Burton secures debut at Ally Pally for World Darts Championship
Stephen Burton says he is ready to ‘give it his all’ when he makes his debut in the William Hill World Darts Championship next month, writes Alex Moss.
The former Debenham High School pupil has qualified for the sport’s most lucrative tournament, which this year boasts a record £2.5 million in prize money, after securing one of three spots at the Tour Card Holders’ Qualifier on Monday.
The 30-year-old came through four rounds to clinch his spot at the showpiece event at Alexandra Palace for the first time, and will face Somerset’s Ryan Searle in the first round.
“All the players are good players, so there is no easy draw,” Burton said. “I’ll just take it game by game and go up there and give it my all.
“I went into the qualifier on Monday full of confidence, after doing so well at the Players Championship Finals in Minehead at the weekend.
“When I first came onto the tour two years ago, I was a little unaware of the size of it all, and I didn’t have a very good first year.
“But I’ve definitely shown this year that I’m capable of doing it.”
Burton, a window cleaner who lives in Ipswich, won his tour card on to the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) circuit on the first day of Qualifying School in 2017.
Currently ranked 80th on the PDC Order of Merit, Burton will need to win at least two games at Alexandra Palace to break into the top 64 and avoid having to go back to Qualifying School again in January.
Burton made his televised debut at the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals this past weekend, beating Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena and Darren Webster, before losing 10-4 to world number one Michael van Gerwen in the last 16 on the main stage.