £35,000 in prize money, which sees him climb three places to 17th in the world.
Two other men who continue to close in on a top 16 spot are Alan Norris and Daryl Gurney. Norris narrowly lost out to Price in his maiden PDC major semi-final as he climbs to 18th, whilst Gurney is up to a career high of 19th, having followed up his World Championship quarter-final appearance with a run to the last four in Minehead.
However, Terry Jenkins and Stephen Bunting have slipped further down the Order of Merit after suffering premature exits last weekend. Jenkins, a UK Open finalist back in 2014, was beaten by the veteran Wayne Jones in round-two, which saw him overtaken by the trio of Price, Norris and Gurney.
It was also a damaging weekend for ‘The Bullet’, who has slipped to 22nd in the world. The former Lakeside world champion was defending £17,000 in prize money having reached the semi-finals two years ago, but he was condemned to his third consecutive opening-round exit in a major tournament, losing out to an imperious Mark Webster.
Cristo Reyes is on the cusp of breaking into the world’s top 32, despite not winning a game last weekend. ‘The Spaniard’ was due to enter the tournament in round-three but received a bye in the absence of Michael van Gerwen, before losing to Joe Cullen in a high-quality fourth-round tussle. He trails Darren Webster in 32nd by a meagre £3,250.
Irish ace William O’Connor has broken into the world’s top 64 after reaching the last 16; equalling his best performance in a televised major. Elsewhere, former Challenge Tour star Rob Cross has climbed 13 places to 73rd after reaching round-five. The Hastings-born electrician acquitted himself superbly before losing out to Peter Wright 10-6.
Alan Tabern and Martin Lukeman have both broken into the world’s top 100 following their tremendous runs to the last 16. Tabern reached the last 16 of a major tournament for the first time since the 2011 World Grand Prix, whilst Lukeman, who failed to win any money at Q-School in January, enjoyed a fairy-tale run to round five.
Finally, former major finalist Ronnie Baxter is also back inside the world’s top 100 after showing signs of a resurgence last weekend. ‘The Rocket’, who regained his tour card at Q-School earlier this year, reached the last 32 with wins over Paul Rowley, Richard North and Darren Webster, which lifts him up to 97th on the Order of Merit.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
|1||Gerwen, Michael van||£1,724,000|
|8||Barneveld, Raymond van||£314,000|
|15||Pas, Benito van de||£260,000|
|26||Voort, Vincent van der||£145,000|
|50||Bergh, Dimitri Van Den||£61,000|
|55||Duijvenbode, Dirk van||£47,000|
|58||Zwaan, Jeffrey de||£36,750|
|59||Graaf, Jeffrey de||£36,500|
|68||Peer, Berry van||£18,750|
|74||Decker, Mike De||£12,500|