KYLE ANDERSON'S victory in the Auckland Darts Masters, presented by TAB & Burger King, has been hailed as a breakthrough moment for the sport Down Under by PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.
Anderson defeated reigning World Youth Champion Corey Cadby in an all-Australian final at the third staging of the Auckland Darts Masters to open August's World Series of Darts treble-header.
Watched on by New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English and the enthusiastic Kiwi crowd, Anderson's victory saw him claim glory for the first time in a televised event just four years after making his big-stage debut.
Anderson's success included a quarter-final victory over Australian number one Simon Whitlock - a former European Championship winner - and has been seen as a significant step for the sport in the Oceanic region following an event which also featured emerging New Zealanders Cody Harris and Darren Herewini.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has praised Anderson's achievement, which he believes can inspire the Perth-born star to further glory and boost darts in Australia and New Zealand.
Hearn said: "Simon was the first flag bearer for Australia, Paul Nicholson also had some success. Over the years we've watched local players come through the ranks, Kyle Anderson, Corey Cadby - this young, precocious talent - and who'd have thought that the final of the Auckland Masters would be between two unseeded players.
"This gives the game in Australia and New Zealand a massive push. The event showed that people can change their lives through darts, and here it was in the raw.
"All we can do is give them the opportunity and fund the change in lifestyle. Kyle Anderson has earned over £30,000 in the last couple of weeks, but what does it lead to? Whitlock became a Premier League player and one of the world's elite and he's still there.
"We're very excited and we're looking to the future, because who knows what's going to happen in Melbourne this week? Will we see more Australian success? The fans are in for a treat, the TV viewers at Fox are in for an extravaganza."
The introduction of the World Series in 2013 had the aim of spreading top-level professional darts around the globe.
With new events in Las Vegas, Melbourne and Dusseldorf this year alongside the tournaments in Dubai, Shanghai, Auckland and Perth ahead of the season-ending World Series Finals, Hearn is delighted with the growth of the concept.
"Five years ago now we had the idea that we were making such huge progress in the UK and Europe, but there's another world out there that we have to go to, because there's dart players everywhere," he added.
"We launched the World Series to go out and find local talent, to encourage them, to show them the opportunity they have in their career and also to take the world's best players out there to entertain a new legion of darts fans.
"I'm feeling pretty happy because it's working. We've got seven World Series events this year, we've just come back from the best tournament we've ever done in America at the U.S. Masters and we've got a massive event coming up in Germany in October."
The Unibet Melbourne Darts Masters will take place from August 18-20 at the Hisense Arena. For tickets, visit www.ticketek.com.au or call 132 849. Order Season Tickets - including $120 Tiered Seat season ticket - via this link.