Wednesday 2 March 2022

UK Open preview 4/8

(45) Jason Lowe v (157) Cameron Menzies/(101) Jelle Klaasen or (UR) Mark Rice

This kicks off with two Riley's qualifiers, one we know a touch more about than the other, Klaasen having a world title in the bank, but ended up only around the low 80's in averaging on the Challenge Tour, but that looks a bit down below where he's been at over the last year - although his Q-School average was basically the same. Rice won through the Chester qualifier and has qualified a couple of times before, didn't play the most recent one when it was a bit windy, did take three legs off Ronny Huybrechts when he was still relevant. Would think Jelle is good enough to advance, Menzies has hit some good form in the early stages of the Pro Tour season having won a board and you would think he'll have enough to handle Klaasen fairly comfortably on current form, while a matchup against Lowe, who's quietly doing business again after a bit of a leaner 2021 in comparison to 2020, ought to be too close to call.

(46) Florian Hempel v (181) Lukas Wenig or (UR) Adam Warner/(UR) Matt Good or (UR) Keelan Kay

We'll look at the second first round game first. Good made some headlines when he hit a nine in the Norwich qualifier (I believe this was the one played in comedy conditions), beyond that I don't know a great deal about him outside of what was on the Weekly Dartscast fairly recently. Keelan's someone who's been around on the under the 128 scene for a couple of years now, he's accumulated over 150 legs in my database in the last twelve months and is scoring 83, during which time he's made a couple of Dev Tour finals, and you think that ought to be enough to outclass a Riley's qualifier. Wenig is scoring 88 in my database over 200 legs, which makes me think he ought to be a solid favourite to cash, he's not on tour yet but got into quite a few Players Championships last year, so has decent experience. Warner won through Liverpool to make his debut and I'll give him some funking power as a fellow Sheffield alum, but I can't look past Wenig. Whether Lukas can trouble Florian is another question, year long stats make this out to be 60/40 so maybe there'll be some sneaky value in a possible all-German clash if we do see that game, given Hempel has been a little slow to start in 2022.

(47) Jamie Hughes v (53) Madars Razma

Awkward draw for both really, easily the strongest game between two players entering at round three. Hughes has been a bit quiet since lifting that Euro Tour what must be three years ago now, but isn't playing badly, if nowhere near the red hot levels he was at in 2019. Madars is scoring fairly similarly to Jamie but should come in as a small dog, the year long data saying it's near 60/40, maybe Razma is slightly higher, but he does understandably sound a little distracted over the past week or two and he did not look good against Cullen in Riesa.

(48) Raymond van Barneveld v (56) William Borland

Another match between two straight into round three, obviously picked for the main board, Barney is Barney and he'll just hope not to lose to a Scot on the afternoon session for the second straight season. Willie, after pinning that nine, would rate as just under a 30% chance on season long stats, but he's gone right off after that match, only averaging 82 in the four Pro Tours so far this season which is well down on what he's capable of. Not really the draw he'd have wanted as a result, but maybe the crowd will kick him back into gear.

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