Scott Mitchell leads the way on the PDC Challenge Tour Order of Merit following the opening four events of the 2020 campaign.
Mitchell, the 2015 BDO World Champion, came up short in his first attempt at Qualifying School a week ago but enjoyed a dream start to life on the Challenge Tour.
The 49-year-old picked up the Event Two title in Wigan on Saturday and reached the Last 16 of Event Four the following day, picking up £2,200 in prize money.
That tally is enough to see ‘Scotty Dog’ top the early Challenge Tour ranking list, £50 clear of Robert Collins – who claimed the Event One title.
The opening Challenge Tour weekend of the year saw record entries as a knock-on effect of more than 800 players attending the UK and European Q Schools.
The Challenge Tour is open only to PDPA members who competed at 2020 Q School and did not win a PDC Tour Card, with each event costing £55 to enter and carrying a prize fund of £10,000.
If entries for PDC Players Championship events fall short of 128 players, the field is topped up via the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, meaning Mitchell, Collins, Matthew Dennant and Jitse van der Wal could be in line to feature in the upcoming ProTours.
The top two players on the final Challenge Tour Order of Merit following Event 24 will earn a two-year PDC Tour Card, with the winner qualifying for the William Hill World Championship.
The top eight non-Tour Card holders from the 2019 Challenge Tour Order of Merit also qualify for the 2020 UK Open.
|4||Jitse van der Wal||£2,050|
|23||Danny van Klompenburg||£400|
|30||Danny van Trijp||£300|
Former BDO World Champion Scott Mitchell has confirmed he will be heading to PDC Qualifying School for the first time in his career.
Mitchell, who claimed glory at Lakeside in 2015, is currently ranked 16th in the BDO system but has now opened the door to a potential PDC switch for the first time since joining the BDO in 2007.
Mitchell, who turns 50 in June, works full-time on a family-run farm in Dorset and balances work commitments with the less demanding BDO circuit which allows him to handpick his events.
However, given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the BDO and the lucrative rewards on offer on the other side of the darting divide, ‘Scotty Dog’ has revealed he will be competing at Q School in a bid to secure a coveted two-year PDC Tour Card.
UK Qualifying School takes place in Wigan from January 16-19, with two automatic Tour Cards up for grabs each day, as well as a further amount via the Q School Order of Merit table at the close of play on Sunday.
Following his Semi-Final defeat to Wayne Warren in the BDO World Championship on Saturday, Mitchell told Live Darts: “I’m going to go to Q School and try.
“It seems like it’s going to be a massive thing, so it’s one of those things that, in all the time I’ve been playing, it’s something I’ve felt that if I didn’t do then there would be a part of my darting life missing.
“If I don’t get a card, great. If I do get a card, great. It’s just something I have to experience.
“I’m 49 years old now and I don’t want to get to 60 and go ‘I haven’t done it’ and live with the regret.
“I’ve probably chosen a difficult year to do it to be fair!”
Mitchell is set to be among a plethora of current BDO players to try their hand at Q School, including Jim Williams, Scott Waites, Andy Hamilton, David Evans, Michael Unterbuchner and Richard Veenstra.
The 49-year-old believes the vast number of BDO entries can be attributed to the lack of transparency shown by the BDO board over prize money and the organisation’s future.
“I think it’s probably the clarity part of it, where we don’t know what’s going to happen,” added Mitchell.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what I’ll get for being a losing semi-finalist and you need some clarity of where it’s going and what we’re doing.
“I don’t believe for a minute that people aren’t trying their hardest to sort it out, I get that, but there’s a point where your sponsors look at you and say ‘where are we going with this?’ and if I can’t tell, how difficult does that make it to then stay on the circuit?
“It’s important that there’s some sort of clarity comes out in the next few days and we find out where we’re going.
“The BDO is a massive thing and nobody wants it to fold.”
Former World Champion Scott Mitchell has revealed his “frustration” at the current uncertainty surrounding the British Darts Organisation, including alarming ticket sale figures for the 2020 World Championship.
Mitchell joined us for an exclusive interview at the recent Players Championship Finals in Minehead to give his take on a number of the key issues surrounding the BDO, as well as the move from Lakeside, Grand Slam picks and more.
Mitchell is currently ranked eleventh in the BDO system but has struggled in televised competition this year, bowing out of the World Trophy and World Masters in the early rounds and missing out on a place in November’s Grand Slam.