Ryan Searle currently occupies the final qualification spot (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
The race to secure places in the 2019 World Matchplay enters the final straight with just three events remaining before the cut off is made.
The 26th staging of the annual summer show-piece will feature the top 16 players from the Main PDC Order of Merit joined by the next highest 16 ranked players from the ProTour Order of Merit.
This year’s World Matchplay, sponsored for the first time by Betfred, features a record prize fund of £700,000, with £150,000 up for grabs for the winner.
The field of players heading to the Winter Gardens from July 20-28 will be confirmed following the Czech Darts Open on June 30, with the draw expected to take place in the following days.
The Czech Open is preceded by a double-header of Players Championship events this weekend which will signal the final opportunity for a number of players to book their place at Blackpool.
As it stands, 20 players have already rubber-stamped their spot in the event, while the scramble for qualification via the ProTour Order of Merit looks set to go down to the wire.
Nathan Aspinall, Ricky Evans, Krzysztof Ratajski and Glen Durrant are confirmed debutants, while the likes of Chris Dobey, Danny Noppert and Ryan Searle are also on course to grace the iconic Winter Gardens stage for the first time.
Searle is one of three players locked on £31,750 on the ProTour Order of Merit, below Kyle Anderson and above James Wilson on the countback rule.
Ross Smith and Keegan Brown are within touching distance, while Gabriel Clemens and William O’Connor both have work to do if they are to gatecrash the line-up.
World number 15 Darren Webster is the only current member of the top 16 not assured of a place in the main event.
Former finalist Raymond van Barneveld’s withdrawal from this week’s European Tour qualifiers and ProTour double-header means he will miss the Matchplay in his final season on the circuit.
The race to the World Matchplay: The latest standings with three events to go
The race to secure places in the 2019 World Matchplay enters the final straight with just three events remaining before…
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