Jamie Hughes claimed his maiden PDC ranking title with victory at the inaugural Czech Darts Open in Prague on Sunday, and with it secured a debut at the World Matchplay later this month.
The 33-year-old, from Tipton, won his first PDC title on the Challenge Tour last year, and also racked up 12 tournament wins on the BDO/WDF circuit, including the 2014 Finder Darts Masters.
Hughes won his PDC tour card at the second attempt at UK Qualifying School in January this year, and went into this past weekend needing to win the £25,000 title to sneak the last spot at the prestigious World Matchplay.
Wins over Devon Petersen (6-4) and Adrian Lewis (6-0) took Yozza into the final day of the three-day event, at the PVA Expo, with a 6-3 victory against Ron Meulenkamp sealing a place in the last session of play.
A last-leg deciding success over the in-form Ian White saw Hughes into a second European Tour semi-final, where he brushed aside Simon Whitlock 7-3 to move to within one more win of a debut at the Winter Gardens.
Facing him in the final was former BDO world champion, Stephen Bunting, who was also appearing in his maiden European Tour decider.
After trailing 3-1 in the early stages, Hughes rattled off seven legs in succession to prevail 8-3, scoop the £25,000 top prize and earn a place in the 32-player field for the World Matchplay in three weeks’ time.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win my first title, I’ve worked so hard for this moment,” Hughes said.
“I’ve been playing well for a while now, better than I played this weekend strangely enough, and now I’ve finally got the results to show for it.
“To make the World Matchplay so soon is fantastic for me and now I can’t wait to show the world what I’m about on one of the biggest stages in world darts.”
The victory pushes Hughes up to number 67 on the PDC Order of Merit, less than £4,000 off the top 64, while Bunting, at number 18, edges closer to a return to the top 16.
“I am proud of my achievements this weekend, even winning just one game I would’ve taken positives from,” Bunting said.
“It shows progress that I’ve reached my first European Tour final, hopefully it will be the first of many, and I can take my good form into the upcoming TV events.”
2019 Czech Darts Open
Day 3 (Sunday, June 30)
Keegan Brown 6-4 Danny Noppert
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Ted Evetts
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Ian White 6-1 Andrew Gilding
Jamie Hughes 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
Mervyn King 6-4 Corey Cadby
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Keegan Brown 6-2 Mensur Suljovic
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Daryl Gurney
Jamie Hughes 6-5 Ian White
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Mervyn King
Stephen Bunting 7-4 Keegan Brown
Jamie Hughes 7-3 Simon Whitlock
Jamie Hughes 8-3 Stephen Bunting
Picture: Jonas Hunold/PDC Europe
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