Callan Rydz secured top spot on the 2019 PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Order of Merit despite wins for Kyle McKinstry and Mark Barilli on the final day of the season.
Newcastle youngster Rydz, who won two events during the year, secured top spot by reaching the Event 19 semi-finals on Sunday.
He will now progress to compete in the 2019/2020 William Hill World Darts Championship, and also secures a PDC Tour Card for 2020/2021 as a result of his success.
His bid for a seasonal treble was ended with a 5-1 defeat to Jason Cullen – who averaged 102.2 in a superb display – in the last four of Event 19, before the Irish ace went down by the same scoreline in the final to McKinstry.
Northern Ireland’s McKinstry also defeated two 2019 Challenge Tour event winners, Shaun Carroll and Darren Beveridge, during the event, and failed to be taken to a deciding ninth leg in any of his eight matches.
Event 20 saw the year’s tournaments conclude with a first Challenge Tour victory for Scotland’s Barilli, who overcame Saturday’s Event 17 winner Ciaran Teehan 5-3 in the final.
He also overcame McKinstry in the last 64, and also proved too strong for Ian Lever, Robbie Collins, John Davey and David Evans on his way to the £2,000 title.
The final Challenge Tour Order of Merit saw Rydz collect £6,750 during the year, ahead of Jesus Noguera (£6,050), as the Spanish player also collects a two-year PDC Tour Card.
Cameron Menzies (£5,800), Stephen Burton (£5,500) and Boris Koltsov (£5,400) completed the top five, ahead of Andy Jenkins, Cody Harris and McKinstry, with Berry van Peer and Patrick Lynskey completing the top ten.
A superb season’s end almost saw Nick Fullwell crash into the top ten. The Stourbridge man has been performing well, in all formats, recently and again reached the later stages in events 19 & 20. His total of £3800 has almost all been won since winning event 10. Had Fullwell hit the gas earlier he could well have been in contention for the top prizes!
All in all the order of merit for 2019 features the usual mix of fearless youngsters, experienced older hands and a smattering of those who could be returning to former glory.
Looking over the top 64 some stand out names include; Andy Jenkins who surprised many with his excellent performance overall. Berry Van Peer who gains the underdog support due to his struggles with dartitis. Nick Fullwell is seemingly making rapid progress and others such as Mark Walsh, Wes Newton and Colin Osborne are beginning to get noticed again.
|9||Berry van Peer||£4,350|
|40||Patrick van den Boogaard||£1,350|
|41||Martin Atkins (Wigan)||£1,300|
|51||Danny van Trijp||£1,150|
In many ways today’s Challenge Tour resembles the pro tour of 10-15 years ago. The weekends are tough, and the events days long, but there is still some mixture of performance level. This can give many players the chance to win games and or money.
The standard and dedication to the Challenge Tour has been increasing year on year and it may prove a much more regular springboard to the elite level in future.
DartsWorld looks forward to increased coverage of this entertaining, underestimated and highly skilled PDC Tour.
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Italicised Editorial – DartsWorld