LEWIS EDGES OUT WADE AS HOGAN SHOCKS ANDERSON IN CORAL UK OPEN
ADRIAN LEWIS ousted James Wade 10-8 in a battle of former Coral UK Open champions as the 2017 tournament began in thrilling fashion on Friday, as amateur qualifier Paul Hogan stunned Gary Anderson in Minehead.
With reigning champion and world number one Michael van Gerwen withdrawing on Friday morning due to a back injury, the remaining 127 players began their challenges at the Butlins Minehead Resort with the opening three rounds.
With the action split across eight stages, the professional stars and 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers battled for spots in Saturday's fourth round - with the open draw pairing two former champions together at the last 64 stage.
That clash saw 2014 Minehead winner Lewis emerge as a 10-8 victor against two-time champion James Wade, who led 3-0 in the early stages before seeing the Stoke ace finally seal his win with a 121 bull finish.
"The way that James has been playing recently has probably been as good as anyone in the world so I'm happy to come through that," said Lewis.
"We're really close in the rankings and I knew that James could have overtaken me this weekend, so when the draw came out I knew it was in my own hands. The pressure was on and I did the job, and I thought I played really well, especially how I scored. I'd love to win this again and I'm very capable."
The day concluded with a dramatic win for Basingstoke amateur Hogan, a 53-year-old delivery driver who had won through the Rileys Amateur Qualifier in South Benfleet in January to earn his spot in a fourth successive UK Open.
Hogan had earlier defeated young talents Keegan Brown and Jamie Lewis to reach the third round, and then claimed the scalp of two-time World Champion Anderson in a tight contest.
Having found himself 2-0 down early on, Hogan hit back to lead 7-5 before Anderson took out 136 as he levelled, but the amateur ace eventually prevailed in the deciding leg after the Scot missed the bull for victory.
Hogan then drew Lewis for a tasty fourth round clash which will take place on Saturday afternoon in Minehead, and admitted: "It was a hard win. Gary's a two time World Champion and one of the best in the world so I didn't expect to win. That's one of the best wins I've ever had, and I'm so happy. I've just got to go up there against Adrian and play my darts again."
World number three Peter Wright, the runner-up to Van Gerwen in the past two years, followed up his brilliant Betway Premier League win on Thursday night with a 10-3 defeat of James Richardson.
Richardson won past Spain's Antonio Alcinas and amateur hopeful Neil Smith during the afternoon, but was unable to overcome the limping Scot, who defied a twisted ankle to progress.
"You don't throw with your foot, so my ankle wasn't an issue," said Wright, who won three of the UK Open Qualifiers last month to be the top-ranked professional qualifier.
"I twisted it against Adrian Lewis but I'm not going to let it affect me this weekend and I'm giving it my best shot."
Wright will now take on world number six Dave Chisnall, who picked up a 10-4 victory over Jamie Caven after the Derby ace battled past Dan Read and Ben Green to reach the last 64.
Two-time UK Open champion Raymond van Barneveld defeated Barrie Bates 10-6 in their rematch of the 2006 final, with the Welshman overcoming Jeffrey de Graaf before losing out to another Dutchman.
Van Barneveld was later drawn into one of two all-Dutch fourth round ties, as he faces Ron Meulenkamp after the left-hander enjoyed wins over Hong Kong's Royden Lam, amateur qualifier Lee Evans and Kettering's Ricky Evans on Friday.
2007 UK Open finalist Vincent van der Voort defeated James Wilson and Ronny Huybrechts as he won through to the last 32, where he meets world number nine Jelle Klaasen after the Premier League ace's 10-7 comeback win over Jonny Clayton.
2012 UK Open champion Robert Thornton had opened his challenge with a 6-0 whitewash of amateur qualifier Kevin Bambrick in round two, but lost out 10-2 to Joe Cullen on Friday evening.
Cullen, a quarter-finalist 12 months ago, will now play Cristo Reyes, the Spanish number one who benefitted from a third round draw in the absence of Van Gerwen.
Australian star Simon Whitlock, who won two of the six UK Open Qualifiers last month, overcame York's Chris Quantock 10-2, with the young left-hander making his TV debut on the main stage in Minehead.
Whitlock now meets Dirk van Duijvenbode after the Dutch youngster saw off Stuart Kellett and Christian Kist to progress to the last 32.
Amateur qualifier Alex Roy maintained his ever-present record in the UK Open with wins over Kevin Edwards and Dave Parletti to reach the third round, where he went down 10-2 to Daryl Gurney.
The Northern Irish ace has now drawn Mark Webster, with the former Lakeside Champion overcoming Stephen Bunting before coming from 9-7 down to defeat Ross Twell 10-9.
Alan Norris' 10-2 win over Yordi Meeuwisse set him up for a meeting with another Dutchman as he plays Benito van de Pas in round four, with the youngster seeing off Matthew Dennant 10-6.
Shropshire's David Pallett enjoyed a 10-6 win over Steve Beaton as he set up a fourth round meeting with Welsh ace Gerwyn Price, who saw off Justin Pipe 10-5.
Teenager Ted Evetts defeated Paul Milford and former semi-finalist Andrew Gilding on his UK Open debut, and now meets Premier League star Kim Huybrechts in the last 32, with the Belgian edging out Brian Woods 10-8 on Friday night.
Veteran star Ronnie Baxter overcame Paul Rowley, Richard North and Darren Webster in an encouraging run, with the Blackpool ace now up against Ireland's William O'Connor, who defeated fellow countryman Steve Lennon and Mick Todd.
Former World Championship finalist Kirk Shepherd defeated Scotland's Mark Barilli and Wolverhampton's Wayne Jones to set up a meeting with Ian White, who overcame Rileys Amateur Qualifier Paul Barham 10-2.
Rob Cross, who reached the last 32 as an amateur 12 months ago before joining the PDC circuit, ended the hopes of one of this year's Rileys stars in round three, with Johnny Haines seeing off Wayne Morris and Darren Johnson earlier on Friday.
Cross now meets Ryan Searle - who joined him in winning a PDC Tour Card from the Unicorn Challenge Tour Order of Merit last year - after the Wellington thrower defeated Ireland's Mick McGowan in round three.
Former World Youth Champion Michael Smith pulled clear from three-all to defeat John Henderson 10-4 and now plays Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, who saw off Hong Kong's Kai Fan Leung, South Africa's Devon Petersen and Australia's Kyle Anderson on Friday.
2006 semi-finalist Alan Tabern rolled back the years with wins over Scott Robertson, James Carroll and Mervyn King to win through to the last 32, where he plays Greece's John Michael, who edged out both Peter Hudson and Brendan Dolan in deciding legs.
Emerging star Chris Dobey defeated Kevin Painter 10-8 in another tight match, and now plays Martin Lukeman after the Watford thrower came from 7-3 down to defeat Rob Hewson in a decider.
Saturday's double session at the Butlins Minehead Resort will see the fifth round (last 16) held in the evening session before Sunday sees the tournament conclude with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.