U.S. Dart Masters Preview

Written by
Abigail Davies

Madison Square Garden, one of the world’s most famous arenas, plays host to the next stop on the World Series of Darts tour and we have much reason to be excited with both Michael Smith and Stowe Buntz set to compete.

Bully Boy has enjoyed a significant upturn in form this year, culminating in him recording his first title win as a Shot player at Players Championship nine at the start of May. A triumph he said at the time helped to alleviate some of the pressure he had put on himself.

The signs were already promising prior to that victory in Hildesheim but going all the way and winning an event has certainly been an additional boost and helped the 2023 World Champion play with confidence and freedom when he took to the stage in a winner-takes-all clash with his good friend Nathan Aspinall on the final night of regular Premier League action.

Showing nerves of steel in the city of steel, Smith recorded a 6-3 victory over The Asp to book his spot at finals night, with 75% checkout success including, a whopping 136 and 132 out shots.

Having claimed victory on the opening night of Premier League action in Cardiff, Bully Boy went on to bookend his campaign by going all the way in Sheffield too.

One of the few players left on the planet with a positive head-to-head record over teen sensation Luke Littler, Bully Boy will again lock horns with the current World Youth champion at The O2 for a spot in the Premier League final.

Whatever happens, Smith should head to New York full of confidence with where his game is right now. Victorious in the 2022 staging of the US Darts Masters, we’re all very excited to see him show that mighty fine form and represent Shot on one of the biggest stages in the world.

As for Stowe, this is something he has been dreaming about for quite some time now and he was assured of qualification following his 2023 CDC Continental Cup triumph.

In addition, Neon Nightmare made five finals and recorded three successive victories on the CDC Tour last year and earned himself a spot at the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Championship at Alexandra Palace, this year he has his sights set on a return to both of those tournaments and is also aiming to become a dominant force on the North American Tour.

He was stopped in the quarter-final of event one of 2024 at the weekend by Leonard Gates and the semi-final of event two by David Cameron.

With an abundance of experience amassed during his run to the quarter-final of the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton, he’ll hope to take all knowledge acquired into the US Darts Masters and CDC Continental Cup.

© Kieran Cleeves PDC

EST 1970

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