Dirk van Duijvenbode claimed his second PDC ranking title by edging out Ryan Searle 8-7 to win Saturday’s Players Championship 12 in Barnsley.
The Dutchman had enjoyed his first taste of senior success in 2021, and added another £12,000 title by defying a 104 average from Searle in the decider.
Searle was bidding to complete back-to-back successes after winning last Sunday’s Players Championship, and was on course to complete the double as he led 4-2 in the final.
Van Duijvenbode, though, produced a superb run of legs in 11, 14, 14, 12 and 14 darts as he surged into a 7-4 lead to put himself within touching distance of the title.
Searle kept his hopes alive with legs of 13, 15 and 13 darts to take the game into a deciding leg – in which both players missed a dart for glory before Van Duijvenbode finally closed out victory on double 16.
Van Duijvenbode had begun his challenge on Saturday with a brilliant 109.81 average in a 6-2 defeat of Danny Baggish, and recorded 104 averages against Peter Hudson and Florian Hempel.
He also overcame Premier League stars James Wade and Michael Smith and whitewashed Simon Whitlock in his run to the final.
“It was satisfying,” said Van Duijvenbode. “I think I played very well all day and I didn’t have the feeling that I had all day in the final.
“The 146 was my one chance to get in the final. When I made it to seven [legs] I started shaking and stopped hitting the big scores.”
Van Duijvenbode ignited his career with a run to the World Grand Prix final in 2019 and has broken into the world’s top 16, but believes he must improve to challenge for top honours.
“I think I’m the biggest opponent of myself, because I feel like I can play a 100 average every game I play, but I don’t do it,” he added.
“Most of the times I get in my own head, and then you end up losing to players who you don’t think you should lose to.
“I don’t see myself yet winning a tournament on TV, but every year I’m getting closer in getting more adult in my game.
“I know my top game, and my top game can beat everyone’s top game.”
Searle’s run of form continued with six victories, which included ton-plus averages in 6-5 wins over Luke Humphries and Jose Justicia.
He also defeated recent ProTour winner Damon Heta in the semi-finals, but fell just short against the Dutchman.
Heta joined Smith in the semi-finals, while World Grand Prix champion Jonny Clayton and Australia’s Gordon Mathers joined Whitlock and Justicia in the last eight.
The day also featured a monster 115.62 average from Humphries in a 6-0 win over Tony Martinez as the former World Youth Champion won through to the last 16.
The PDC ProTour weekend concludes on Sunday with Players Championship 13 in Barnsley. Watch coverage from two streams simultaneously at video.pdc.tv.
2022 Players Championship 12
Saturday April 9, Barnsley Metrodome
Gordon Mathers 6-5 Gerwyn Price
Michael Smith 6-5 Keegan Brown
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Jose de Sousa
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Florian Hempel
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Scott Waites
Damon Heta 6-1 Joe Cullen
Jose Justicia 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Ryan Searle 6-5 Luke Humphries
Michael Smith 6-3 Gordon Mathers
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-0 Simon Whitlock
Damon Heta 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Ryan Searle 6-5 Jose Justicia
Dirk van Duijvenbode 7-2 Michael Smith
Ryan Searle 7-2 Damon Heta
Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-7 Ryan Searle
Images: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
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