Morecambe darts ace Dave Chisnall finished runner-up in his first event of the year.
“Chizzy” lost out 6-2 to Michael Van Gerwen in the final of the opening Speedy Services UK Open Qualifier at the K2 Centre in Crawley on Saturday.
Chisnall edged out William O’Connor and Mark Hylton 6-5 in his first two games, and then defeated Joe Bata, Magnus Caris and Simon Whitlock with 6-3 scorelines.
Scottish ace Robert Thornton - the reigning UK Open champion - then hit a nine-dart finish against Chisnall during their quarter-final contest, only for the Morecambe man to claim a 6-4 win before seeing off Kevin Painter 6-3 in the semi-finals to set up a clash with Mighty Mike at the first PDC ProTour event of 2013.
The pair traded 180s as van Gerwen took the opening leg, before Chisnall won the next - after his opponent had burst his score on 181 by hitting a maximum - and then took out 98 to break throw and lead 2-1.
Van Gerwen, though, levelled with 14-darter and then took out 68 to lead 3-2, and when Chisnall missed three darts at doubles in leg six the 23-year-old capitalised to move two legs clear, before claiming the next two legs to take victory.
Chisnall, who takes home £3,000 as runner-up, will also be amongst the leading qualifiers for the UK Open following his success at the Crawley venue, where he has previously tasted victory during 2012.
The Morecambe ace reached the third round of Sunday’s second event, also at the K2 Centre, before losing 6-5 to Northern Irishman Brendan Dolan.
The event saw Van Gerwen complete the double, beating Dolan 6-2 in the final.
The leading 96 players, plus ties, from the UK Open Order of Merit following the eight Qualifiers will progress to compete in the Speedy Services UK Open televised finals from June 6 to 9 in Bolton, where they are joined by a series of amateur qualifiers.
*The draw has been made for the year’s opening European Tour event, the UK Masters at the Butlins Minehead Resort from March 8 to 10.
Chisnall, number one seed as he tops the one-year Rolling ProTour Order of Merit from which the 32 seeds are taken, will play Norfolk’s Darren Webster in the first round.