2016 PDC Qualifying School Day Three

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2016 PDC Qualifying School Day Three

JEFFREY DE GRAAF became the latest Dutch star to join the PDC circuit as he secured his Tour Card alongside Brian Woods, Tony Newell and Ray Campbell on day three of Qualifying School at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.The 25-year old, who was seeded third going in to the recent Lakeside Championship, will now be looking to emulate the success of compatriots Benito van de Pas and Jeffrey de Zwaan - former Qualifying School graduates - as he joins the elite 128 PDC Tour Card holders.After coming through 5-0 in his opening match against former World Matchplay winner Peter Evison, he narrowly edged past Simon Burt before beating Lee Shewan, Jamie Bain, Scott Dale and Mark Walsh to set up a last eight clash with Simon Preston, which he comfortably won 5-1.Following his victory, the Dutchman admitted it was a lot tougher than expected to secure his place on the PDC ProTour."It is such a relief as there was a lot of pressure on me to get a Tour Card in the first place," he said."I thought I would make it easier than I did. After two days I was playing well but it wasn’t working out for me, and to have just one point - I was really disappointed in myself."I played well, so I am very happy with this [victory] but it was certainly harder than I thought."Having secured his place on the PDC circuit, de Graaf now has his sights firmly set on the William Hill World Championship stage, and wants to lock horns with current World Champion Gary Anderson."I want to face them all - I want to test my own skills against the best," he said, when quizzed about meeting the world’s top players week-in, week-out on the PDC circuit."A couple of years ago I played Gary Anderson at an exhibition, so I am looking forward to meeting him again."My dream is to get to Alexandra Palace - it’s the World Championship and I've always wanted to play in it. That’s the main goal for this year, but I hope I can do a lot more, grow a lot, play a lot of events and qualify for everything."Elsewhere, it was a successful day for Tony Newell and Brian Woods, as they both regained their Tour Cards at the first time of asking after finishing 2015 outside of the world's top 64.Newell whitewashed Matthew Hayes in his opener before beating Jeffrey van de Ven, Chris McTernan, Les Marson, Matt Golding, Trevor Burkhill and John Michael to secure his final four berth.Meanwhile, Woods overcame Danny Dyer, Aden Kirk, Steve Hine, Joey Ten Berge, Nigel Daniels and Harry Robinson to regain his place amongst the 128 Tour Card Holders.After going close to winning back his Tour Card on both of the opening two days, the success marks a change in fortunes for the former Lakeside Championship semi-finalist, who admitted he was considering taking a break from the sport just weeks ago."It's a really good feeling," said the 49-year-old. "I was actually thinking of taking a year off before Christmas because I was playing that badly, but I thought I would give myself one more chance, and I have done it, so I am really pleased."The reason I lost my Tour Card last year was because my mum died in March, and my play just went downhill from there. I have refocused and now I’m really pleased to have done her proud once again."Northern Ireland’s Ray Campbell, the final Tour Card winner of the day, eased past Jeffrey Beekhuis in his first game before going on to beat Ron Schouten, Jason Marriott, Mark Dewsbury, Ian Walters and Vincent Kamphuis.The 48-year-old from County Down also competed at the 2015 PDC Qualifying School before playing on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour last year, but will now step up to test himself amongst the sport's elite on the ProTour.The PDC 2016 Qualifying School concludes on Saturday, with the final four Tour Cards up for grabs alongside ranking points for players. In addition to the four automatic Tour Cards, additional Tour Cards will be on offer from the Qualifying School Order of Merit.