American Eagles Are Landing

Red Dragon Darts

Three Time winner on the World Seniors stage Leonard Gates comes into the 2023 WDF World Darts Championship as one of the heavy favourites, clinching a perfect 9 dart leg on the MODUS Super Series stage as he reached the Final at the Live Lounge. 

The Lakeside has been home to both North American success and heartache aplenty. John Part played a large role in saving the event with his 1994 win. Paul Lim was representing the USA when he struck his legendary 9-Darter

Gates aka Soulger is one of a few American internationals who are starting to thrive on the darting scene, with the help of the Championship Darts Corporation who continue to give players across North America an opportunity, as the organisation continues it budding partnership with British brand Winmau. 

Another success story was Stowe Buntz’ fabulous run at the recent Grand Slam of Darts. Buntz came via a thriving CDC scene, with the American going on to reach a major Quarter Final in his competitive PDC debut. We are almost certain to see more of the flamboyant Statesider in the future.

53-year-old Gates will be one of three Americans competing in the Men’s draw of the WDF World Championship as both Leonard and former Winmau player Jim Widmayer start their campaigns in the First Round, with Danny Lauby Jr entering in the 2nd Round as the Number 6 Seed for the tournament. 

Vastly experienced and popular Paula Murphy will feature in the First Round of the Ladies competition in Surrey, with Smooth facing Spanish international Almudena Fajardo for the right to face 8th Seed Anca Ziljstra. 

Gates will be confident ahead of his debut at Lakeside, having claimed a victory on his debut at the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship where he beat Geert Nentjes 3-1 in the opening round and his superb season on the ‘Seniors Tour’.

Leonard Gates during the World Senior Darts Tournament 2023 at VIVA!, Blackpool, United Kingdom on 25 March 2023.

The Texas born player defeated Richie Howson to win both the World Seniors Champion of Champions and the World Senior Darts Masters, before beating Scotsman Jim McEwan to win the World Seniors Matchplay and a hat-trick of televised major titles. 

Gates knows what it takes to win having also won on the PDC Circuit, winning in his native America the PDC North American Darts Championship at a lively Madison Square Garden, New York. 

Leonard will hope to transform this form onto the WDF stage but will know of the task at hand if he is to claim victory in a long week of action in Surrey. The field is as competitive as ever with the likes of reigning champion Neil Duff and WDF Number 1 Andy Baetens amongst the other favourites for victory. 

The competition will see the format change to set play, which suits certain players better than others, with more competitions through the year tending to use a legs format. 

Leonard will open his campaign in the WDF World Championship this Sunday evening against New Zealand’s Brian Corbett, with the winner moving through to face 11th Seed John Scott in Round 2 at Lakeside. 

LAKESIDE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2014 (pic chris sargeant /,) Jim Widmayer

The return of Widmayer to the Lakeside stage is a massive moment for the player, and all those who support him. Captain America‘s return from cancer treatment to top level darts is the stuff of storybooks and all darts wishes him well.

Possibly the least lauded of the American representatives is Danny Lauby Jnr. It may be somewhat his own fault as he seems to have blown hot and cold since breaking through a couple of years ago. However, Danny has almost served a new ‘apprenticeship’ in the UK and outside over the last year or so. He has played local darts, County/UKDA darts, MODUS Super Series, WDF and just about everything in between. He is back playing well again and could be a major threat.

The WDF World Championship for the first time ever will be streamed on the WDF YouTube Channel, as well as Ayozat TV. Former MODUS Super Series weekly winner Sebastian Bialecki will open the action this Saturday at Lakeside against English international Scott Marsh. 

2023 WDF World Championship Men’s Draw 

Andy Baetens (1) v Scott Marsh or Sebastian Bialecki 

Gary Stone (16) v Aaron Turner or Ricky Nauman 

Barry Copeland (8) v Jonny Tata or Shaun McDonald

Mark Barilli (9) v Patrick Kovacs or Jim Widmayer 

James Hurrell (4) v Jordan Brooks or Dennis Nilsson 

Alexander Merkx (13) v Danny Porter or Arjan Konterman

Wesley Plaisier (5) v Dave Prins or Reece Colley 

Peter Machin (12) v James Richardson or Christian Goedl 

Neil Duff (2) v Moreno Blom or Gabor Takacs 

Martyn Turner (15) v Liam Maendl-Laurance or Mike Gillet

Chris Landman (7) v Benjamin Pratnemer or Davie Kirwan 

Kai Fan Leung (10) v Thomas Junghans or David Pallett 

Jelle Klaasen (3) v Laszlo Kadar or Edwin Torbjornsson 

Darren Johnson (14) v Anthony Allen or Dennie Olde Kalter 

Danny Lauby Jr (6) v Jamie Lewis or Jarno Bottenberg 

John Scott (11) v Leonard Gates or Brian Corbett 


Images: Chris Sargeant/ WDF/WSDT

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