THE 2019 Unicorn Challenge Tour gets underway this weekend, as players compete for PDC Tour Cards and a place in the 2019/20 William Hill World Championship.

The PDC's second-tier tour will see a series of 20 tournaments held during 2019, each offering £10,000 in prize money for PDPA Associate Members who did not win a Tour Card at the 2019 PDC Qualifying Schools.

Following the 20 events, the player who tops the Challenge Tour Order of Merit after all tournaments have been played will book their place at Alexandra Palace for the 2019/20 World Championship.

The top two players on the Order of Merit will secure a two-year PDC Tour Card to compete on the PDC ProTour, while players placed third to eighth will gain free entry to 2020 Qualifying School.

Among the players to have enjoyed success on the PDC circuit after competing on the Challenge Tour are Rob Cross, Krzysztof Ratajski and Ryan Searle.

Four events will take place across the opening weekend of the year on January 26-27 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan, with over 275 players entering each event.

Former Players Championship Finals winner Kevin Painter, who went within one win of regaining his Tour Card at last weekend's UK Qualifying School, will be joined by three-time World Champion John Part in making their Challenge Tour debuts.

There will also be maiden appearances for two-time Lakeside Champion Scott Waites and former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton.

Lisa Ashton (PDC)

Former Lakeside Women's Champion Lisa Ashton, who competed in the PDC World Championship last month, will headline a list of female entrants which also includes recent Lakeside Championship runners-up Lorraine Winstanley and Fallon Sherrock.

Cody Harris, who qualified for the 2018/19 World Championship via the Challenge Tour, will headline the international stars taking part this weekend alongside Russia's Boris Koltsov, Brazil's Diogo Portela, New Zealand's Cody Harris and American Chuck Puleo.

Former PDC Tour Card Holders Wes Newton, Richie Burnett and Andrew Gilding will also be hoping for a strong start to their campaigns.

Tournaments will be held across five double-header weekends, with two events per day on each weekend.

Follow all the action through DartConnect.

2019 PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Schedule
Saturday January 26 - Events One & Two, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Sunday January 27 - Events Three & Four, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Saturday May 11 - Events Five & Six, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Sunday May 12 - Events Seven & Eight, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Saturday July 13 - Events Nine & Ten, East of England Arena & Events Centre, Peterborough 
Sunday July 14 - Events 11 & 12, East of England Arena & Events Centre, Peterborough
Saturday August 10 - Events 13 & 14, Wolverhampton
Sunday August 11 - Events 15 & 16, Wolverhampton
Saturday September 28 - Events 17 & 18, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Sunday September 29 - Events 19 & 20, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan