Ross ‘The Boss’ Montgomery is expecting a tough test this weekend when he goes for his second Zuiderduin Masters title in Holland.
Champion in 2010 and a semi-finalist last year, the 50-year-old just loves playing in Egmond ann Zee, near Alkmaar, and faces a big challenge this year after failing to make the top eight seeds.
The Boss has been drawn alongside fourth seed Steve Douglas, a consistent performer in 2012, and wild card John Boy Walton, the 2001 Lakeside champion.
Up first for Ross is Walton and they will get the championship off and running on Friday night with the winner of the Group D match facing Douglas on the Saturday evening and the loser playing him earlier in the day.
Ross knows he will have to produce some of his best darts of the season to emulate his success of two years ago, but always feels comfortable in Holland.
He told the News: “I missed being seeded by a couple of points this year, so that’s disappointing. However, I know what it takes to win here and for whatever reason I just seem to play well here.
“It’s a nice town, we stay in a great hotel and everything is quite relaxed so it’s always a good weekend.
“It seems to bring out the best in me and I always feel comfortable over these few days, but it’s a tough task this year. Steve is playing really well and is seeded fourth here and 13th at the Lakeside so that tells you he has had a good season.
“John Boy is here as a wild card but I know his quality, so I just need to make sure I prepare properly and concentrate on my own game.
“I’ve never opened the event before so it will be great to be part of that.”
Should Ross successfully negotiate the group stages, he will play Jan Dekker, the fifth seed, Richie George or Jeffrey De Graff in the quarter-finals.
And he is confident he can go far again in this competition.
Ross, who was beaten by Daryl Fitton in last year’s semi-finals, added: “All the best players are here and as this is generally treated as a warm-up for the Lakeside. It gives you the chance to size up your competition.
“Virtually the whole Lakeside field is playing this weekend and it will be a challenge I will enjoy.
“I reached the quarter-finals at the Belgium Open a few weeks ago so I’m feeling good about my game.
“Usually, though, whoever wins this goes out in the first round at the Lakeside so sometimes it can be a bit of a curse.
“Scott Waites broke that hoodoo last year, but he didn’t go much further as he lost in the second round.
“I won in 2010 and then lost in round one at the Lakeside a few weeks later, but you don’t let these things bother you.”
The Zuiderduin Masters will take place between December 7-9.