UK Open Darts 2024 – Rounds 1-3 Tips and Betting Preview

The UK Open gets underway in Minehead on Friday when the first four rounds of the tournament takes place as everyone in the competition will take to one of the eight stages at some point across the opening day.

The afternoon session sees the first three rounds of the tournament being played before the top 32 in the world come into the event for the fourth round in the event where an open draw will be held. Time restrictions will deny us the chance to look at the evening action but we can go through the afternoon matches.

Round 1

This is the round where the players ranked 97-128 in the PDC Order of Merit enter the tournament. They will be pitted against the amateur players and the ones who have qualified through either the Challenge Tour or the Development Tour to make 32 matches. They will all be over the best of 11 legs and the winners move through to the second round which begins shortly after the opening round concludes on a busy Friday afternoon.

Such is the strength in depth of darts these days we have some household names on show right from the off. On the main stage we have the former world champion Jelle Klaasen and Sebastian Bialecki toeing the oche while Wesley Plaisier, Jules van Dongen, Thibault Tricole and Danny Lauby are all on show on stage two. There are four first round matches on stage three too with former world champions Christian Kist and Scott Mitchell on show along with the young star Leighton Bennett, the seniors king Leonard Gates and Jeffrey de Graaf. The recently crowned World Seniors champion John Henderson, Chris Landman, Radek Szaganski and Wessel Nijman also enter in the opening round.

Round 2

The 32 winners from the opening round of the tournament will be almost straight back on stage and they will be joined by those who are ranked 65-96 in the PDC Order of Merit who join the tournament in this round. Those who are in this stage of the tournament step onto the stage knowing that if they win here they will be just one win away from a possible shot at the big boys in the evening session. Just like the first round, all these matches will be played over the best of 11 legs.

We have four matches in this round on the main stage and among the players entering the tournament in this round are Christian Perez, Steve Lennon and Jeffrey de Zwaan while on stage two we have the WDF world champion Andy Baetens, Karel Sedlacek and Geert Nentjes while Mario Vandenbogaerde and Josh Payne begin their campaign on stage three. Ronny Huybrechts, Niels Zonneveld, James Hurrell, Adam Smith-Neale, Keegan Brown, Danny van Trijp and Arron Monk are others who enter in this round.

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Round 3

This is the big round of the afternoon as the winners from the second round join those ranked 33-64 on the PDC Order of Merit who enter the tournament at this stage. Everyone competing in this round will know that they are one win away from a possible shot at the big boys in the fourth round in the evening session. More importantly than that, those who win their best of 11 leg match in this round will be guaranteed £2,500 which is a significant amount to the Order of Merit.

Just three matches take place from this round on the main stage but we get the highest ranked player in the round among them when Madars Razma is on show. Rowby-John Rodriguez, Steve Beaton and Jim Williams are also on show while Martin Lukeman, Jermaine Wattimena, Simon Whitlock, Gian van Veen and Cameron Menzies start out on stage two. Boris Krcmar, Ricky Evans and Matt Campbell will be out on stage three while Ian White, Florian Hempel, Mensur Suljovic, Kevin Doets, Luke Woodhouse, recent semi-finalists Keane Barry and Adam Gawlas, Mervyn King, Callan Rydz and Richard Veenstra all enter in this round too.


I’ll go with three bets over the opening three rounds of matches with the first two of them coming in the first round and we begin over on stage three where Jeffrey de Graaf feels a big price to get the better of Matthew Dennant. Dennant has been solid enough in the Players Championship events so far and certainly better than de Graaf but the Dutchman turned Swede has plenty more experience of playing in front of big crowds and we saw that he can go well against the big guns at the World Championship. Both men are in the first months of their tour card but de Graaf is well advanced experience wise and I am surprised we can get odds against on him here after his run at Alexandra Palace.

Danny Lauby Jr is another who is new to the PDC tour scene but I think he can open up with a win when he takes on Nathan Rafferty. Rafferty looked good at the Grand Slam of Darts a couple of years ago but he hasn’t broken through again since then and you get the feeling that a Lauby, who was a quarter finalist at the WDF World Championship towards the end of 2023, has every chance of taking him out. Lauby is a solid player who doesn’t do much wrong and usually those types of players make it through the early stages of this tournament. Rafferty as a favourite doesn’t sit well with me so I’m with the American here.

The other bet I like is for Owen Bates to beat Andy Boulton. Boulton is experienced and still a good player but he doesn’t have a tour card and I always think that is a negative. Bates does courtesy of his exploits on the Challenge Tour last season so he has been winning a lot of matches over the last few months. Boulton was on the Modus Super Series a couple of weeks ago where he won just five of his last 14 matches so I think he is vulnerable to a Bates, who hasn’t started 2024 brilliantly, averages 95.30 and 94.87 in PC3 last week and if he has that level here I think he wins this. Bates is clearly a rising star and should have enough to see off a fading force in Boulton.


Back Graaf to beat M.Dennant for a 3/10 stake at 2.15 with Coral

Back D.Lauby Jr to beat N.Rafferty for a 3/10 stake at 2.05 with Coral

Back O.Bates to beat A.Boulton for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with Bet365