Keegan Brown aims gatecrash the Winter Gardens (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
The scramble to secure places in the 2019 World Matchplay culminates in Prague this weekend, with eleven players vying for the final three spots.
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 from June 28-30, with the draw expected to take place in the following days.
As it stands, 29 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.
All 16 seeds are confirmed, with Adrian Lewis more than £25,000 clear of Joe Cullen in 16th, and UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall already assured of a debut.
Though 11 players involved in the Czech Open can still break into the ProTour qualification places, seven would be required to win the title if they are to gatecrash a trip to Blackpool next month.
Vincent van der Voort, James Wilson and Kyle Anderson occupy the final three places in the provisional ProTour Order of Merit but have all failed to qualify for the Czech Open and face a nervy weekend of looking over their shoulders.
Keegan Brown would move into pole position to qualify and oust Australia’s Anderson if he were to reach Round Two in Prague, but would then be reliant on other results going in his favour.
World Cup finalist William O’Connor requires a run to at least the Quarter-Finals, while Dutch ace Ron Meulenkamp and Steve West need a run to the Semi-Finals.
Jamie Hughes, Ted Evetts, Robert Thornton, Brendan Dolan, Justin Pipe, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Madars Razma must win the Czech Open if they are to secure a remarkable last-gasp qualification.
PDC Order of Merit – Provisional Top 16
1. Michael van Gerwen £1,604,750 (Q)
2. Rob Cross £798,000 (Q)
3. Daryl Gurney £528,250 (Q)
4. Gary Anderson £525,750 (Q)
5. Michael Smith £476,000 (Q)
6. Peter Wright £476,000 (Q)
7. Gerwyn Price £417,250 (Q)
8. James Wade £384,000 (Q)
9. Mensur Suljovic £361,000 (Q)
10. Ian White £327,250 (Q)
11. Simon Whitlock £315,250 (Q)
12. Dave Chisnall £311,500 (Q)
13. Nathan Aspinall £278,500 (Q)
14. Jonny Clayton £260,250 (Q)
15. Darren Webster £256,750 (Q)
16. Adrian Lewis £255,000 (Q)
PDC ProTour Order of Merit – Top 16 (not inclusive of min Czech Open prize money)
1. Krzysztof Ratajski £65,250 (Q)
2. Ricky Evans £55,750 (Q)
3. Glen Durrant £52,500 (Q)
4. Joe Cullen £50,750 (Q)
5. Steve Beaton £50,000 (Q)
6. Jeffrey De Zwaan £46,500 (Q)
7. Jermaine Wattimena £46,250 (Q)
8. Chris Dobey £44,000 (Q)
9. Danny Noppert £43,500 (Q)
10. Max Hopp £42,000 (Q)
11. Stephen Bunting £40,250 (Q)
12. John Henderson £38,750 (Q)
13. Mervyn King £36,250 (Q)
14. Vincent van der Voort £35,000
15. James Wilson £34,750
16. Kyle Anderson £32,750
19. Keegan Brown £32,500
21. William O’Connor £29,000
22. Ron Meulenkamp £27,750
23. Steve West £27,500
28. Jamie Hughes £23,250
35. Ted Evetts £20,000
40. Robert Thornton £19,250
44. Brendan Dolan £18,500
45. Justin Pipe £18,250
59. Rowby-John Rodriguez £11,500
63. Madars Razma £10,500