JUST a week after qualifying to represent his country in the JDC World Cup, Keelan Kay stepped outside of his comfort zone and competed on the PDC Development Tour at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.
The tour is for players aged 16-23 and Keelan, who at 17, was one of the youngest players in the line-up and yesterday, gave arguably his best performance of the current campaign.
He was drawn against Matt Smith in his opening match of Tour 9 and found himself 2-1 down after Smith won the third leg in 12 darts but Keelan bounced back to level at 3-3 with wins in 19 and 16.
The seventh and deciding leg could have gone either way but after Smith had missed nine match darts, Keelan stepped up to clinch a 4-3 victory.
The Lord of the Board then dismissed Yorkshire’s Jacob Gwynne in four straight legs, taking the last two in 11 and 16 before he had to meet Harry Ward in the last 32.
The 21-year-old won his PDC Tour card back in January when he defeated Mark McGeeney in the opening day’s final and only last month, won his first PDC title when claiming Players Championship 16 with a final victory over Max Hopp.
But that form counted for nothing as the Derbyshire marksman was blown away 4-0, with Keelan boasting a superb 100.2 average claiming the legs in 15, 17, 13 and 15.
He now had to face Geert Nentjes in the last 16 and despite winning the opening leg, the Dutchman edged 2-1 in front with two 15-darters.
The fourth leg was a classic. Keelan left 134 after nine and Nentjes required 136, only for the Plymouth marksman to stun his opponent by checking out for a 12-darter.
Kay left himself 20 in leg five, only for Nentjes to checkout from 62 and despite leaving 16 in the sixth leg, the Dutchman once again was dominant and checked out from 78 for a win in 15 and a 4-2 victory.
But this was an excellent showing from Keelan against seasoned opposition and Nentjes went on to win the event with a 5-2 victory over Shane McGuirk.
Players lined up in the afternoon to compete in Tour 10 and Keelan achieved another excellent victory when he defeated Brandon Doyle 4-1 in 18, 17, 17, 16.
He then dismissed Bradley Clark 4-2 in 15, 17, 16, 18 before he had to meet Ryan Meikle in the round of 64.
The winner of Tours 3 and 7, Meikle is the No.1 ranked player on the tour but did not have it all his own way despite winning with a 101.8 average.
The Ipswich marksman led twice, only to be pegged back to 2-2 when Keelan took legs two and four in 14 and 17 respectively.
The 22-year-old then stepped up a gear and clinched the next two in 13 and 15, hitting two maximums on the way against Keelan’s three.
Keelan finished the day with a three-dart average of 87.00 and 250 more ranking points and will be hoping to add to that tally when he competes today in Tours 11 and 12.