The BDO World Championship gets underway with a big day of action at the Lakeside Country Club as both the men’s and women’s tournament begins across the course of the two sessions of play in Frimley Green.
The men’s number one seed and the women’s champion headline the schedule of the first day of the tournament and there are three other really juicy battles on what looks like a very competitive card.
The tournament begins with the men’s top seed and beaten finalist of last year, Mark McGeeney, in action. The Gladiator will attempt to make it into the second round when he faces the capable Dutch thrower Dirk Telnekes before the first of the preliminary round games take place when the American qualifier Jim Widmeyer goes up against the former PDC player Nigel Heydon for a place in the first round.
Lisa Ashton then begins her title defence in the opening match of the women’s tournament when she takes on the leading Japanese star Mikuru Suzuki. The afternoon session concludes with what the bookmakers have as the tightest match of proceedings when the former finalist Martin Phillips takes on Conan Whitehead in what many see as a pick ‘em tussle.
The pick of the matches on the opening day is the preliminary round match between Paul Hogan and former PDC superstar Wes Newton with the winner progressing to take on Willem Mandigers in the first round. They are followed by the second women’s match of the tournament which sees Sharon Prins taking on Roz Bulmer for a place in the quarter final.
We have a third preliminary round match in the penultimate clash of the night when two stars of Australasia meet as Craig Cumming faces Jordan Thompson for a place in the first round. The final match of the first day of play sees the former semi-finalist Wesley Harms taking on the man who has gone within a win of the title in the past in Tony O’Shea.
I’ll go with a couple of bets on the opening day of the tournament. Martin Phillips has become someone to take on in this event in recent years and Conan Whitehead is certainly capable of seeing to him. Bookmakers can’t split these two men and it isn’t hard to see why but regular readers will have read me mention on many an occasion that I like favouring the upcoming player over the one whose best days are behind him. That is the scenario we have here and Whitehead is the one who is on the upturn. With that in mind he is the one I want to be on.
We sort of have the same issue in the final match of the day too where Wesley Harms, in among his prime years, takes on a Tony O’Shea, who while he is capable of big performances and outings, they are very much few and far between these days. Credit goes to O’Shea for doing enough to make it back into this tournament but just how competitive he can be remains to be seen. O’Shea wasn’t here last year but he hasn’t won a match since he made the final in 2013. Three of those four losses have been 3-0 and I think Harms can deal with him in enough style to have a bit in hand come the end.
WON – Back C.Whitehead to beat M.Phillips for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor
Back W.Harms (-1.5 sets) to beat T.O’Shea for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfred
Back him here: