Baetens & Bennett become latest duo to secure Tour Cards

Andy Baetens (PDC)

Andy Baetens and Leighton Bennett became the latest players to secure Tour Cards as the Final Stage of the 2024 PDC Qualifying Schools continued in Milton Keynes and Kalkar on Saturday.

The penultimate day of Final Stage action saw Baetens produce a series of superb displays in Kalkar to secure his place on the professional circuit, capping off a memorable few weeks for the Belgian.

The newly crowned WDF Champion averaged 96 across his seven matches, to join Dutch duo Martijn Dragt and Jelle Klaasen in securing automatic Tour Cards via European Qualifying School.

Baetens began Day Three without a point to his name, although he signalled his intent with a whitewash win over Sweden's Jeffrey de Graaf in round one.

He then rallied from 4-0 down to edge out Michael Unterbuchner and avenge his defeat to the German on Friday, before breezing through to the last eight with wins over Born Van Put and Alexander Masek.

The Belgian continued his charge, averaging 98 and 102 in 6-3 wins against Paul Krohne and Vitezslav Sedlak in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively to set up a blockbuster tie against Radek Szaganski.

Szaganski – a winner on the Players Championship circuit last October – was bidding to secure an instant return to the ProTour, only for Baetens to race into a 4-1 lead with legs of 13, 11, 13 and 14 darts.

However, Szaganski fought back from 5-2 down to force a decider, surviving multiple match darts and converting a 101 skin-saver along the way, before Baetens sealed the deal with a 16-dart hold.

Meanwhile, at UK Qualifying School, Bennett came through a 124-player field at the Marshall Arena to join Ireland’s Steve Lennon and newcomer Robert Grundy in claiming automatic Tour Cards.

The 18-year-old recovered from a sluggish start to overcome Thomas Cromwell in the Day Three decider, reeling off four consecutive legs from 3-2 down to celebrate a landmark victory.

Bennett opened Saturday’s proceedings with an emphatic 6-1 success against Poland’s Kamil Janowicz, which he followed with victories over Brandon Jones and Carl Wilson.

The prodigiously-talented youngster then averaged 101 in his last 16 success against Scott Winder, before brushing aside Brett Claydon and Kieron Bridgwater in the latter stages of the campaign.

Following Bennett’s victory, former WDF number one James Hurrell and Scotland’s William Borland top the UK Q School Order of Merit with seven points apiece, as they close in on coveted Tour Cards.

Matthew Dennant and George Killington are also strongly placed on six points, with two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Darren Webster and American ace Danny Lauby also in the provisional qualification places.

James Wilson landed the first PDC nine-darter of 2024 during his third round clash against James Beeton, but it came in a losing cause to leave the Huddersfield thrower on just one point heading into Day Four.

Elsewhere, Haupai Puha’s run to the semi-finals at European Qualifying School ensures he will become the first PDC Tour Card Holder from New Zealand.

The former World Cup of Darts quarter-finalist tops the Order of Merit with nine points, while Jules van Dongen is assured of an instant return to the ProTour in 2024, after finishing Day Three on eight points.

Poland’s Szaganski and Dutchman Patrick Geeraets are in dominant positions on seven points apiece, just ahead of Belgium’s Mario Vandenbogaerde and Danish youngster Benjamin Reus.

Sunday's action will offer a final opportunity for players to win automatic two-year Tour Cards, with play commencing at 1300 CET in Kalkar and 1200 GMT in Milton Keynes.

The remaining 23 Tour Cards will be allocated to players from the UK and European Q School Final Stage Orders of Merit, with a further 13 Tour Cards on offer via European Q School, while ten players will come through the UK rankings.

The top 32 Orders of Merit for both UK and European Qualifying Schools are listed below.

Click here for results & match stats from UK Q School.

Click here for Event Draws & Results from UK Q School.

Click here for results & match stats from European Q School.

Click here for Event Draws & Results from European Q School.

2024 PDC Qualifying Schools Final Stage
UK Q School Final Stage Day Three
Last 16

Kieron Bridgwater 6-4 Keelan Kay
Joshua Richardson 6-2 Mike Warburton
Brett Claydon 6-1 Jim McEwan
Leighton Bennett 6-3 Scott Winder
Darren Webster 6-4 James Huthwaite
Thomas Cromwell 6-3 George Killington
Rhys Griffin 6-3 Lee Cocks
James Beeton 6-2 James Hurrell

Kieron Bridgwater 6-3 Joshua Richardson
Leighton Bennett 6-3 Brett Claydon
Thomas Cromwell 6-4 Darren Webster
Rhys Griffin 6-3 James Beeton

Leighton Bennett 6-2 Kieron Bridgwater
Thomas Cromwell 6-4 Rhys Griffin

Leighton Bennett 6-3 Thomas Cromwell

European Q School Final Stage Day Three
Last 16

Andy Baetens 6-3 Alexander Masek
Paul Krohne 6-3 Jani Keskinarkaus
Dominik Gruellich 6-2 Marko Kantele
Vitezslav Sedlak 6-3 Jules van Dongen
Patrick Geeraets 6-5 Damian Mol
Radek Szaganski 6-2 Arno Merk
Haupai Puha 6-1 Angelo Balsamo
Stefaan Henderyck 6-4 Liam Maendl-Lawrance

Andy Baetens 6-3 Paul Krohne
Vitezslav Sedlak 6-2 Dominik Gruellich
Radek Szaganski 6-0 Patrick Geeraets
Haupai Puha 6-3 Stefaan Henderyck

Andy Baetens 6-3 Vitezslav Sedlak
Radek Szaganski 6-4 Haupai Puha

Andy Baetens 6-5 Radek Szaganski

UK Q School OoM

European Q School OoM

Final Stage
January 14
UK Qualifying School

Start Time: 1200 GMT
Each day's winner secures an automatic PDC Tour Card
Format: best of 11 legs

European Qualifying School
Start Time: 1300 CET
Each day's winner secures an automatic PDC Tour Card
Format: best of 11 legs

In addition to the daily Tour Card winners, a further 13 Tour Cards will be awarded to players from the European Q School Order of Merit, while ten players will come through the UK Q School Order of Merit.