Robert Thornton began the defence of his Speedy Services UK Open title with a 9-7 victory over Matthew Edgar on Friday evening.
The Scotsman, who clinched his first PDC major title at the Bolton tournament last year, averaged over 100 in the success.
Thornton had trailed his opponent 6-4 at one stage but hit back to progress to Saturday’s fourth round, where he will take on Kirk Shepherd.
“I knew Matt was a good player,” said Thornton, the world number eleven.
“I didn’t find out I was playing him until this morning because I was asleep and I’ll be doing the same while the draw is on tonight.
“I can’t get a run as hard as last year and I won it then so I’m not bothered about who I get. This tournament is there for anybody to win and if it is me holding the trophy again on Sunday, I’ll be a very happy man.”