Geert Nentjes and Jason Heaver became the latest players to claim automatic Tour Cards on day two of the PDC Qualifying Schools Final Stage on Monday, as Raymond van Barneveld edged closer to a return following a semi-final showing in Germany.
Nentjes was beaten in the final of Sunday’s opening European event in Nierdernhausen, but the Dutch youngster went one better on day two; courtesy of five deciding-leg victories.
The 22-year-old kicked off proceedings with a comfortable victory over Patrick Bulen, before prevailing in a trio of last-leg deciders against Franz Roetzsch, Patrick Tringler and former BDO World Championship semi-finalist Michael Unterbuchner.
Nentjes then saw off Czech Republic’s Michal Smejda in a hard-fought last eight decider, which set up a semi-final showdown against his fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld.
The five-time world champion kicked off proceedings with a brace of 99 averages, overcoming the likes of Luc Peters, Lukas Wenig and Gino Vos in reaching the semi-finals, only to succumb to Nentjes in a dramatic decider, having missed double 10 for a spectacular match-winning 140 checkout.
Nentjes’ final against Boris Koltsov went to the wire, but the Russian was left to rue three missed match darts in a nerve-shredding finale, as the Dutchman kept his cool to confirm his instant return to PDC action, having relinquished his Tour card at the end of the 2020 campaign.
Elsewhere, production planner Heaver produced the goods at UK Q-School in Milton Keynes, to secure a place on the Pro Tour circuit for the first time in his career.
Heaver – who has appeared twice at the UK Open as an amateur qualifier – opened up his campaign with a ton-plus average against Gary Butcher, before whitewashing former UK Open semi-finalist David Pallett in round two.
Heaver then accounted for another former UK Open semi-finalist in the shape of Andrew Gilding, before adding another ton-plus average to the tally in victory over Sunday’s semi-finalist Martin Lukeman.
His emphatic 6-1 victory over Adam Mould was followed by a dramatic 6-5 win success against talented Welshman Lewis Williams, which set up a straight shootout against Scotland’s Alan Soutar for a coveted Tour Card.
Soutar – a former BDO World Championship participant – established a 4-2 lead in Monday’s showpiece, only for Heaver to reel off four consecutive legs in 14, 15, 18 and 12 darts – as he confirmed his qualification with a majestic 123 checkout.
Despite the disappointing conclusion, Soutar remains poised to claim a Tour Card on Wednesday. The Scot sits top of the UK Order of Merit on seven points at the halfway mark, with the top 13 following the four days also assured of a two-year slot on the Pro Tour circuit.
Shane McGuirk stole the headlines with a nine-dart finish in his last 64 win over Lewis Pride, but it was a tough day for a series of big names, with Kevin Painter, Fallon Sherrock, Robert Thornton and Danny Baggish all suffering opening round exits.
The top eight via the European Order of Merit will also claim Tour Cards, and Austria’s Zoran Lerchbacher tops the pile on seven points, backing up a quarter-final appearance on Sunday with a semi-final showing 24 hours later.
Van Barneveld occupies second spot on six points, as he bids to mark his comeback by sealing his return to the professional circuit, whilst Martin Schindler and Boris Koltsov have both accrued five points from the opening two days.
Schindler posted a record Q-School average on day two, averaging a staggering 123.5 against his compatriot Stefan Niles, only to depart against Matt Campbell in the following round.
Koltsov came agonisingly close to becoming the first Russian to clinch a PDC Tour card in Germany, but he will still be confident of completing the job when play resumes on Tuesday, where two further Tour Cards are available to be won outright on day three.
Image: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
European Qualifying School Final Stage Day Two
Michal Smejda 6-1 Ryan De Vreede
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Michael Unterbuchner
Gino Vos 6-0 John Michael
Raymond van Barneveld 6-4 Lukas Wenig
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-1 Jose Justicia
Christian Bunse 6-5 Patrick van den Boogaard
Boris Koltsov 6-5 Matt Campbell
Davy Proosten 6-3 Niels Zonneveld
Geert Nentjes 6-4 Michal Smejda
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Gino Vos
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-2 Christian Buns
Boris Koltsov 6-1 Davy Proosten
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Boris Koltsov 6-1 Zoran Lerchbacher
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Boris Koltsov
UK Qualifying School Final Stage Day Two
Joe Murnan 6-3 David Wawrzewski
Alan Soutar 6-5 Jake Jones
Eddie Lovely 6-2 Sean Fisher
Mike Warburton 6-4 Kevin McDine
Chris Quantock 6-2 Gavin Carlin
Lewis Williams 6-3 John Brown
Jason Heaver 6-3 Martin Lukeman
Adam Mould 6-3 Andy Jenkins
Alan Soutar 6-4 Joe Murnan
Eddie Lovely 6-4 Mike Warburton
Lewis Williams 6-3 Chris Quantock
Jason Heaver 6-1 Adam Mould
Alan Soutar 6-4 Eddie Lovely
Jason Heaver 6-5 Lewis Williams
Jason Heaver 6-4 Alan Soutar