Jamie Lewis and Benito van de Pas among first to make it through PDC Qualifying School Stage One

Welshman Jamie Lewis and Benito van de Pas from the Netherlands joined the first batch of 16 players to successfully navigate PDC Qualifying School Stage One.

The opening day of the 2023 PDC Qualifying Schools saw Stage One begin in Milton Keynes and Kalkar, as over 800 players compete for 27 Tour Cards, for the right to feature on the PDC circuit in 2023/24.

The First Stage, being held from January 9-11, will see players from the UK and Europe qualifying to compete in the Final Stage, which will take place from January 12-15.

Eight players per day will progress from the First Stage, with all further places going to players from a First Stage Order of Merit in each region.

The opening day of UK Qualifying School in Milton Keynes saw 2018 World Championship semi-finalist Lewis and PDC Asian Champion Perez headline the eight players to make it through.

Lewis boasted a tournament average of 93 to seal his progression, while Perez registered five successive 5-1 wins to advance, easing past two-time ProTour event winner Josh Payne in the last 16.

They were joined by former Tour Card Holders Peter Jacques, Lee Palfreyman and Jim Walker, with the latter defeating former WDF number one James Hurrell in his qualification decider.

Darryl Pilgrim stormed through to the Final Stage in sublime style, averaging 110 to come through a high-quality clash against Cam Crabtree, before averaging 99 in his last 16 success against Matthew Dennant.

Development Tour star Dylan Slevin also posted two ton-plus averages to secure his progression to the Final Stage, with Dale Gadsby making up the eight qualifiers from the UK event on Monday.

Women's World Matchplay winner Fallon Sherrock recorded wins over former UK Open semi-finalist Alan Norris and Conan Whitehead before succumbing to Graham Usher in the last 128.

UK Qualifying School Stage One Day One Last 16

  • Dylan Slevin 5-4 James Howard Hughes
  • Peter Jacques 5-4 James Richardson
  • Christian Perez 5-1 Josh Payne
  • Lee Palfreyman 5-3 Scott Baker
  • Jamie Lewis 5-2 Christopher Gilliland
  • Jim Walker 5-2 James Hurrell
  • Dale Gadsby 5-3 Chris Quantock
  • Darryl Pilgrim 5-3 Matthew Dennant

Four-time Women's World Champion Lisa Ashton was eliminated in her opening match of the day, while 2012 World Championship runner-up Andy Hamilton progressed to the last 32.

Meanwhile, Van de Pas, a winner of three senior PDC ranking titles, began his bid to return to the professional ranks by coming through the First Stage of European Qualifying School in Germany.

The 29-year-old - a former World Grand Prix quarter-finalist - came through deciding-leg ties against Markus Kessler and Jamie Lawrence in the latter stages to progress to Thursday's Final Stage.

European Qualifying School Stage One Day One Last 16

  • Tytus Kanik 5-2 Francois Schweyen
  • Tomas Houdek 5-2 Daniel Klose
  • Arjan Konterman 5-4 Roemer Mooijman
  • Benito van de Pas 5-4 Jamie Lawrence
  • Niko Springer 5-1 Ricardo Perez
  • Daniel Zygla 5-2 Marc Vleghert
  • Richard Veenstra 5-4 Davyd Venken
  • Jimmy van Schie 5-1 Marcel Hausotter

Van de Pas was one of four Dutchmen to come through Monday's opening day, with Jimmy van Schie, Arjan Konterman and two-time Lakeside semi-finalist Richard Veenstra also winning through.

PDC Europe Super League runner-up Niko Springer advanced in emphatic fashion, sweeping aside Spain's Ricardo Perez in the last 16 to join his compatriot Daniel Zygla in securing his spot in the Final Stage.

Poland's Tytus Kanik also made a strong start in his bid to regain a place on the ProTour circuit, with Czech star Tomas Houdek claiming the scalps of Jeffrey de Graaf and Jesus Noguera to progress in Kalkar.

First Stage - January 9-11 UK Qualifying School

  • Start Time: Approx 1030 GMT
  • Format: best of nine legs
  • Last eight players each day progress to Final Stage

Former UK Open runner-up Corey Cadby was beaten in the last 256 on his return to competitive action, with three-time PDC event winner Jelle Klaasen bowing out in the last 64 on Day One.

Elsewhere, 1994 World Matchplay winner Larry Butler was beaten at the same stage, while Lukas Wenig was another high-profile last 64 casualty, despite posting a 110.5 average in the previous round.

The UK and European Qualifying Schools will continue on Tuesday, where a further 16 players will progress to the Final Stage.

European Qualifying School First Stage - January 9-11

  • Start Time: Approx 1030 CET
  • Format: best of nine legs
  • Last eight players progress to Final Stage

The remaining places will be allocated to players from a First Stage Order of Merit in each region, with one ranking point awarded per match from the first full round onwards.

Any ties in the respective Q Schools Orders of Merit will be split as follows based on all match results: Leg Difference, Legs Won, then DartConnect average. If players still cannot be split, a play-off would be organised.

Final Stage January 12-15 UK Qualifying School

  • Start Time: 1200 GMT
  • Each day's winner secures an automatic PDC Tour Card
  • Format: best of 11 legs

European Qualifying School

  • Start Time: 1200 CET
  • Each day's winner secures an automatic PDC Tour Card
  • Format: best of 11 legs

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