Zonneveld clinches PDC tour card in Hildesheim

Qualifying School: the place where dreams are made. And, that was very much the case on day one for 20-year-old Dutchman Niels Zonneveld – who became a PDC tour card holder for the first time as a conquered a field of 249 arrowsmiths in Hildesheim.

Zonneveld, who finished ninth on the Development Tour order of merit last year, saved his best form for the latter stages of the tournament to clinch his PDC tour card at his first attempt, and book his place at the UK Open in the process.

The Dutchman began his victorious day of action in Germany with wins over Stefan Nilles and Gabriel Florin-Olar, before impressive victorious over Patrick van den Boogaarde, Mike De Dekker and Poland’s Sebastian Steyer sealed his place in the quarter-finals. Following successes over Hungary’s Gergely Lakatos and Nico Schlund put Zonneveld into the final where he’d face Christian Goedl.

Austria’s Goedl made his to the final with wins over Dominic Keller, Daniel Sprudzs, Andreas Flamme, Roxy-James Rodriguez, Ricardo Pietreczko, John Michael and fellow countryman Hannes Schnier as he set sights on a PDC tour card.

It wasn’t to be for the Austrian as the Netherlands’ Zonneveld produced a dominant display in the final as he averaged just below the 100 mark in a 5-1 win over Goedl.

Elsewhere, Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas suffered a last 16 exit in Hildesheim at the hands of Madars Razma – who suffered a last eight defeat to German youngster Nico Schlund.

Former BDO World Trophy winner Geert De Vos squandered match darts to prevail to the quarter-finals, and was eventually edged out by Greece’s John Michael. De Vos recorded the highest average of the tournament earlier on in the day as he averaged 107.4 in a 5-0 whitewashing of Pascal Wirotius.

Back-to-back BDO World Youth Champion Justin van Tergouw, Cody Harris and Andy Baetens left themselves with work to do in the upcoming days of action in Germany as they endured last 64 exits while Canada’s Jeff Smith and Russia’s Boris Koltsov, who were both tipped by many to gain tour cards, were dumped out in the opening round.

The action will resume tomorrow in Hildesheim as over 200 players return with another automatic place on the Pro Tour on offer.

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Ben Hudd Ben is a dedicated sports writer and aspiring sports journalist, covering all aspects of darts for the ever-growing Darts Planet TV. He has a passion for sport, particularly darts, cricket and football.

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