Andrew ‘Goldfinger’ Gilding will be gunning for another memorable run in the Coral UK Open with the tournament commencing this weekend.
The Walsham-le-Willows Sports Club thrower reached the semi-finals of the tournament last year, and returns to the Butlin’s Minehead Resort hoping to replicate his form from the event 12 months ago.
The 45-year-old, nicknamed Goldfinger, beat Kevin Painter (9-0), Jelle Klaasen (9-5), James Wade (9-6) and Mensur Suljovic (10-8) to progress to the last four in the 2015 event, before losing to eventual champion Michael van Gerwen 10-8.
Gilding hit 10 180s and averaged an impressive 108.37 in the defeat to the world number one and since then has climbed up to a career-high number 26 in the Professional Darts Corporation’s Order of Merit.
After finishing 33rd in the UK Open Order of Merit last month, Goldfinger gets his Minehead campaign underway with a second round clash against Ryan de Vreede or Nathan Derry this afternoon.
Holland’s de Vreede was a first round casualty at the Lakeside World Championship earlier this year, while Norfolk’s Derry hit a nine darter on the PDC Pro Tour in 2015.
Elsewhere, Thetford’s Jason Mold begins his second UK Open campaign against Sweden’s Magnus Caris in the first round today.
The 45-year-old came through a field of 127 players to win the Rileys Amateur Qualifier in Norwich in January, and faces a tricky first round hurdle against Caris, who is a former Lakeside and World Masters semi-finalist.
Last year Mold saw off both Jamie Robinson and Matthew Edgar in deciding legs to reach the last 64, where he was then beaten 9-0 by 2011 UK Open runner-up Wes Newton.
The £300,000 tournament, affectionately known as the FA Cup of Darts, stages a random draw at the end of each session, with the likes of van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson all entering the tournament in the third round tonight.