Hadleigh darts ace Curtis Hammond wins PDC Tour Card

Curtis Hammond

Curtis Hammond

Suffolk has a new darts star.

Fresh from receiving a PDC Tour Card last month, Hadleigh-based Curtis Hammond is looking to challenge himself against the sport’s superstars, including Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, over the next two years.

After earning himself enough Order of Merit points, following four tournaments in the Qualifying School stages, Hammond will now play in the main tour events up and down the country against the best players in the world.

One of 34 recipients of a Tour Card, from more than 400 competitors, Hammond enjoyed last 32 and last 16 finishes on the opening two days of the qualifying tournament in Wigan.

For Hammond, it is a dream come true. He missed out on a Tour Card last year, and only started playing the sport properly six years ago for the Brewers Arms pub in Polstead, near Colchester.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Hammond, who is now Suffolk’s third-highest ranked darts player behind Peter Wright and Andrew Gilding.

“To make it onto the Pro Tour is fantastic and I can’t wait to play against the best players in the world.

Most Read

“I feel like a different player and have used all the experience I gained before to get a chance this time.”

Hammond has played in the PDPA Challenge Tour previously, as well as the Youth Tour – two experiences he admits helped him qualify for the main tour this time around.

“I knew what to expect (in the Q-School) after last year,” continued Hammond, who, in 2010, beat world number one van Gerwen in a Youth Tour game.

“Playing in the Challenge Tour also helped me massively, and my confidence has grown no end. I feel like I belong in this field now, and I’ll be practicing as much as I can.”

For Hammond, who works for Suffolk County Council, the hard work is only about to begin, with preparations already underway to try and qualify for the UK Open in Minehead, in March, shown live on ITV 4.

This weekend (Friday, February 6 - Sunday, February 8), Hammond is off to Wigan to compete in the first UK Open Qualifier hoping to make his mark.

The UK Open Qualifiers consist of two weekends (the second weekend runs from February 20 - 22, again at Wigan) of three tournaments, with around 250 competitors, including the 128 Tour Card holders as well as associate members who competed at Q-School, all vying for qualification into the main draw.

Hammond’s first Players Championship event, where the entry is restricted to Tour Card holders only, will be at the Barnsley Metradome in March.

But such success comes at a price, darts can be expensive – players have to pay £105 to enter tournaments on the Tour and the 24-year-old is on the search for sponsors.

As well as tournament fees, players have to pay for their own travel arrangements and hotels for overnight stays among other expenses, with no guarantees they will win that money back unless they do well in a tournament.

If you’d like to talk to Hammond about the possibility of sponsorship, email mark.heath@archant.co.uk or Hammond himself on curtishammond@hotmail.co.uk.