BENITO van de Pas admitted he was “over the moon” to qualify in the last chance saloon for the Ladbrokes World Championship.
The classy Dutchman has endured a difficult couple of years but showed all his old mettle to come through the tense qualifier in Wigan on Monday.
He was then drawn out to face a very tricky first round at the Ally Pally against in-form Gabriel Clemens.
But Big Ben believes he can repeat his fine run in London a year ago. He said: “It’s a mixture of relief and happy. I’m over the moon.
“I’ve had a tough time over the months but the form I showed in Wigan proves what I am capable of.
“I played OK at the Ally Pally in the last World Championship. If I can produce a good run again that will set me up for a great 2020.”
Kevin Burness also sealed his spot in the Worlds, taking out former double major winner Robert Thornton in Wigan.
The Iron Man will need to show all his strength when he arrives in London though, facing a Friday the 13th horror draw against former Lakeside World Champ Jelle Klaasen – the winner to take on defending champ Michael van Gerwen later that night.
Burness said: “I’m obviously delighted to get through but the draw could not have been much harder.
“But I know if I can play my best, I can cause upsets so I’ll go there to do just that. If you are going to play the top guys, it’s best to get them over a short format.”
Jamie Hughes was also handed a tricky opponent in Zoran Lerchbacher while Harry Ward takes on Madars Raze and James Wilson faces Nico Kurz.
Daryl Gurney’s world title bid begins against either Justin Pipe or Benjamin Pratnemer.
William Hill World Darts Championship 2019/20 Draw
Jamie Hughes v Zoran Lerchbacher
Benito van de Pas v Gabriel Clemens
Harry Ward v Madars Raze
Kevin Burness v Jelle Klaasen
James Wilson v Nico Kurz
Daryl Gurney v Justin Pipe/Benjamin Pratnemer
By Phil Lanning