Race to Blackpool: Max Hopp, Ross Smith and Stephen Bunting move into provisional spots following German Darts Grand Prix

Max Hopp was one of three players to move into the provisional field for the World Matchplay following the German Darts Grand Prix over the weekend.

The German, along with Ross Smith and Stephen Bunting, all took places in the current list of 16 players from the ProTour Order of Merit set to qualify for the Winter Gardens.

Hopp, a two-time winner on the ProTour in 2018, enjoyed his best run of this season to date in Munich last weekend, beating Keegan Brown, Kim Huybrechts and Karel Sedlacek to reach the semi-finals, before being edged out in a last-leg decider by Simon Whitlock.

Smith also climbed into the provisional top 16, as the in-form 30-year-old defeated Mark Barilli and Peter Wright to progress to the final day in Munich, before bowing out to Whitlock in the third round.

It was enough to put Smith back on course for a Blackpool debut, while former BDO world champion Stephen Bunting is also now in line to qualify, after wins over Alan Norris and Danny Noppert took him to the last 16 at the weekend.

Two of the three players to drop out of the provisional 16 were not in action at the weekend, Steve West and Jeffrey de Zwaan, while the other, Gabriel Clemens, lost in the first round.

There are now only 12 events left before the cut-off when the 32-player field for the World Matchplay will be decided. Up next is the German Darts Open, which starts in Saarbrücken tomorrow.

Follow the latest PDC order of merits via Weekly Dartscast co-host Burton DeWitt on Twitter!

Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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