Jamie Hughes produced some extraordinary darts to qualify for the opening European Tour event of 2018 at the Barnsley Metrodome on Friday evening.
‘Yozza’, who made the switch from the BDO after the recent Lakeside World Championship, missed out on a PDC Tour Card at last month’s Qualifying School, but he underlined his credentials in stunning fashion to seal qualification to next month’s European Darts Open in Leverkusen.
The Tipton ace dropped just two legs across his three matches, defeating the talented trio of Robbie Green, Ricky Evans and Peter Jacques. Nevertheless, it was his spellbinding performance against ‘Kong’ that attracted the most headlines.
Hughes averaged an astonishing 125.30 to record a majestic 6-0 victory, whilst also landing three maximums, two 177’s and converting 86% of his attempts at double in one of the greatest individual performances ever seen on the PDC Pro Tour.
The former BDO star kicked off proceedings with a 13-dart break via D16, before following up visits of 177 and 180 with an 11-darter. Hughes then fired in another 13-darter, having posted a 170 in the preceding visit, before crashing in his second maximum to complete another 11-dart hold to stretch his lead to 4-0.
Green was absolutely shell-shocked but Hughes’ brilliance continued. He piled in his second 177 of the match en-route to completing his third 11-darter, before wrapping up an incredible victory by following up his third maximum with a 13-dart clincher on D8.
It was a breath-taking display from the 31-year-old, who used just 72 darts to seal his progression to the next round of qualification, in legs of 13, 11, 13, 11, 11 and 13 darts. However, he recorded equally emphatic performances in the next few rounds.
He eased past former World Youth finalist Ricky Evans 6-2 in the second-round of qualification, averaging 98.90 in the process. Hughes was averaging over 111 for much of the contest, but his average was brought down only by his match-winning 23-dart leg.
However, Hughes then secured his second whitewash win of the evening to dismantle Peter Jacques and confirm his spot at next month’s event in Leverkusen. Hughes stormed into a 3-0 lead with a 110 average, eventually finishing on a 97 average. Nevertheless, this saw the Midlands ace finish with a 105 average across his three matches.
The former Finder Darts Masters winner will have been bitterly disappointed to miss out on a Tour Card last month, but he is quickly finding his feet in the PDC, having secured his qualification to the third-round of the UK Open; including a brilliant win over world champion Rob Cross earlier in the qualification campaign. Hughes is on the charge!
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC