Q School Set For Record Field
OVER 200 players have now entered the 2013 PDC Qualifying School, which will be held from January 17-20 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.
Players will challenge to win Tour Cards to compete full-time on the PDC circuit this year across four days of competition in Wigan.
Four players from each day will win a Tour Card, with at least two and up to six further Tour Cards on offer from the Q School Order of Merit, which will be made up of performances of players across all four events.
In addition, all players who do not win Tour Cards will then become Associate Members of the PDPA and entitled to compete in UK Open Qualifiers and European Tour Qualifiers throughout the year.
Associate Members will also be able, in ranking order, to top up the field for Players Championship events should all 128 Tour Card Holders not enter.
The record interest in Qualifying School has seen almost 250 players already enter for the event, including former Las Vegas Desert Classic champion Peter Manley, 2005 UK Open finalist Barrie Bates, former World Matchplay winner Peter Evison and experienced stars Steve Maish, Chris Thompson, Mark Lawrence and Darren Johnson.
In addition, they are joined by a number of international aces who recently competed in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship, headed by Daryl Gurney - who reached the second round - German teenager Max Hopp, South African youngster Charl Pietersen, Finland Jani Haavisto and Spain's Carlos Rodriguez.
Pietersen is looking to emulate his fellow countryman Devon Peterson, who won a Tour Card two years ago at Q School but is taking a year out in 2013 to overcome an arm injury.
The field also includes former World Cup of Darts competitors Ken MacNeil, Dyson Parody, Dylan Duo, Marko Kantele, Par Riihonen and Rocco Maes, plus the Team Taylor/Redtooth Darts winner Paul Amos, alongside 13 other players from the event which ran across the UK last year.
Entry for the PDC Qualifying School, costing £200, is open until midday on Tuesday January 15 through the PDPA, either online via www.pdpa.co.uk or by calling 01228 594 273.
The top 64 players from the PDC Order of Merit following the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship retain their Tour Card by right, with only Devon Petersen relinquishing his Tour Card.
A further 40 players who held Tour Cards from the 2012 PDC Qualifying School also have Tour Cards, while Scandinavian Darts Corporation Order of Merit winner Jarkko Komula is joined by PDC Unicorn Youth Tour Order of Merit players Chris Aubrey and Josh Payne in winning a two-year Tour Card.
This leaves 22 Tour Cards available, with 16 coming from the four winners on each of the four days at Qualifying School, with up to six available from the Q School Order of Merit should the four Lakeside Championship semi-finalists decline the offer of a Tour Card.
2013 Tour Card Holders
PDC Order of Merit (64, minus Devon Petersen)
Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Michael van Gerwen, Simon Whitlock, Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton, Raymond van Barneveld, Dave Chisnall, Justin Pipe, Gary Anderson, Kevin Painter, Mervyn King, Paul Nicholson, Robert Thornton, Terry Jenkins, Ronnie Baxter, Mark Webster, Brendan Dolan, Kim Huybrechts, Vincent van der Voort, Mark Walsh, Colin Lloyd, John Part, Richie Burnett, Peter Wright, Andy Smith, Steve Beaton, Colin Osborne, Ian White, Denis Ovens, Wayne Jones, Jamie Caven, Scott Rand, Michael Smith, Steve Brown, Mark Hylton, Alan Tabern, John Henderson, Co Stompe, Joe Cullen, Dean Winstanley, James Richardson, Magnus Caris, Arron Monk, Dennis Priestley, Jelle Klaasen, Roland Scholten, Steve Farmer, Nigel Heydon, Michael Mansell, James Hubbard, Dennis Smith, William O'Connor, Peter Hudson, Darren Webster, Mark Dudbridge, Jerry Hendriks, Mensur Suljovic, Antonio Alcinas, Mark Jones, John Bowles, Shaun Griffiths.
2012 Tour Card Holders (40)
Gino Vos, Johnny Haines, Stuart Kellett, Andy Jenkins, Jamie Lewis, Richie Howson, Tony West, Jim Walker, Nick Fullwell, Andrew Gilding, Adrian Gray, Ted Hankey, Matt Clark, Michael Barnard, Connie Finnan, Ross Smith, Gareth Cousins, Matthew Edgar, Tony Littleton, Keith J Stephen, Mareno Michels, Reece Robinson, Keegan Brown, Gareth Pass, Bernd Roith, Joe Murnan, Liam Kelly, John Scott, Darren Whittingham, Steve Grubb, Stephen Hardy, Gary Butcher, Andrew Cornwall, Paddy Meaney, Les Wallace, Steve West, Daniel Starkey, Kurt Van De Rijck, Paul Barham, Jeff Smith
PDC Unicorn Youth Tour - Tour Card Winners (2)
Chris Aubrey, Josh Payne
SDC Order of Merit Winner (1)