TEARFUL Peter Wright ended his wait for a televised title with a brilliant triumph in the Coral UK Open, defeating Gerwyn Price 11-6 in Sunday's final.
Wright had been defeated by Michael van Gerwen in the final at the Butlins Minehead Resort for the past two years, but finally lifted the trophy and took home a £70,000 first prize following a brilliant weekend.
The world number three produced some exceptional darts, not least his 110 average in a 10-8 quarter-final victory over Raymond van Barneveld.
Wright also produced a clinical 144 checkout in moving 4-1 up as he took command of his semi-final against Daryl Gurney, which he secured with an 11-5 victory before seeing off Price in the decider.
Finishes of 110 and 104 helped Wright into an early 3-0 lead, and he extended that to 7-2 before Wright claimed four of the next five to rally and reduce the gap to 8-6.
A key 86 checkout from Wright, however, proved crucial as he regained a three-leg cushion before he punished missed doubles from Price to lead 10-6, and an 85 finish on the bull finally saw him claim glory.
Wright - who averaged 100 in the final and 101 for the tournament - emotionally lifted the trophy in front of a capacity 4,000 crowd at the Butlins Minehead Resort, and said: "I feels great to win my first one.
"The fans have given me fantastic support, not just this year but also for the last two years.
"The game against Barney was one of the best games I've ever played against anybody. He kept coming back at me and it must have made great TV.
"Hats off to Gerwyn Price too because what he's done in darts so far is brilliant. He's a great guy and he's going to go a lot further.
"I don't want to put a downer on it, we had no Michael here and no Phil Taylor, but I still had the pressure of being favourite when you had Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and all the other fantastic players in the tournament.
"It was a lot of pressure and I was happy just to get to the final, three years on the trot in one of the hardest tournaments. To win it is brilliant."
Emerging Welsh star Price won through to the first televised final of his career in a memorable weekend in Somerset, and took home £35,000 as runner-up.
Wins over Justin Pipe, David Pallett and Rileys Amateur Qualifier Paul Hogan moved Price into Sunday's final stages, where he snatched a dramatic quarter-final win over Ian White with a 160 finish in the deciding leg.
He then defeated Alan Norris 11-9 in a tight semi-final, with a 100 finish of two double tops proving a huge moment in leg 19 as he secured his spot in the final.
"It was my first TV final and it means a lot to me," said Price. "I was a bit nervous up there, but Peter has played brilliantly all weekend and he was the deserved winner.
"It's given me a lot of confidence and it's good to have a good run. Sometimes on the stage I try too hard and try to put too much effort in and put too much pressure on myself.
"Against Justin I played really well and it stemmed from there. I think if I played half as well as I did against Justin and Paul Hogan in the final maybe I'd have had a better chance.
"There was one turning point where Peter took out 86 and I was on 83, and maybe at the break if I was 8-7 down it's a different game, but at 9-6 in first to 11 it's tough to claw back."
Gurney had won five matches since starting in Friday afternoon's second round as he reached his third PDC televised semi-final, with the others having come in 2015 at the Players Championship Finals and World Cup of Darts.
The Northern Irish ace had seen off Simon Whitlock with a superb comeback in the quarter-finals, but was unable to repeat the feat against world number three Wright in the last four.
"Fair play to Peter," said Gurney. "What separates the men from the boys was his finishing, and week-in week-out playing on TV in the Premier League like he does showed there. That's where I need to improve and that's where the standard.
"It's a good weekend and any semi-final in the PDC shows that you're getting there. I'm glad to get to the semi-final, but you do want to get to the final and see how you get on.
"I know what I have to do to improve, and it's a matter of doing it and making sure I do it week-in week-out and try to beat top 16 players at every chance I can."
Norris was appearing in his first PDC televised semi-final, but was unable to follow up his brilliant 10-9 quarter-final win over Kim Huybrechts with another triumph as Price edged him out.
Bo'ness-based Norris reflected: "I won the first Players Championship last weekend and got to the semis here so it's all looking good and it's been a great start to the year.
"You've got to work for your achievements, so I'll keep working at it but I'm going in the right direction."
Peter Wright Video Inteview
Coral UK Open
Sunday March 5
Alan Norris 10-9 Kim Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 10-9 Ian White
Daryl Gurney 10-9 Simon Whitlock
Peter Wright 10-8 Raymond van Barneveld
Best of 19 legs
Gerwyn Price 11-9 Alan Norris
Peter Wright 11-5 Daryl Gurney
Best of 21 legs
Peter Wright 11-6 Gerwyn Price
Best of 21 legs
Reaction from Twitter
Michael van Gerwen
Well done Peter best player of the tournament. Well deserved 1st major ?? congratulations— Gary Anderson (@GaryAnderson180) March 5, 2017
GERWYN PRICE produced the greatest shot of his career to date as he won through to his first televised semi-final at the Coral UK Open alongside Alan Norris, Daryl Gurney and outstanding Peter Wright.
Welsh ace Price, who only started playing professional darts in 2014, continued his emergence to move into to last four of a televised event for the first time.
The 31-year-old had previously reached the 2015 World Matchplay quarter-finals in his breakthrough event, but this narrow 10-9 win over Ian White will live long in the memory following a dramatic finish at the Butlins Minehead Resort.
White had hit back from 4-2 and 7-5 down to move 8-7 up with three successive legs, and moved to the brink of victory at 9-8 only to see Price force a decider in leg 18.
White landed a timely 180 - his sixth - to leave 20, but dramatically burst his score by hitting double 15, and Price stepped up to take out 160 for a stunning triumph.
"At 9-8 down I wanted to give myself a chance, win my leg and then anything can happen in the in the last leg decider," said Price. "Thankfully he missed and I had one opportunity and took it.
"For most of the game I was chasing Ian and he probably should have won, but I took the opportunity that arose."
The afternoon's first quarter-final also proved a dramatic affair, with Alan Norris defeating Kim Huybrechts in another tense decider to win through to his first televised PDC semi-final.
Norris twice led by two legs, only to see the Belgian hit back from 8-6 down to lead 9-8 - but Huybrechts missed double 16 for the win as his rival forced a decider.
Norris then opened the final leg with two 180s, but Huybrechts clawed back and missed the bull with another match dart, allowing the Yeovil-born thrower back in to take out 60 on tops.
"We've had some battles in the past and this was another great game," said Norris. "You're a bundle of nerves in the final leg but I got there in the end."
Huybrechts said: "It was a close game. Alan let me in a couple of times at the beginning of the game and I did in the end. He's a brilliant played and is doing really well and I think he's got a big chance to win this."
Northern Ireland's Daryl Gurney also won through to just his second TV semi-final in a third 19-leg thriller as he edged out Simon Whitlock.
Whitlock led 2-0, took out 161 on his way to a 5-3 cushion and also moved 7-4 up with a neat two-dart 97 checkout, only for an 11-darter from Gurney - which featured scores of 177 and 168 - to fire his comeback.
Gurney claimed the next four legs to move into a 9-7 lead, and though Whitlock hit back to force a decider, the Northern Irish thrower landed his fifth 180 of the game before taking out 81 for a 12-darter to reach the semis.
"I threw my heart out after the second break but I had to throw everything at Simon just to get back in the game," said Gurney, who dedicated the win to his best friend Aaron McMenamin, who passed away earlier in 2017.
"Just to get back in the game was a good effort, but to go on and win it means a lot.
"Simon's a top player and he's never going to give up, but I wasn't going to give up either. I was 7-4 down and came back at one of the best players in the world."
World number three Wright, the UK Open runner-up for the past two years, produced a performance of the highest quality to complete the semi-final line-up with a 10-8 win over Raymond van Barneveld.
Both players set the tone for a superb contest with 180s in the opening leg, and they traded 11-dart finishes during the opening six legs.
Wright took out 156 to move 6-4 up, with van Barneveld responding with a ten-darter as he levelled before the two-time champion then edged into an 8-7 lead.
Wright, though, produced one final surge to claim the next three legs without reply to seal his semi-final spot, ending with 13 maximums and a brilliant 110.88 average - his second highest on TV - to Van Barneveld's 108.
"That was amazing," said Wright. "It's one of the games I've ever played, and Barney was hitting me back all the time and was with me shot after shot.
"I was enjoying it as well, even being scared and petrified on stage. I didn't doubt myself, but a couple of years ago I would have buckled.
"I'm a people-watcher and I watch all these great champions and take little bits from each of them and try to make my game better to try and make me into a champion."
Wright now meets Gurney in the semi-finals on Sunday evening, with Price set to take on Norris in a line-up which will ensure the first new winner of a PDC televised event since 2012 when the £70,000 title is secured.