Race To The 2020 World Grand Prix
Race To The 2020 World Grand Prix comes down to the wire this weekend. Who will make the final 32?
The race to qualify for October’s Boylesports World Grand Prix in Coventry is hotting up, with several players all but confirmed in the line-up following the World Matchplay in Milton Keynes and PDC Autumn Series in Niederhausen, Germany.
Portugal’s Jose De Sousa (£36,000) continues to lead the ProTour Order of Merit ahead of the final qualification tournament this weekend (September 25-27) at the German Darts Championship in Hildesheim.
Danny Noppert (£35,750) and Brendan Dolan (£31,500) look set to feature at the temporary Ricoh Arena venue, as does Bradford’s Joe Cullen (£25,250) following a strong Autumn Series showing where a defeat in the Day Two final to eventual winner Damon Heta, and a Day 4 semi-final elimination against best friend Devon Petersen, virtually made his participation in next month’s Grand Prix set in stone.
Jermaine Wattimena hasn’t been in the best of form since July’s World Matchplay, but along with February’s Players Championship 3 king Ryan Searle, will most certainly be amongst the playing field in Coventry.
Devon Petersen’s (£23,000) success over Cullen occurred in the midst of yet another impressive showing from the South African in a PDC Series event. ‘The African Warrior’ followed up a solid Summer by firstly reaching a semi-final on Day One, only to lose to Gerwyn Price, before agonisingly blowing a 7-4 lead over the same opponent on Day Four, only this time for it to happen in the final. He also threw a 9-dart finish on the main streaming board in his match against Dimitri Van Den Bergh on Day Five, capping an intense week to enhance aspirations of making a World Grand Prix debut.
Stephen Bunting (£21,250), Ryan Joyce (£21,000), Gabriel Clemens (£20,500), Jamie Hughes (£20,000), Dirk van Duijvenbode (£19,000) and Kim Huybrechts (£17,750)take up positions 8-13 in the ProTour Order of Merit, all in contention to be in with a chance of making an appearance at the coveted double-start tournament.
Perhaps two surprising names are in the mix to also make their Grand Prix debuts on the back of stunning performances in Germany.
Latvian prodigy Madars Razma (£17,500) sits in 14th place of the PT OoM having produced an outstanding display on Day One of the Autumn Series to reach the final, where he eventually fell to current World Champion and Premier League play-off contender, Peter Wright.
No stranger to a PDC title, Australia’s Damon Heta (£17,250) showcased his mesmerising capabilities once again by securing victory on Day Two of the Autumn series. The former Brisbane Masters champion saw off Michael van Gerwen in Round 2 on his way to the title, secured by an 8-4 win over Joe Cullen.
Several players in and around the last spot in the ProTour Order of Merit will still feel they have a significant chance of playing in Coventry.
Simon Whitlock (£16,500) currently holds that all-important 16th and final qualification spot, but as this weekend’s European Tour event acts as the cutoff point for qualification, the man from down under’s run of 10 consecutive Grand Prix’s looks set to come to an end.
Mervyn King, Jeffrey De Zwaan and Jonny Clayton also sit on £16,500, but, unlike Whitlock, qualified for the upcoming event and will automatically go ahead of ‘The Wizard’ in the rankings for World Grand Prix qualification.