Chris Dobey enjoyed a dream start to his debut Cazoo Premier League campaign, sealing an opening night win with a sensational 160 checkout to defeat reigning champion Michael van Gerwen on Night One in Belfast on Thursday.
Newly-crowned Masters champion Dobey stunned the field with a hat-trick of victories at a sell-out SSE Arena to cap off a life-changing seven days for the 32-year-old.
Dobey, who twice starred as a Challenger in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Premier League, kicked off with a 6-3 defeat of world number two Peter Wright, before seeing off Nathan Aspinall 6-4 to reach the final.
A captivating final, which saw Dobey land a 170 checkout in the second leg, went all the way to a deciding leg, with Dobey landing a sensational 160 checkout to take the five league points.
“I’m living the dream,” said a delighted Dobey.
“The 160 checkout had to go because Michael was waiting on 127 and he’s well capable of taking that out.
“Michael has got a great record against me, and it gets in your head but I knew I could do it after beating him on TV for the first time at the European Championship.
“I know what I can do, and right now my confidence is sky high.
“I felt that I deserved my place in the tournament, I didn’t have anything to prove to myself but I think I’ve proved a few people wrong tonight.
“I’m getting a taste of it now and I love it. I want to be here all the time.”
Van Gerwen picks up three league points thanks to victories over Michael Smith – in their first meeting since the World Championship final – and Dimitri Van den Bergh to go second on the embryonic table.
Elsewhere, semi-finalists Aspinall and Van den Bergh leave Belfast with two points apiece thanks to quarter-final wins over Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton respectively.
The Cazoo Premier League roadshow heads to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Thursday February 9 for Night Two of the league phase, as Welsh duo Price and Clayton face Dobey and Smith respectively in the quarter-finals.
The night’s other quarter-finals will see Aspinall face Wright, while Van Gerwen takes on Van den Bergh.
Chris Dobey 6-5 Michael van Gerwen