Stephen Bunting puts ‘lazy’ practice schedule behind him ahead of Masters

Expect to see a vastly improved Stephen 'The Bullet' Bunting at The Ladbrokes Masters this weekend.

The world No.20 admits he was one of the laziest players on the circuit at the practice oches, and his shock second round World Championship defeat to Ross Smith served as a bit of a wake-up call.

Bunting told Planet Sport: "I've upped my practice schedule. I'm one of the laziest dart players when it comes to practice, and I've realised that recently. I need to put the hours in to keep me at the top of my game.

"Up until the Worlds I was playing some great stuff and I was just not getting the luck. I believe I'm more mentally ready this time."

Bunting starts his Masters' campaign against Dave Chisnall in the first round on Friday and is aiming to secure his place back in the top 16 and even win his first PDC major title.

"I think I can win a major. My goals for this year are to break back into the top 16 and to win some Pro Tour and European events. Also, to just do my best in TV events. If I go into the competitions relaxed, then I will be more of a threat."

Bunting's defeat to Smith is already in his rear-view mirror and the 36-year-old has already turned a negative into a positive over the winter break.

"What world championship? Ha ha. I've already forgot about that, and I'm fully focused on what lies ahead, not what's happened in the past. My future in darts is still a bright one if I continue to knuckle down and work hard,

"I really am enjoying my darts at the moment. The break has given me the opportunity to relax and when I picked my darts up I was so keen to get going again.

Bunting was beaten by Chisnall in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Masters, so The Bullet will be searching for redemption.

"Chizzy is a great friend of mine but once we are on the oche we want to win. I've prepared as well as I have for any tournament and if I can put the darts I've shown in practice up on the big stage then I will be very happy."

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