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CHARL PIETERSEN hit a nine-dart finish as he won a Tour Card on the opening day of the 2013 PDC Qualifying School in Wigan, and was joined in his success by Germany^s Jyhan Artut, Canada^s Ken MacNeil and English youngster Ricky Evans.

South African ace Pietersen, who recently competed in the Ladbrokes World Darts Championship, celebrated a brilliant first-ever day at Qualifying School by being one of the four players to win through from over 300 hopefuls in Wigan.

Pietersen found himself 3-0 down in his final game against experienced English star Kevin McDine but hit a nine-dart finish - the first in the three-year history of Qualifying School - as he levelled before prevailing 6-5 to win his Tour Card.

The 21-year-old from Pniel in Western Cape had defeated Ricky Williams, David Murphy, Pete Dyos, Brett Claydon and Stuart White earlier in the day to set up the clash with McDine, and said: "It^s an amazing feeling and it^s a dream come true for me.

"I want to play darts for the rest of my life and this has given me the opportunity.

"I enjoyed my games today and the experience I got in the World Championship was great for me, but now I can focus on the future.

"I^m still shaking from hitting the nine-darter and it feels so good to have hit the nine-darter, especially in the final against Kevin. To play him in the final game was special because I^ve enjoyed watching him on television in the past."

Pietersen follows in the footsteps of fellow South African Devon Petersen, who won a Tour Card at the same venue two years ago but has opted to sit out 2013 to recover from a tendon problem in his throwing arm.

"Devon^s a great friend and he^s been an inspiration to me," added Pietersen. "He^s a really good player and he^s shown me the way.

"The game^s so big in England and I want to come and live here now, play the circuit and get more experience."

Canadian ace Ken MacNeil dedicated his success to his late father, who passed away a month ago, as he won back his place on the PDC circuit with a 6-2 win over newcomer David Copley in his decider.

MacNeil had missed out on winning a Tour Card last year and has seen fellow countryman Jeff Smith - who was successful in Q School 12 months ago - overtake him in the PDC Order of Merit to win a place alongside John Part in Canada^s team for the Betfair World Cup of Darts, but he was left in tears following a memorable day in Wigan.

MacNeil began his run with whitewashes of Sean Johns and Simon McCall before defeating Dan Russell 6-2, and he then saw off Norwegian Robert Wagner 6-1 with what he later described as the best performance of his career.

He then overcame Germany^s Andree Welge 6-3 to reach his deciding game against Copley, and admitted: "Coming over here for this tournament, I felt like I did when I qualified for my first World Championship - I was hungry again.

"Not getting through Q School last year and not being able to play much on the circuit because of visa problems has meant that I lost my World Cup spot, and I wanted to come back and prove that I can still play, and I did it.

"My match against Robert Wagner is probably the best match I^ve ever played in my life, including practising, and I don^t even know where it came from.

"I lost my Dad just over a month ago and he left me his ring, which I was wearing on my dart-throwing hand. He was with me the whole way - I think he put those 180s and those doubles in, and this is dedicated to him."

He added: "I^m really looking forward to this year and hopefully I can get over here and play full-time.

"I know I can do it because I^ve beaten the best players in the game - this time last year I lost out in Q School but then beat Phil Taylor in the World Cup a week later!

"I was really hungry this year and I was very well prepared for this, but to get through on the first day is amazing. I haven^t shed a tear in darts since I was 22 or 23 and first got picked for Canada, so today was unbelievable."

German ace Artut, meanwhile, regained his Tour Card with a 6-4 win over Middlesex^s Vernon Sheppard in their decider, while 22-year-old Kettering ace Ricky Evans will become a full-time professional after he defeated Finland^s Veijo Viinikka to win a Tour Card.

Artut, who will represent Germany in the World Cup of Darts from February 1-3 in Hamburg, defeated Richard van Zijtveld, Brandon Walsh, Jonathan Worsley, Dave Charnock and James Forster as he set up his decider with Sheppard.

"It feels so great," said Artut. "It^s been a hard time for me because I^d played in the World Championship for three years in a row and I missed out last month and I^ve dropped out of the top 64.

"It^s the first time I^ve not had a Tour Card, but now I^ve got a sponsor and it^s so important for me to win my Tour Card back.

"I knew it would be hard today but I played well in my first three games and that set me up for the day."

Artut^s World Cup partner Welge was two games away from winning a Tour Card and teenager Max Hopp is also competing in Wigan this week as he bids to turn professional.

"There are so many good players in Germany now and we^re showing that," said Artut. "Last year I found it so hard in the European Tour because in our national qualifiers I was losing to some brilliant players.

"It^s an exciting time for darts in Germany, and with the World Cup coming up in Hamburg it^s a very happy time for me too."

Evans defeated both Adam Smith-Neale and Nathan Richards 6-1 in his opening two games and overcame another former Youth Tour rival, Lewis Venes, 6-2 in the third round.

He then produced a fine upset with a 6-4 defeat of Hong Kong^s Royden Lam - who had dropped only two legs in three games as he reached the last 32 - before seeing off Lee Hayes and Finland^s Veijo Viinikka by the same scoreline to win his Tour Card.

"This is a great chance for me now to make the step up to being a full professional and I^m delighted," said Evans, a 22-year-old from Kettering who is a former PDC Unicorn Youth Tour winner.

"The Youth Tour has been great for me and with so many good players I was delighted to make the top 16 last year to get free entry into Qualifying School.

"To go on and win through in my first day at Qualifying School is amazing - I can^t believe it!"

Alongside the success of players from Canada, South Africa and Germany on Thursday, the field of 300-plus players at Qualifying School includes hopefuls from as far afield as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as from across Europe and Scandinavia.

Thursday^s losing players will return to the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on Friday to compete in the second of four days of Qualifying School, with a further four Tour Cards on offer in each day.

Players who lose in the last 64 onwards on each day are also allocated ranking points based on their finishing position, which will go onto the Q School Order of Merit, from which nine further Tour Cards will be allocated following Day Four.

2013 PDC Qualifying School Day One
Preliminary Round
Darren Ward 6-3 Andrew Richardson
Alan Priestley 6-2 Steve O^Callaghan
Scott Coleman 6-0 Kevin Lawler
Andrew Johnson 6-1 Chris Skeates
Chris Thompson 6-0 Nick Malkin
Darren Williams 6-3 Graham Mills
Mark Gordon 6-4 Andrew Beaumont
Kevin Thomas 6-0 David Sharp
Sean McArdle 6-3 Dave Kelly
Ian Walters 6-2 Alex Long
Gary Rigby 6-3 Kevin Dowling
Pete Dyos 6-5 Gary Whittles
Sam Hill 6-5 Steve Maish
Alex Roy 6-1 Steven Pearson
Wayne Atwood 6-0 Lee Moffat
Vernon Sheppard 6-4 Geoff Whitworth
Rob Modra 6-1 Carlos Rodriguez
Mark Stephenson 6-2 Yves Cottenje
Neville Roberts 6-5 Chris Rudd
David Broome 6-5 Tom Gibson
Jonathan Worsley 6-0 Andy Hutchings
Jani Haavisto 6-1 Tony Blundell
Toon Greebe 6-3 Michael Rasztovits
Jason Wilson 6-2 Ryan Palmer
Ricky Sudale 6-4 Dale Quince
Robert Wagner 6-1 Chris Wickenden
Anthony Wort 6-3 Jon Jukes
Andree Welge 6-5 Dylan Duo
Steve Harcourt 6-5 Nigel Birch
Lee Drummond 6-0 Steve Randall
John Power 6-3 Paul Hodkin
Dave Weston 6-1 Leo Hendriks
David Copley 6-5 Leon Jarram
Matt Elsey 6-2 Jonathan Taylor
Lewis Venes 6-5 Ross Lowe
Dyson Parody 6-5 Brandonn Monk
Ian Moss 6-3 Alan Derrett
Steve Haggerty 6-3 Harry Lane
Phil Henshaw 6-3 Carl Evans
Heikki Hyvonen 6-2 Jordy Terburg
Joey Palfreyman 6-1 Tomas Seyler
Andrew Kavanagh 6-3 Matt Padgett
Jason Marriott 6-4 Jimmy Chojnowski
Chris Mason 6-5 Prakash Jiwa
Ian Lever 6-1 Simon Weston

First Round
Kevin McDine 6-3 Darren Beveridge
David Pallett 6-1 Terry Temple
Adam Hunt 6-0 Jamie Gemmell
Mark Lawrence 6-3 Max Hopp
Darren Cotterell 6-2 Martin Murphy
Darrell Claydon 6-0 Adrian Bolitho
Darren Ward 6-4 Dave Place
Scott Coleman 6-3 Alan Priestley
Steve Coote 6-1 Johnny Rylance
Jason Hogg 6-0 Samuel Poland
Yoshan Roxy Iyer 6-4 Andrew Halls
Mark Cox 6-4 Glen Miller
Aaron Dingivan 6-3 Mark Breakspear
Manuel Croskery 6-1 Paul Schofield
Andrew Johnson 6-3 Andy Parsons
Chris Thompson 6-2 Darren Williams
Ryan Harrington 6-4 Campbell Jackson
Stuart White 6-3 Stephen Andrews
Davyd Venken 6-2 Mike Nissen
Andy Pearce 6-2 Damien Sherwood
Mark Ashby 6-2 David Hambrook
Chris Allen 6-1 Dean Coe
Joe Bata 6-3 Mark Gordon
Kevin Thomas 6-4 Sean McArdle
Scott MacKenzie 6-3 Jack Tweddell
David Dodds 6-2 Steven Stanbridge
Paul Amos 6-3 Ron Atwill
Brett Claydon 6-3 Paul Rowley
Charl Pietersen 6-3 Ricky Williams
David Murphy (Wexford) 6-3 Andy Blackwell
Ian Walters 6-3 Jamie Guilfoyle
Pete Dyos 6-3 Gary Rigby
Matthew Waddoups 6-5 Dave Ladley
Lee Bryant 6-3 Steve Kirkby
Matthew Medhurst 6-0 Bruce Barker
Mike Veitch 6-5 Dan Read
Tony Tasker 6-1 Norman Fletcher
Stuart Dutton 6-1 Christoper Dale
Ben Songhurst 6-4 Sam Hill
Alex Roy 6-1 Wayne Atwood
Paul Hannaway 6-4 Scott Pearson
Ian Jopling 6-3 Matthew Dennant
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Mike Nott
Oliver Stell 6-3 Richard Plowman
Mike Norton 6-5 Colin Fowler
Darren Johnson 6-4 Chris Hartrey
Vernon Sheppard 6-5 Graham Hall
Mark Stephenson 6-4 Rob Modra
Mark Forman 6-2 Steve Mason
Dave Charnock 6-2 Marc Dewsbury
Steven Cupitt 6-0 David Patterson
Hugo Deysel 6-2 Gavin Howard
Brandon Walsh 6-3 Stephen McNally
Jyhan Artut 6-1 Richard van Zijtveld
Neville Roberts 6-4 Richard Slater
Jonathan Worsley 6-1 David Broome
Andrew Hibbert 6-1 John Turnbull
Richard Foster 6-5 Rocco Maes
Carl Minter 6-4 Aden Kirk
Joshua Carter 6-2 Sean Liptrot
James Forster 6-0 Atif Hussain
Jamie Robinson 6-1 Dave Walton
Ryan De Vreede 6-3 Ewan Hyslop
Janie Haavisto 6-3 Toon Greebe
Simon McCall 6-4 Martin Perring
Ken MacNeil 6-0 Sean Johns
Dan Russell 6-3 Peter Evison
Tom Martin 6-4 Sean Ryan
Mark Pritchard 6-0 Michael Gallagher
Lee Saville 6-0 Gary Eastwood
Jason Wilson 6-2 Andy Pearson
Robert Wagner 6-4 Ricky Sudale
Mark Frost 6-5 Kieran Keogh
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Lee White
Daniel Day 6-0 Rob Commerford
Wouter Vaes 6-5 Mike Gorst
Richie Winpenny 6-0 Rod Sanders
Dafydd Edwards 6-5 Brian Woods
Jake Patchett 6-2 Anthony Wort
Andree Welge 6-3 Steve Harcourt
Peter Martin 6-1 Kevin Cassidy
John Court 6-3 Eduardo Sales Lopez
Michael Blake 6-3 Matthew Tedstone
Jack Morris 6-5 David Murphy (Limerick)
Darron Brown 6-1 Paul Osmotherley
Edwin Max 6-5 Fred Smith
Matthew Dicken 6-2 Lee Drummond
Dave Weston 6-3 John Power
Simon Burt 6-2 Craig MacCaskill
Simon Craven 6-3 Wilfried Hoberg
Josh Pinder 6-4 Par Riihonen
Anthony West 6-1 Craig Pope
Martyn Turner 6-5 Patrick Pace
Jamie Ellam 6-4 Stuart Williams
Lee Palfreyman 6-2 Gareth Thomas
David Copley 6-0 Matt Elsey
Kentaro Suzuki 6-3 Paul Boyle
Joseph Heywood 6-5 Brian Startin
John Burgess 6-5 Barrie Bates
Royden Lam 6-1 Jonathan Mulley
Ricky Evans 6-1 Adam Smith-Neale
Nathan Richards 6-5 Ashley Holgate
Lewis Venes 6-1 Jamie Landon
Ian Moss 6-3 Dyson Parody
Clive Lewis 6-3 Torbjorn Gustafsson
Steve Hine 6-0 Stuart Millar
Mick Todd 6-1 Andrew Howarth
Danny Summers 6-1 Peter Nightingale
Lee Hayes 6-0 Arron Wike
Keith Rooney 6-0 Simon Mountford
Steve Haggerty 6-3 Harry Miles
Heikki Hyvonen 6-4 Phil Henshaw
Veijo Viinikka 6-4 Ryan Maher
Lionel Sams 6-3 Mark Jones
Dave Honey 6-0 Michael Markovits
Marko Kantele 6-3 Alan Cliffe
Leon De Geus 6-0 James Young
Scott Taylor 6-5 Andy Relf
Joey Palfreyman 6-3 Paul Wallace
Andrew Kavanagh 6-5 Jason Marriott
Terry Hayes 6-2 Jack Harrington
Mick Taylor Bye (Mark Robbins Timed Out)
Sam Hamilton 6-4 Peter Manley
Jamie Atkins 6-3 Tony Cole
Josh Jones 6-1 Brian Connolly
Lee Whitworth 6-4 Jack Hill
Jon Farmer 6-5 Mark Wilson
Chris Mason 6-3 Ian Lever

Second Round
Kevin McDine 6-2 David Pallett
Mark Lawrence 6-4 Adam Hunt
Darrell Claydon 6-4 Darren Cotterell
Darren Ward 6-4 Scott Coleman
Steve Coote 6-5 Jason Hogg
Mark Cox 6-4 Yoshan Roxy Iyer
Manuel Croskery 6-1 Aaron Dingivan
Chris Thompson 6-5 Andrew Johnson
Stuart White 6-3 Ryan Harrington
Andy Pearce 6-2 Davyd Venken
Chris Allen 6-3 Mark Ashby
Kevin Thomas 6-1 Joe Bata
David Dodds 6-2 Scott MacKenzie
Brett Claydon 6-2 Paul Amos
Charl Pietersen 6-5 David Murphy (Wexford)
Pete Dyos 6-4 Ian Walters
Lee Bryant 6-4 Matthew Waddoups
Matthew Medhurst 6-5 Mike Veitch
Stuart Dutton 6-2 Tony Tasker
Alex Roy 6-2 Ben Songhurst
Ian Jopling 6-4 Paul Hannaway
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Oliver Stell
Darren Johnson 6-1 Mike Norton
Vernon Sheppard 6-2 Mark Stephenson
Dave Charnock 6-5 Mark Forman
Hugo Deysel 6-5 Steven Cupitt
Jyhan Artut 6-4 Brandon Walsh
Jonathan Worsley 6-4 Neville Roberts
Andrew Hibbert 6-5 Richard Foster
Joshua Carter 6-4 Carl Minter
James Forster 6-5 Jamie Robinson
Ryan De Vreede 6-3 Jani Haavisto
Ken MacNeil 6-0 Simon McCall
Dan Russell 6-1 Tom Martin
Mark Pritchard 6-4 Lee Saville
Robert Wagner 6-4 Jason Wilson
Mark Frost 6-5 Ronny Huybrechts
Daniel Day 6-2 Wouter Vaes
Richie Winpenny 6-5 Dafydd Edwards
Andree Welge 6-4 Jake Patchett
Peter Martin 6-4 John Court
Michael Blake 6-0 Jack Morris
Darron Brown 6-2 Edwin Max
Matthew Dicken 6-4 Dave Weston
Simon Craven 6-4 Simon Burt
Anthony West 6-3 Josh Pinder
Martyn Turner 6-4 Jamie Ellam
David Copley 6-3 Lee Palfreyman
Kentaro Suzuki 6-3 Joseph Heywood
Royden Lam 6-1 John Burgess
Ricky Evans 6-1 Nathan Richards
Lewis Venes 6-4 Ian Moss
Steve Hine 6-3 Clive Lewis
Mick Todd 6-3 Danny Summers
Lee Hayes 6-3 Keith Rooney
Steve Haggerty 6-0 Heikki Hyvonen
Veijo Viinikka 6-3 Lionel Sams
Dave Honey 6-2 Marko Kantele
Leon De Geus 6-5 Scott Taylor
Joey Palfreyman 6-3 Andrew Kavanagh
Mick Taylor 6-1 Terry Hayes
Jamie Atkins 6-3 Sam Hamilton
Josh Jones 6-3 Lee Whitworth
Chris Mason 6-2 Jon Farmer

Third Round
Kevin McDine 6-2 Mark Lawrence
Darren Ward 6-5 Darrell Claydon
Mark Cox 6-2 Steve Coote
Chris Thompson 6-5 Manuel Croskery
Stuart White 6-4 Andy Pearce
Kevin Thomas 6-4 Chris Allen
Brett Claydon 6-2 David Dodds
Charl Pietersen 6-2 Pete Dyos
Matthew Medhurst 6-5 Lee Bryant
Alex Roy 6-5 Stuart Dutton
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Ian Jopling
Vernon Sheppard 6-4 Darren Johnson
Dave Charnock 6-5 Hugo Deysel
Jyhan Artut 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
Joshua Carter 6-5 Andrew Hibbert
James Forster 6-4 Ryan De Vreede
Ken MacNeil 6-2 Dan Russell
Robert Wagner 6-4 Mark Pritchard
Mark Frost 6-4 Daniel Day
Andree Welge 6-1 Richie Winpenny
Michael Blake 6-3 Peter Martin
Matthew Dicken 6-4 Darron Brown
Simon Craven 6-2 Anthony West
David Copley 6-5 Martyn Turner
Royden Lam 6-0 Kentaro Suzuki
Ricky Evans 6-2 Lewis Venes
Steve Hine 6-5 Mick Todd
Lee Hayes 6-5 Steve Haggerty
Veijo Viinikka 6-2 Dave Honey
Leon De Geus 6-3 Joey Palfreyman
Mick Taylor 6-5 Jamie Atkins
Josh Jones 6-5 Chris Mason
Losers receive two ranking points

Fourth Round
Kevin McDine 6-1 Darren Ward
Mark Cox 6-5 Chris Thompson
Stuart White 6-4 Kevin Thomas
Charl Pietersen 6-3 Brett Claydon
Alex Roy 6-5 Matthew Medhurst
Vernon Sheppard 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Jyhan Artut 6-2 Dave Charnock
James Forster 6-2 Joshua Carter
Ken MacNeil 6-1 Robert Wagner
Andree Welge 6-5 Mark Frost
Matthew Dicken 6-5 Michael Blake
David Copley 6-1 Simon Craven
Ricky Evans 6-4 Royden Lam
Lee Hayes 6-2 Steve Hine
Veijo Viinikka 6-3 Leon De Geus
Josh Jones 6-3 Mick Taylor
Losers receive three ranking points

Fifth Round
Kevin McDine 6-3 Mark Cox
Charl Pietersen 6-1 Stuart White
Vernon Sheppard 6-1 Alex Roy
Jyhan Artut 6-4 James Forster
Ken MacNeil 6-3 Andree Welge
David Copley 6-3 Matthew Dicken
Ricky Evans 6-4 Lee Hayes
Veijo Viinikka 6-1 Josh Jones
Losers receive five ranking points

Sixth Round
Charl Pietersen 6-5 Kevin McDine - Charl Pietersen hits nine-dart finish!
Jyhan Artut 6-3 Vernon Sheppard
Ken MacNeil 6-2 David Copley
Ricky Evans 6-4 Veijo Viinikka
Winners receive Tour Card
Losers receive nine ranking points

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