World number one Michael van Gerwen will be the top seed heading into next month’s Coral UK Open Finals in Minehead, after winning two of the six qualification events at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan over the past fortnight.
Van Gerwen tops the final UK Open Order of Merit, despite missing three of the six qualifiers. ‘The Green Machine’ won the opening two events, before losing out to Michael Smith in the quarter-finals of qualifier three. However, having confirmed his spot in the UK Open third-round, MvG opted to take this weekend off.
Michael Smith sits in second place on £19,500, having performed consistently well throughout the campaign. ‘Bully-Boy’ lost to Van Gerwen in the final of the first qualifier, before prevailing in the third event last Sunday. The St Helen’s star also reached the last eight in qualifier five; succumbing to eventual winner Corey Cadby.
Krzysztof Ratajski, despite not holding a PDC Tour-Card, finished in third position after clinching his maiden PDC title on Sunday. ‘The Polish Eagle’ reached the quarter-finals in two of the opening five qualifiers before defeating Ian White, Cadby, Rob Cross & Daryl Gurney to scoop the £10,000 winner’s prize in qualifier six.
Another man who clinched their first senior PDC title this weekend was Corey Cadby. The Australian performed superbly to triumph in Saturday’s event, before going on to reach the last eight 24 hours later, where he succumbed to an imperious Ratajski. As a result, ‘The King’ will be fourth seed at Minehead this year.
Rob Cross was in danger of missing out on the UK Open after suffering three consecutive opening-round defeats in the first weekend of qualifying. However, the world champion was back to his best this weekend, reaching the semi-finals in two of the three events, whilst losing in the final to Cadby in the other.
As a result, ‘Voltage’ accrued £10,000 from the weekend’s triple-header, which sees him make his third successive UK Open appearance as the fifth seed. Cross is tied on £10,000 alongside defending UK Open champion Peter Wright, and Wright’s fellow Scotsman Gary Anderson- who won the fourth qualifier on Friday evening.
World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney will be the eighth seed at next month’s ‘FA Cup of Darts’ after reaching his first ranking final since his memorable triumph at the Citywest. Meanwhile, Belgian star Kim Huybrechts is just behind the Northern Irishman in 9th on £8,500.
Jeffrey de Zwaan, Darren Webster and Zoran Lerchbacher- all of whom reached finals across the qualifiers, are joined in the top 13 by Mervyn King. John Henderson and Steve Beaton sit in 14th and 15th position respectively, whilst two-time world champion Adrian Lewis makes up the top 16, despite being banned for two of the qualifiers.
Steve West will be 17th seed at Minehead, whilst World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis continued his fine form to confirm his spot in the third-round of the UK Open. David Pallett bounced back superbly from the disappointment of failing to secure a PDC Tour Card by finishing 19th, just ahead of former UK Open champion James Wade.
Four-time major semi-finalist Justin Pipe made a strong start to his 2018 season by finishing in 21st, just ahead of former Lakeside world champion Jelle Klaasen and surprise package Matthew Edgar.
Elsewhere, current Premier League table-topper Simon Whitlock is one of five players tied on £4,000, alongside former BDO star Jamie Hughes, Players Championship Finals runner-up Jonny Clayton, as well as Simon Stevenson and Dave Prins- who has competed in this event as an amateur in recent years.
2012 champion Robert Thornton will begin his bid for a second UK Open crown as 29th seed, whilst the top 32 is comprised of seven-time ranking winner Ian White, German star Martin Schindler and Auckland Darts Masters winner Kyle Anderson.
Last year’s UK Open finalist and Premier League debutant Gerwyn Price narrowly missed out on a spot in the top 32, which means he will enter the tournament in the second-round stage. Nevertheless, ‘The Iceman’ is in good company.
Two-time UK Open winner Raymond van Barneveld will begin his campaign at Minehead in round-two, after finishing 60th on the Order of Merit. The five-time world champion missed three of the six events- losing in the first-round to Krzysztof Ratajski on two occasions, before reaching the last 16 in Friday’s fourth qualifier.
Dave Chisnall finished one place above Van Barneveld in 59th after skipping this weekend’s triple-header, whilst former world champion Stephen Bunting finished in 49th after enjoying mixed fortunes across his qualification campaign.
Vincent van der Voort, Alan Norris, Joe Cullen, James Wilson and Jermaine Wattimena are some of the other names who will enter the tournament at the second-round stage, whilst Danny Noppert, who made the switch from the BDO this year, will make his Minehead debut as 41st seed.
In addition, there will also be a host of established stars competing in the first-round at Minehead, after narrowly finishing inside the top 96 on the Order of Merit. Three-time world champion John Part will make his first UK Open appearance since 2015 after finishing in 93rd place on £750.
Elsewhere, 2014 UK Open runner-up Terry Jenkins will make his first televised appearance for twelve months, after the nine-time major finalist finished in 73rd position on his return to competitive action.
Former Lakeside world champion Richie Burnett is another veteran set to feature in Minehead after finishing in 68th position, one place below former PDC World Championship finalist Kirk Shepherd.
2010 Players Championship Finals winner Paul Nicholson has also qualified for this year’s event, despite missing the final three qualifiers due to soft-tip commitments. ‘The Asset’ accrued £1,000 and finished tied in 80th position, whilst former UK Open runner-up Mark Walsh came 70th.
World Youth champion Dimitri van den Bergh will also begin his UK Open campaign in round-one. The recent World Championship quarter-finalist wasn’t at his best in Wigan but finished in 79th position, with former World Youth finalist Ricky Evans coming in 69th.
World number 13 Benito van de Pas only narrowly made the cut after winning just £750 across the six events, whilst Spanish star Cristo Reyes finished in 82nd position. He will be one of three Spaniards appearing in Minehead this year, with his compatriots Jose Antonio Perales and Toni Alcinas finishing in 51st and 58th positions respectively.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC