Adam Hunt and George Killington have squeezed into the UK Open via impromptu play-offs.
The English pair won out to take the 95th and 96th spots in the UK Open Order of Merit. Hunt reaches Minehead for the first time in four years. For 21-year-old Killington, the 2018 UK Open will be his first. But the play-offs were shrouded in controversy.
After six qualifying events, a total of 12 players were tied for the last two spots. Tournament organisers put together play-offs to decide the pair that would compete in Minehead. But only seven players ended up taking part. Robert Marijanovic had not turned up for UK Open Qualifying 6 in Wigan. Luke Woodhouse, Stefan Nilles, Brett Claydon and Nicholas Bell all went home after being knocked out. Woodhouse initially claimed that he had not been informed of his potential involvement.
But PDC supremo Barry Hearn fought back against the claims. “Announcements made but players had left early knowing they were in the mix,” he tweeted. This was later backed up in a tweet sent out by the PDPA.
Nothing to sort out. Announcements made but players had left early knowing they were in the mix but didn’t ask TD or PDPA rep. Unbelievable.
— Barry Hearn (@BarryHearn) February 11, 2018
On the board, it was Jeff Smith who profited at first. The Canadian received a bye, and only needed one win to make it to Minehead. He took on Hunt, who averaged 93.5 in a 6-2 quarter-final win over Kevin Garcia. Hunt prevailed, silencing the Silencer with a 13-darter that rounded off a 6-4 success. Tottenham’s Killington opened with a 6-4 win over Rees Hall. He only averaged 71 against Hall, but mustered an 81 average to beat Jim Walker and seal his Minehead berth. An 11-darter in the final leg secured a 6-3 triumph. Killington threw a 177, a 180 and a 128 to leave double eight. It was struck at the second time of asking. Hunt won the dead rubber play-off final 6-4, taking 95th place in the Order of Merit.Tags: Adam Hunt | George Killington | PDC | UK Open 2018 | UK Open Qualifiers 2018