Gerwyn Price reeled off six consecutive legs to defeat his fellow countryman Jonny Clayton and claim the TAB New Zealand Darts Masters title in Hamilton on Saturday.
The world number one was denied by Michael van Gerwen in the Queensland Darts Masters final a fortnight ago, but he made amends to sign off in style in New Zealand.
Clayton was bidding to make it back-to-back World Series crowns following his win in Wollongong last weekend, and he started strongly, with an 11-dart hold in leg four sparking a sequence of three straight legs.
However, Price pinned double five to stop the rot in a crucial seventh leg, and he was indebted to the same target moments later, closing out a 12-dart break to restore parity at four apiece.
The 2021 World Champion continued his charge with legs of 15, 14 and 15 darts to move 7-4 ahead, and after Clayton fluffed his lines on the outer ring, Price converted a clinical 92 kill on double 12 to complete the comeback.
“It feels fantastic,” said Price, celebrating his 26th PDC title and his second World Series of Darts triumph.
“Fair play to Jonny. I think he upped his game in the final, but thankfully I improved after the break and showed why I’m world number one.
“I think I was quite fortunate to win the last leg before the break, and I knew if I upped my scoring game I would have a chance.
“The crowd were absolutely awesome. They supported both of us tonight and they were magnificent. Thank you New Zealand!”
Price began Saturday’s action with an emphatic 6-2 win over James Wade, avenging his defeat against the left-hander in last weekend’s NSW semi-finals.
The Welshman then produced an impressive display to oust top seed Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last four, winning six out of the last seven legs to complete a 7-4 win over the Belgian.
Clayton was unable to secure his second successive World Series victory, but he dumped out defending champion Van Gerwen in a heavyweight quarter-final tussle.
The former Premier League champion averaged 98 and landed two ton-plus checkouts to record a convincing 6-3 win over Van Gerwen, who trailed 5-1 at one stage.
The 47-year-old then stormed into Saturday’s showpiece with a battling 7-5 win over Michael Smith, producing a classy display of combination finishing to defeat the St Helens star for the second straight event.
“Gezzy is lucky I missed those three darts at double 18,” quipped Clayton, the reigning World Series Finals champion.
“Fair play to Gerwyn. He came out of the blocks after the break and I can have no complaints. He was fantastic.
“I have loved every second of my time in New Zealand. We had two Welshmen in the final, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Elsewhere, top seed Van den Bergh edged out Joe Cullen in a gripping last-leg shoot-out to reach his first semi-final in the Oceanic treble-header, but he was denied a third World Series title of 2022 by Price.
Meanwhile, Smith was in merciless mood in the quarter-finals, whitewashing 22-year-old home favourite Kayden Milne, who dumped out Fallon Sherrock on his big stage bow on Friday.
The World Series action continues next month, as Clayton bids to defend his Jack’s World Series of Darts Finals title in Amsterdam from September 16-18.
2022 TAB New Zealand Darts Masters
Saturday August 27
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 6-2 James Wade
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith 6-0 Kayden Milne
Gerwyn Price 7-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jonny Clayton 7-5 Michael Smith
Gerwyn Price 8-4 Jonny Clayton
Images: © Copyright Photo: Stephen Barker / http://www.photosport.nz & PDC
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