SPEEDY SERVICES UK DARTS OPEN FIELD CONFIRMED
The £200,000 tournament, dubbed ^The FA Cup of Darts^ for its open draw format and the inclusion of amateur qualifiers alongside top professionals, will be held from June 6-9 this year, live on Sky Sports.
While the 114 professional qualifiers competed in a series of eight qualifying tournaments to win their places at the Reebok Stadium, sponsors Speedy Services also staged four open amateur qualifiers for 32 players to compete in the UK Open.
The leading 32 professionals will come into the tournament in the third round on Friday June 7, and will be headed by reigning UK Open champion Robert Thornton and Dutch star Michael van Gerwen - the World Championship runner-up who amazingly won five of the eight UK Open Qualifiers.
Bolton-based Ross Smith, two-time UK Open champion Raymond van Barneveld, former Reebok Stadium finalists Gary Anderson, John Part and Wes Newton and double World Champion Adrian Lewis will also enter in the third round.
Reigning World Champion and four-time UK Open winner Phil Taylor, though, finished just 44th in the UK Open rankings to mean he will come in at the second round stage.
James Wade, the 2008 and 2011 UK Open champion, will be amongst the 82 players drawn to compete in the preliminary and first rounds of the event, which will kick off on June 6.
Wade is joined in the initial draw by 2004 winner Roland Scholten, 2007 finalist Vincent van der Voort, world number nine Justin Pipe, former BDO World Champion Ted Hankey and international qualifiers including Hong Kong^s Royden Lam, Spain^s Antonio Alcinas, Austria^s Mensur Suljovic and the German pair of Tomas Seyler and Bernd Roith.
The Speedy Qualifiers include a clutch of amateur players who have previously competed in the UK Open before, including Manchester^s Paul Whitworth, Wallasey^s Robbie Green, Ayrshire^s Andy Boulton and Edinburgh^s Gus Santana.
Stephen Bunting, who almost knocked out Wade in last year^s UK Open and is also the current BDO World Masters champion, also won through the Speedy Qualifiers, alongside Maik Langendorf, who represented Austria in the World Cup this year and travelled to London to compete in the Speedy Qualifiers.
The draw for the Speedy Services UK Open^s opening night - featuring the preliminary, first and second rounds - will be made on Thursday May 9 ahead of the McCoy^s Premier League Darts in Newcastle.
The UK Open^s third round draw will be made on Thursday June 6 at the conclusion of the event^s opening night, with an open draw then being made following each round in Bolton.
The Speedy Services UK Open will be held from June 6-9 at the Premier Suite, De Vere Whites, Reebok Stadium, Bolton. Tickets can be purchased by calling 9844 871 8807 or by visiting www.seetickets.com/go/ukopen.
Speedy Services UK Open Qualifiers
Top 32 - Enter in Third Round
Michael van Gerwen
Raymond van Barneveld
Players 33-64 - Enter in Second Round
Players 65-96 (plus ties) - Enter in Preliminary/First Round
Leon de Geus
Vincent van der Voort
Speedy Amateur Qualifiers - Enter in Preliminary/First Round