DARYL GURNEY won his first ranking title with a superb 6-3 defeat of Kim Huybrechts to claim Players Championship Seven in Barnsley.
The Northern Irish ace's emergence continued as he claimed the £10,000 title in his first Players Championship final, following up last month's run to the Coral UK Open semi-finals by going all the way on this occasion.
Wins over Germany's Martin Schindler, Dutchman Vincent Kamphuis and Spain's Cristo Reyes took Gurney into the last 16, where he knocked out in-form Australian Simon Whitlock.
Gurney then edged out Irish youngster Steve Lennon 6-5 in the quarter-finals and overcame Gerwyn Price in ten legs at the last four stage to book his spot in the final.
There, Gurney came from a leg down to lead 4-1 against Huybrechts, taking out 112 for one of two breaks of throw, and though the Belgian pulled back two legs, finishes of 76 and double five secured Gurney the title.
The 31-year-old's only previous ranking final had been at the 2016 Dutch Darts Masters, where he lost out to Michael van Gerwen, while his win comes weeks after he was included in the World Series of Darts field for the PDC U.S. Masters in July.
"I'm nearly speechless!" admitted Gurney. "I've made so many semi-finals and quarter-finals, everything but getting to the final, and then I get to the final and the first chance I get I win it - I can't believe it.
"Today I won a couple of 6-5s and I didn't let it get to me. I played well today and it's unbelievable.
"There's a lot of players out there who believe they can win one of these, but you can't say you've won anything until you step over that bit of ground that says you're a winner.
"My consistency has been there probably since the start of the year, and the only thing that was really missing in my eyes was getting to a final. To get to a final and win it was the overall plan."
Huybrechts' run to the final was a strong response to his recent elimination from the Betway Premier League, as the Belgian fell one game short of claiming a fifth PDC ranking title.
He defeated Jim Brown, James Richardson and Mike De Decker before recording an impressive whitewash against world number five James Wade in the last 16.
Huybrechts then knocked out recent UK Open champion Peter Wright in the quarter-finals and fended off the challenge of Jermaine Wattimena in the last four as he claimed £6,000 in prize money with his best finish of 2017 so far.
Dutchman Wattimena produced some fine darts on a memorable day to reach only his second PDC semi-final, overcoming Dave Chisnall, Robert Thornton, Kyle Anderson and Benito van de Pas in his run to the last four.
He was joined at that stage by Welsh ace Price, who followed up his run to the UK Open final last month with another strong performance, which included a victory over number two seed Mensur Suljovic in the last eight.
Wright, Van de Pas and Suljovic were joined in the quarter-finals by emerging Irish youngster Lennon, as the two-time PDC Unicorn Development Tour event winner enjoyed his best day yet on the ProTour.
Lennon saw off Matthew Dennant, Ian White, Kevin Painter and Scott Taylor as he reached the last eight, having qualified on Friday night for the forthcoming HappyBet German Darts Open.
Andy Hamilton's resurgence continued as he followed up his Friday night qualification with whitewashes in his opening two matches on Saturday, against Craig Gilchrist and Ronny Huybrechts, before he overcame Aden Kirk to reach the last 16.
Dutch duo Jelle Klaasen and Raymond van Barneveld were amongst the seeded players to miss out at the first round stage as they lost to youngsters Scott Taylor and Ryan Meikle respectively.
Sunday sees a second £75,000 Players Championship of the weekend take place, as 128 players compete for the £10,000 top prize.
Coverage will be streamed live online from two boards simultaneously, and can be viewed by PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide via www.livepdc.tv and at a series of bookmakers' websites.
The tournament is being streamed live online with action from two boards simultaneously available for PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide through www.livepdc.tv as well as through a series of bookmakers' websites.
WHERE TO WATCH
Live coverage from two streamed boards will be available online for all PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide via www.livepdc.tv .
Live coverage is also available through the following bookmakers' websites:
188 Bet (China, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand)
Fonbet (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Cyprus)
Sportsbet Australia (Australia)
TAB NZ (New Zealand)
Tipsport (Czech Republic, Slovakia)
TouTou (China, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand)
Unibet (UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Australia)
Unibet France (France)
Wwin (Bosnia & Herzegovia)
Players Championship Seven
Saturday April 8, Barnsley Metrodome
Peter Wright (1) 6-3 Jan Dekker
Peter Hudson 6-4 Ted Evetts
Andy Boulton 6-5 John Henderson (32)
Kirk Shepherd 6-4 Robert Owen
Steve West (16) 6-3 Lee Bryant
John Bowles 6-2 Brian Woods
Steve Beaton (17) 6-3 Richie Burnett
Mark Barilli 6-4 Wes Newton
Kim Huybrechts (8) 6-3 Jim Brown
James Richardson 6-4 Chris Quantock
Mike De Decker 6-3 Darren Webster (25)
Scott Darbyshire 6-3 Matt Clark
James Wade (9) 6-1 Jamie Lewis
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Terry Roach
Christian Kist (24) 6-3 Jim Walker
Maik Langendorf 6-4 Richie Corner
Benito van de Pas (5) 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
John Michael 6-3 Terry Temple
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Josh Payne (28)
Jonathan Worsley 6-0 Richard North
Michael Smith (12) 6-3 Yordi Meeuwisse
Andy Jenkins 6-4 Peter Jacques
Jonny Clayton 6-4 James Wilson (21)
William O'Connor 6-4 Adam Hunt
Dave Chisnall (4) 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Jermaine Wattimena 6-0 Mick Todd
Robert Thornton (29) 6-1 Jamie Caven
Mark Walsh 6-2 Andy Parsons
Mickey Mansell 6-3 Joe Cullen (13)
Keegan Brown 6-3 Antonio Alcinas
Kyle Anderson (20) 6-4 Ross Twell
Jamie Bain 6-4 Devon Petersen
Mensur Suljovic (2) 6-1 John Norman Jnr
Mark Webster 6-3 Steve Hine
Harry Robinson 6-2 Robbie Green (31)
Paul Nicholson 6-3 Madars Razma
Jimmy Hendriks 6-3 Stephen Bunting (15)
Haruki Muramatsu 6-4 Ryan Palmer
Mervyn King (18) 6-5 Sven Groen
Stuart Kellett 6-3 Diogo Portela
Alan Norris (7) 6-3 Colin Roelofs
Aden Kirk 6-2 Prakash Jiwa
Ronny Huybrechts (26) 6-4 Rob Cross
Andy Hamilton 6-0 Craig Gilchrist
Gerwyn Price (10) 6-4 Warrick Scheffer
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Darron Brown
Adrian Lewis (23) 6-2 Stephen Burton
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-2 Ricky Williams
Ian White (6) 6-4 Bryan De Hoog
Steve Lennon 6-5 Matthew Dennant
Ryan Meikle 6-4 Raymond van Barneveld (27)
Kevin Painter 6-4 Simon Preston
Scott Taylor 6-1 Jelle Klaasen (11)
Berry van Peer 6-5 Darren Johnson
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3 Chris Dobey (22)
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Simon Whitlock (3) 6-3 Ray Campbell
Mick McGowan 6-2 Tony Newell
Justin Pipe (30) 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ricky Evans 6-3 Dennis Smith
Cristo Reyes (14) 6-4 Joe Murnan
David Pallett 6-3 Paul Rowley
Daryl Gurney (19) 6-3 Martin Schinder
Vincent Kamphuis 6-4 Ronnie Baxter
Peter Wright 6-5 Peter Hudson
Andy Boulton 6-3 Kirk Shepherd
Steve West 6-5 John Bowles
Mark Barilli 6-3 Steve Beaton
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 James Richardson
Mike De Decker 6-4 Scott Darbyshire
James Wade 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Maik Langendorf 6-2 Christian Kist
Benito van de Pas 6-2 John Michael
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Jonathan Worsley
Michael Smith 6-2 Andy Jenkins
Jonny Clayton 6-5 William O'Connor
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Robert Thornton 6-1 Mark Walsh
Keegan Brown 6-0 Mickey Mansell
Kyle Anderson 6-2 Jamie Bain
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Mark Webster
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Harry Robinson
Jimmy Hendriks 6-2 Haruki Muramatsu
Mervyn King 6-2 Stuart Kellett
Aden Kirk 6-4 Alan Norris
Andy Hamilton 6-0 Ronny Huybrechts
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 Adrian Lewis
Steve Lennon 6-5 Ian White
Kevin Painter 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Scott Taylor 6-2 Berry van Peer
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-5 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Mick McGowan
Justin Pipe 6-4 Ricky Evans
Cristo Reyes 6-1 David Pallett
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Vincent Kamphuis
Peter Wright 6-3 Andy Boulton
Steve West 6-3 Mark Barilli
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Mike De Decker
James Wade 6-5 Maik Langendorf
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith 6-2 Jonny Clayton
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Robert Thornton
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Keegan Brown
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Mervyn King
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Aden Kirk
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Steve Lennon 6-1 Kevin Painter
Scott Taylor 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Justin Pipe
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Cristo Reyes
Peter Wright 6-3 Steve West
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 James Wade
Benito van de Pas 6-4 Michael Smith
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Andy Hamilton
Steve Lennon 6-2 Scott Taylor
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Peter Wright
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Steve Lennon
Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Last 16 Losers £1,500
Last 32 Losers £1,000
Last 64 Losers £500