RACE TO HASSELT: Back-to-back European Tour titles moves Michael van Gerwen into provisional top seed spot

Michael van Gerwen climbed up to the top of the European Tour Order of Merit following last night’s victory in the Austrian Darts Open in Vienna.

The world number one edged past Michael Smith 6-5 in a thrilling final to land back-to-back titles on the European Tour circuit, and his third in total for 2017.

The victory helped van Gerwen to climb above Peter Wright, a three-time winner on the European Tour this season, up into the top spot on the European Tour Order of Merit, which is the sole means of qualification for the Unibet European Championship later this year.

The top 32 players on the Order of Merit, following the completion of the 12th and final European Tour event of the year, will all qualify for the televised event in Hasselt, with the top eight enlisted as the seeds for the tournament.

Joe Cullen’s run to the semi-finals in Vienna has moved him into the top eight, at the expense of Dave Chisnall, who was absent from the European Tour this past weekend.

Jamie Bain and Chris Dobey’s runs to the last 16 at the weekend has moved them both into provisional qualifying places, while Finnish ace Kim Viljanen pushed himself into contention too.

Viljanen was the surprise conqueror of world number three Peter Wright on Saturday, and he went on to make it through to the quarter-finals the following day to sit on £5,000 on the Order of Merit.

A number of big names are set to miss out on the European Championship as it stands, with Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor having yet to play in any European Tour event in 2017, while James Wade, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld all currently fall just short of the top 32.

With five events of this year’s European Tour left to go, and £675,000 in prize money up for grabs, there is still plenty of time for the top boys to haul themselves into a qualifying spot for Hasselt.

European Tour Order of Merit (Only top 32 qualify for the Unibet European Championship) (as of June 26, 2017)

Pos  Player Prize Money
1 Michael van Gerwen £99,000
2 Peter Wright £88,000
3 Michael Smith £45,000
4 Mensur Suljovic £37,000
5 Jelle Klaasen £31,000
6 Cristo Reyes £24,000
= Benito van de Pas £24,000
8 Joe Cullen £20,000
9 Dave Chisnall £19,000
10 Daryl Gurney £18,000
11 Stephen Bunting £17,000
12 Ian White £16,000
= Gerwyn Price £16,000
14 Mervyn King £15,000
= Simon Whitlock £15,000
16 Rob Cross £14,000
17 Kim Huybrechts £13,000
18 Krzysztof Ratajski £11,000
= Dimitri van den Bergh £11,000
20 Martin Schindler £9,000
= John Henderson £9,000
= Christian Kist £9,000
= Alan Norris £9,000
24 Jonny Clayton £8,000
= James Wilson £8,000
26 Vincent van der Voort £7,000
= Dirk van Duijvenbode £7,000
= Kyle Anderson £7,000
= Jan Dekker £7,000
= Darren Johnson £7,000
31 Chris Dobey £6,000
= Jamie Bain £6,000
= Ronny Huybrechts £6,000
= Chris Quantock £6,000
= James Richardson £6,000
= James Wade £6,000

Other notable players: Gary Anderson (£0), Adrian Lewis (£5,000), Phil Taylor (£0), Raymond van Barneveld (£4,000), Robert Thornton (£3,000), Terry Jenkins (£0), Mark Webster (£5,000), Steve Beaton (£3,000), Brendan Dolan (£1,000), Justin Pipe (£5,000), Darren Webster (£5,000), Jamie Caven (£0)


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