STUART Kellett says he can play without pressure at the UK Open after admitting he didn’t think he’d even made a cut for the qualifiers.

He did, and the Northwich thrower performed so well he earned a bye to the second round of this weekend’s finals at Butlins Resort Minehead.

Benjamin McClelland or David Airey, both of them amateurs, provide the opposition tomorrow afternoon.

“Hopefully I can make the most of my chance,” said the 36-year-old.

“I would have been happy just to qualify, so it’s a bonus to enter at a later stage.”

He will extend a run of appearances at the annual event to a seventh year when he takes to stage four.

Once there, his target is to make a swift start.

Kellett said: “I don’t intend to sound negative, but I just want to get through that first encounter.

“If I do, then I can relax and who knows? I might sneak through a couple more rounds like I did a couple of years ago.

“Whoever I meet will have had the benefit of getting a game under their belts, and that means I’ll need to hit the ground running.

"I know Dave; he's a good player from Stockport who also represents Lancashire [in the British Inter-County Championships]."

Despite missing out on a Professional Darts Corporation tour card at Q-School in January, Kellett has proved he can compete with those that have one after banking £2,000 during the preliminaries.

He also reached a quarter-final on the opening weekend of this year’s Unicorn Challenge Tour.

“I’ve played some good darts since Q-School,” said Kellett, a regular for Rudheath in the Cheshire Men’s Super League.

“I’m happy with how practice has gone too, and I just need to cut down on the bad ones I chuck.”

The opening rounds during Friday's afternoon session see the lower-ranked professionals and amateur competitors in action.

Meanwhile the top 32 players from the UK Open Order of Merit - including defending champion Peter Wright, world number one Michael van Gerwen and world champion Rob Cross - enter the event later the same day in the third round.

The finals continue on Saturday, with play across two sessions, before reaching a conclusion on Sunday when the action is centred on the main stage in the Skyline Pavilion.

From the conclusion of the second round onwards, an open draw will be made on stage.