Gerwyn Price scooped his seventh PDC European Tour title by continuing his brilliant form to win the Interwetten European Darts Open in Leverkusen on Sunday, seeing off Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-7 in a dramatic final.
Price has won back-to-back Cazoo Premier League nights in Nottingham and Newcastle in the past two weeks, and swept aside the field at the Ostermann Arena in an outstanding weekend of darts.
The Welshman had opened his challenge with a 109 average against Krzysztof Ratajski on Saturday, before bettering that display with a 110 mean score in a 6-2 defeat of World Champion Michael Smith in Sunday afternoon’s third round.
He then proved too strong for Michael van Gerwen with another stellar display to claim a 6-4 quarter-final win – claiming a third straight victory over the Dutch superstar.
Price averaged over 100 for a fourth straight game as he dispatched Danny Noppert 7-4 in the semi-finals, before seeing off another Dutchman in Van Duijvenbode to claim the title.
The final, though, proved Price’s toughest test as he was forced to hit back from 3-1 and 7-6 down – surviving two missed match darts before taking glory.
After Price missed the bull to open up a 2-0 lead, Van Duijvenbode levelled, broke in leg three and then took out 81 on the bull to seize command.
Three straight legs from Price saw him edge back ahead, and the pair were then locked at five-all when the world number four fired in seven perfect darts in an 11-darter to move 6-5 up.
Back-to-back 13-darters saw Van Duijvenbode surge back in front, only for him to miss double 18 and double eight to claim his first European Tour title in leg 14.
Price took out 108 to force a deciding leg, and fired in a fourth 180 of the tie to pull clear before securing the title with a 12-darter.
“I’m happy to get the win,” said Price, who draws level with Peter Wright on seven European Tour wins.
“I played brilliant darts all weekend apart from the final. It was a slow game – I had to dig in and grind out the win, and without this crowd behind me it’s really difficult.
“This weekend the crowd have been fantastic. I’m back in Germany next weekend so hopefully they’ll support me again!”
Van Duijvenbode had survived four missed match darts in an equally dramatic semi-final as he hit back from 6-2 down to deny Rob Cross.
The Dutch star had also defeated European Champion Ross Smith and World Youth Champion Josh Rock on Sunday in an impressive run to the decider.
However, he was denied a third ranking title of the year – having already won two Players Championship events – as he narrowly missed out on a maiden European Tour success.
Reflecting on the final, Van Duijvenbode admitted: “I didn’t play my best game but I should have won anyway.
“It is what it is. I don’t think it should be that close, I could have [had] some bigger distance [between us] at the beginning, and in the end there’s no holding him back.
“That’s just the class he has. He’s never afraid, he takes out the 108.”
Cross’ agonising wait for a first European Tour title continues following his semi-final exit, despite a sensational 110 average in his third round win over William O’Connor.
Cross also ended the hopes of emerging German youngster Ricardo Pietreczko in the quarter-finals in another contest which went to a deciding leg.
Noppert was the day’s other losing semi-finalist, having ended Dave Chisnall’s bid to claim successive European Tour wins in the third round before enjoying a 6-4 quarter-final triumph against Damon Heta.
Pietreczko followed up Saturday’s memorable win over Peter Wright by seeing off Stephen Bunting 6-3 to reach his first European Tour quarter-final.
The PDC European Tour continues from March 31-April 2 with the Interwetten International Darts Open in Riesa, which will see 48 players competing in the year’s third £175,000 tournament.