Charlotte Open Champion Spellman Poised for World Darts Championship Debut

via City of Charlotte

The Charlotte Open darts tournament has proven to be an outstanding proving ground for the best players in North America, and in December two former winners of the event will make their World Championship debuts.

The 2023 edition, held at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel, saw Alex Spellman weave his magic on the rest of the field to claim the title and cap an excellent season.

And the 2021 champion, Jules van Dongen, has gone on to rise up the professional ranks of the PDC circuit, earning himself a maiden World Darts start next month.

Best of the Best

The World Darts Championship is, by definition, the pinnacle of the sport.

Those who bet on darts will no doubt be focusing their wagers on the best in the business, with the in-form Luke Humphries (+350), Michael van Gerwen (+450) and Gerwyn Price (+500) at the head of the market.

Fewer will be placing their PDC World Darts bet on the +100000 outsider Spellman, particularly as this tournament will mark his big stage debut outside of North America.

But there’s no substitute for the confidence gained from winning regularly, no matter what the sport, and darts is certainly no different – so Spellman will head to the Alexandra Palace in London full of self-assurance.

The 35-year-old is the reigning North American Tour champion, which is how he booked his place at the Worlds, having defeated the best players from the continent consistently over 12 events – including the trailblazing, former Charlotte Open winner Larry Butler.

Not only that, Spellman has regularly averaged in the 90s in those shorter-form games, so if he can replicate that level over the longer set play of the World Championships, he can be an almighty handful on debut.

As for Van Dongen, he’s more established as a PDC tour card holder, twice appearing in the UK Open major and representing the United States alongside yet another former Charlotte Open winner, Leonard Gates, at the World Cup.

If either plays their best game, they could make serious inroads at the Alexandra Palace.

Opening the Floodgates

It would be fair to say that 52-year-old Gates has enjoyed a circuitous route to darts stardom.

A former professional baseball player, Gates didn’t make his PDC debut until he had passed his milestone 50th birthday – reaching the second round of the World Championships last year to go with a previous run at the Grand Slam of Darts.

But it’s on the Seniors Tour where Gates has really made his name, regularly defeating the stars of yesteryear to claim some of the most prestigious prizes available for over-50s.

Having knocked out popular Brits like Martin Adams and Tony O’Shea, the Texan made the semi-finals of the World Seniors Championship, before going on an incredible winning run – clinching the title in each of the next three major tournaments.

The World Seniors Matchplay, Masters and Champion of Champions events were all won by Gates, who is arguably in the prime of his darting career at the age of 52 – it’s no wonder he’s performing so well amongst the elder statesmen and women of the sport.

He will take his place in the field for the WDF Darts Championship in December – a sort of amateur world title, so who knows: maybe America will have another major champion on its hands soon.



Originally posted 2023-11-18 04:30:30.