Michael van Gerwen to begin bid for fifth straight Masters title against debutant Jonny Clayton next month

Newly-crowned world champion Michael van Gerwen will start his bid for a fifth consecutive Masters title against Jonny Clayton in Milton Keynes next month.

The seventh staging of the invitational event, which is exclusive to players ranked inside the top 16 of the PDC Order of Merit, will take place at Arena MK in early February.

World number one van Gerwen, who won the PDC World Championship for a third time with a 7-3 win over Michael Smith in the final at Alexandra Palace last night, takes on the 16th seed Clayton.

Clayton, a winner on the European Tour in 2018, is one of three debutants in the Masters this year, along with Darren Webster and Joe Cullen, while Adrian Lewis is back after a 12-month absence from the event.

Elsewhere in the first-round draw, World Championship runner-up Smith, the sixth seed, takes on Ian White, world number two Rob Cross faces Cullen, and third seed Peter Wright opens up against Lewis.

Fourth seed Gary Anderson plays Webster, recent Players Championship Finals winner Daryl Gurney starts his campaign against Dave Chisnall, and Mensur Suljovic faces Simon Whitlock.

James Wade, the only other previous winner of the Masters in the 16-player field, begins his bid for a second title against Grand Slam of Darts champion Gerwyn Price.

Tickets are still available for the three-day event which runs from February 1-3. Click here to buy tickets (external site).

2019 Masters first round draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Jonny Clayton (16)
Mensur Suljovic (8) v Simon Whitlock (9)
Daryl Gurney (5) v Dave Chisnall (12)
Gary Anderson (4) v Darren Webster (13)
Rob Cross (2) v Joe Cullen (15)
Gerwyn Price (7) v James Wade (10)
Michael Smith (6) v Ian White (11)
Peter Wright (3) v Adrian Lewis (14)

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