DARTS: Second round start for Ward at UK Open

Dorset Echo: CONFIDENT MOOD: Ben Ward CONFIDENT MOOD: Ben Ward

BEN Ward will enter his first UK Open next month at the second round stage after just missing out on a top-32 finish in the qualifying order of merit.

The Dorchester ace was 37th on the money list at the end of the six tournament qualifiers in Wigan.

That means Ward, 25, has to win at least one match at the televised stages of 'The FA Cup of Darts’ to guarantee himself a portion of the prize money.

Some 138 players, including 32 amateurs, will take part in the competition proper at Butlins Minehead from March 7-9.

Ward had a mixed set of results during qualifying events four, five and six last weekend, exiting in the first, fifth and third rounds respectively.

His run to the last 16 in the second of those qualifiers saw him beat Michael Smith, the man who knocked Phil Taylor out of this year’s World Championship, before losing 6-5 to Dutchman Vincent van der Voort.

“I finished 37th in the money list which wasn’t too bad for my first year,” said Ward.

“It means I have to win my first game to get to the third round where I will play one of the 32 seeds.

“I’m confident. If I play well I’ve always got a chance of winning and I don’t really care who I play.

“It’s my first time at the tournament and I’m just pleased to be there.”

The PDC’s top names, including Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis, are set to take part in the Coral UK Open.

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