Koltsov and Ljubic seal Euro Tour qualification
Pero Ljubic will make his European Tour debut at the European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen, while Boris Koltsov is set to add to his growing experience in Graz at the Austrian Darts Open following a pair of Eastern Europe qualifiers in Budapest.
Pavel Jirkal, Koltsov, and Karel Sedláček profited from the first four qualifiers in January, and 30 players arrived in Hungary’s capital looking to seal a lucrative place on the PDC European Tour. Sedláček was unable to play, which gave well-known players such as Krzysztof Kciuk and Oliver Ferenc the chance to secure Euro Tour debuts and the likes of Koltsov and Jirkal to add to their tally.
Sebastian Steyer, who has gone close to qualification on a few occasions, was the big casualty in the opening stages of the Austrian Darts Open qualifier, and although Oliver Ferenc lost out in the last 16, the semi-final line-up wasn’t too surprising. Former multiple World Championship participant Kciuk faced Slovakian Vladimir Zatko while Koltsov took on Jirkal. And in the end, it was Russian star Koltsov, who’s already won a Challenge Tour and appeared on the ProTour several times in 2019, who defeated his Polish opponent 6-3 with an impressive average of 96.12 to book his place in Graz.
Local favourites Patrik Kovács, Gergely Lakatos and Tamás Alexits all fell at the first hurdle in the second qualifier, while Koltsov and Kciuk both lost out at the last 16 stage. This left the quarter-finals with two clear favourites to meet in the final for a spot in Sindelfingen; Oliver Ferenc and Pavel Drtil. However, they were defeated by Pero Ljubic and Sebastian Steyer respectively, meaning that there was guaranteed to be a European Tour debutant at one of the great venues of the circuit, the Glaspalast.
Croatian Ljubic met Steyer in the final, and it was a nervy affair, but the former came out on top in a deciding leg to become the first Croatian to appear on the Euro Tour since Robert Marijanović represented them back in 2015. Sunday sees two more qualifiers take place for events in Zwolle and Copenhagen with plenty of players looking to join Koltsov and Ljubic in sealing a lucrative place at a European Tour event.