The PDC’s North American World Series of Darts broke new ground with a record-breaking 190+ players battling in Las Vegas to fill just 8 qualifying spots over 2 days of grueling competition. In the end, it was a newcomer who prevailed as the favorites fell.
Florida, USA’s Daniel Baggish defeated reigning champion, Canada’s Jeff Smith, to win the PDC North American Championship at the Mandalay Bay. On July 4th, the day of his country’s birth, Baggish’s career was also born, overcoming his first time on the stage by taking out the most experienced of the North American qualifiers.
In addition to the $10,000 first place prize money, Baggish has fulfilled a lifelong dream by qualifying to compete on the Alexandria Palace stage for the PDC World Championship at the end of the year, representing USA. See the links below to retrace his path to glory.
With a record-breaking 190+ players, this year’s qualifiers were the most competitive yet. See which North Americans topped the charts and who rivaled this year’s 8 qualifiers. Links below will take you to each qualifier’s DCTV channel, with access to match reports and player performance leaderboards:
By any measure, it’s a tall order for an outsider to win the World Championship against any of Europe’s top professionals, who benefit from world-class competition all year long, but the gap is closing.
Armed with a legitimate professional tour in the Championship Darts Circuit, North American players have seen their averages rise in tune with increased opportunities, providing optimism for now and the future.
Each North American has shown the mettle and skill to be highly competitive — it will come down to stage experience and a fair bit of luck for these underdogs to pull off an upset and make history, but the thrill is in the chase!
Chuck is playing the third match in the afternoon session on 18 December.
Scouting Report: The lone representative from the United States, Massachusetts native Chuck Puleo qualified for the World Championships by taking the #1 ranking spot in the Championship Darts Circuit, barely edging out Darin Young by defeating this year’s BDO Lakeside qualifier for the USA, Jim Widmayer, on the final day of the tour.
Known for high scoring and stone-faced composure, Chuck faces off against one of the PDC’s rising stars, Dimitri vanden Bergh, ranked 35th in the world and back-to-back World Youth Champion.
Dimitri has thrown a perfect 9-dart game in a televised tournament this year and is perhaps the toughest draw for the North Americans.
Chuck loses his debut at Ally Pally 3-0 to Dimitri, now setting his sights on next year and a possible visit to PDC Q-School in January.
CDC 2018 Main Event #4 Top 16 – Chuck defeats Nick Linberg with his highest recorded tour match average: 104.4 DCA – View Match Report
CDC 2018 Main Event #10 Semifinals – Chuck throws a 94 DCA to hold off Gary Mawson’s surging comeback midway through the match – View Match Report
CDC 2018 Main Event #9 Semifinals – Chuck narrowly loses to 3X World Champion John Part with a 94.2 DCA – View Match
JIM LONG – Canada
DartConnect Member #9499
Jim is playing the second match in the morning session on 15 December.
Scouting Report: Canada’s Jim Long has been well known throughout his home of Ontario, but before this past year had not committed himself to play darts seriously or professionally.
All that changed as Jim burst onto the CDC scene, traveling to tour stops around the continent and consistently finishing deep into each competition, securing his place at the World Championships as CDC’s top-ranked Canadian.
Jim has earned a first-round matchup vs veteran Irish professional, Mickey Mansell, ranked 63rd in the world. This is Mansell’s fourth appearance on the Ally Pally stage, but he has yet to make it out of the first round and likely banking on a turn of fortune against newcomer Long.
The most successful of the three North America players, Jim Long puts up a tremendous fight, but loses the 2nd round overtime battle to Benito van de Pas 3-2.
CDC 2018 Main Event #8 Qrtrfinals – Jim defeats Gary Mawson with his highest recorded tour match average: 97.8 DCA – View Match Report
CDC 2018 Main Event #2 Finals – Jim narrowly loses out to Chuck Puleo in his only finals appearance of the 2018 tour – View Match Report
CDC 2018 Main Event #8 Semifinals – Another of Jim’s five tour semifinal appearances, Jim falls again to eventual winner Chuck Puleo with an 86.1 DCA – View Match
JEFF SMITH – Canada
DartConnect Member #99
Jeff is playing the third match in the morning session on 15 December.
Scouting Report: No stranger to World Championships, Jeff Smith is one of the most experienced North Americans when it comes to international competition and earned his spot by winning the PDC’s North American Championship last July in Las Vegas.
Having played at Ally Pally last December, one year after losing in the finals of the 2017 BDO World Professional Championship at Lakeside, Jeff knows full well how to prepare, and succeed, against the world’s best players.
He will need to draw on his deep experience to overcome his first opponent, former youth star Josh Payne, currently the 53rd ranked player in the world. Josh has garnered recent successes on the PDC tour in 2018 and has beaten many top-ranked players throughout the year, now hoping to add Mr. Smith to his hit list.
After winning the first set, Jeff falls to Josh 3-1 and will now focus on attending PDC Q-School in January.
Jeff’s last 25 matches on the PDC North American Power Index:
Jeff Smith – Match Highlights:
PDC North American Championship Finals – Jeff Smith defeats fellow Canadian John Norman, Jr. in Las Vegas to earn his spot in the World Championship – View Match Report
PDC 2018 World Series Qualifier 3 Finals – This is the match that sent Jeff on his path to Ally Pally qualification, defeating his friend and BDO Lakeside participant, David Cameron with a 94.3 DCA – View Match Report
Seacoast Open 2017 501 Finals – Jeff defeats Darin Young with a 93.4 DCA to take the 501 singles title at this annual New England major event – View Match Report
https://www.dartconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/PDC-wc-2.jpg557800Gregg TongGregg Tong2018-12-11 16:57:042018-12-21 16:51:30DartConnect Scouting Report - North Americans at the PDC World Championship
Jeff Smith showed the grit and tenacity necessary to overcome his fellow North Americans and take the title at the PDC North American Championships. After a grueling 2 days of qualifiers in Las Vegas, Smith proved his vast international experience under the bright lights was the difference in taking the crown from his colleagues.
With this win, Smith has secured his return to the Alexandria Palace stage for the PDC World Championship spot at the end of the year, representing Canada. All 8 players from this competition now take on the 8 PDC visiting professionals in the US Darts Masters.
Review all of the DartConnect match reports and stats from the day on DCTV:
https://www.dartconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/Jeff-Smith-NA-Champion.png480640DC AdminDC Admin2018-07-06 15:07:362018-08-15 20:50:08Jeff Smith wins PDC North American Championship - books his place at Ally Pally