STEPHEN BUNTING and Chris Dobey lit up the opening day of the German Darts Grand Prix with superb performances in Munich on Saturday.
Bunting subjected European Tour debutant Christian Goedl to a brutal 11-minute whitewash with an outstanding display, averaging 101.33 and hitting six doubles from nine attempts.
Goedl had his chances, but wasted six darts at a double as Bunting - who landed two of his four 180s in an 11-darter in leg two - moved through to play Ian White in Sunday's second round.
"It felt really good," said Bunting. "I've been working really hard behind the scenes and putting a lot of hours in practice with Dawson Murschell, and he's been pushing me.
"I can feel myself getting back to my old self. I believe I'm playing [as good as the] top ten. I'm putting more hours in than I've ever done before and I'm feeling confident again. I believe I can win events again."
Bunting added: "Ian White's a great player and I can't wait to play him tomorrow. The best man on the day will win, and if I play my best game I've got a really good chance."
Dobey, meanwhile, produced a world-class finishing display to silence the German crowd as he overcame home favourite Martin Schindler 6-4 with six doubles from seven attempts.
The Bedlington ace took out 150 and 164 - with Schindler waiting on 40 - and then landed 13-darters either side of a 12-dart leg which featured with seven perfect as he moved 5-1 up without missing a double.
Schindler hit back to 5-4 with some fine darts of his own, but crucially missed tops to force a deciding leg before Dobey returned to hit the bed and seal his second round spot.
"I started well with my finishing but I let Martin back in and he wasn't missing much so I'm glad to get the win," said Dobey, who now plays Michael Smith.
"To play in front of this crowd is phenomenal, especially playing a local lad. I'm very happy."
James Wade opened his challenge to win a third European Tour title with a 6-2 win over Latvia's Madars Razma, who landed a 164 checkout but was unable to match the left-hander's six doubles from 12 attempts in a strong display.
Germany's Max Hopp took out key bull finishes of 92 and 84 as he came from 4-3 down to win 6-4 against Rowby-John Rodriguez, taking out 50 percent of his darts at a double to set up a tie with Mervyn King.
Ryan Meikle punished Scott Taylor for 12 missed doubles as the left-hander claimed a 6-2 win from their first round tie, taking out an eye-catching finish of 100 with two double tops during the game.
Meikle was one of four players stranded in the UK on Friday night following a fire at Stansted airport, but after flying to Munich on Saturday morning travelled straight to the venue for his game, setting up a second round tie with Daryl Gurney.
"It was an awful journey," said Meikle. "It seems like I've had a lot of bad luck on the European Tour so I'm relieved to win.
"I'm looking forward to playing Daryl, he's playing very well but there's no pressure on me now so I can turn up and enjoy it. I can't wait."
Steve West, who had travelled from Heathrow with Meikle on Saturday morning, overcame a slow start to punish 17 missed doubles by Paul Rowley as he claimed a 6-2 success with five straight legs, and now plays Kim Huybrechts.
Darren Webster, who had flown into Innsbruck alongside Adrian Lewis on Saturday morning, was too strong for Jan Dekker as he claimed a 6-2 success to set up a second round meeting with Dave Chisnall.
"I've had a tour of Europe just to get here so to get the win is great," said Webster. "We got diverted [from Stansted to fly from] Manchester and flew to Austria.
"It was a little bit shaky - I played okay but in the next round I've got to be on it against Chizzy."
Lewis, though, was the biggest name to exit the £135,000 tournament on day one as he allowed a 5-2 lead to slip against Yordi Meeuwisse by missing four match darts.
The Dutchman took out a ten-darter to begin his fightback and landed a 112 finish as he hit back to level, before winning the deciding leg in 12 darts.
Danny Noppert earned a let-off for 22 missed doubles as he overcame Poland's Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 in their tie, with the Dutchman progressing to face Mensur Suljovic on Sunday.
Steve Lennon moves through to face Michael van Gerwen on Sunday following a superb 6-4 win over Nathan Aspinall in a top-quality match between to emerging stars.
Nathan Aspinall's 102.15 is the 3rd-highest 1st-round losing average on the Euro Tour in its current format, and the highest since 2015.— Christopher Kempf (@ochepedia) March 31, 2018
Former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown enjoyed a 6-3 win over Host Nation Qualifier Maik Langendorf, breaking the deadlock at three-all with a huge 140 checkout as he moves through to play Simon Whitlock.
Alan Tabern escaped from five missed match darts across two legs from Jermaine Wattimena as the left-hander fought back from 5-2 down to claim victory in a dramatic deciding leg.
Wattimena firstly missed two match darts in leg nine as Tabern kept his hopes alive, and wasted three further chances in the decider as the St Helens man returned to finally land the winning double at the eighth time of asking.
Josh Payne survived a missed match dart against Michael Rasztovits before moving through to take on second seed Peter Wright - last weekend's European Darts Open runner-up - with a narrow 6-5 win.
Payne took out 160 and 146 during the contest, only to see three match darts go begging in the final leg, but the Austrian was unable to land tops as he allowed the World Youth Championship finalist back in on double ten.
Jonny Clayton also progressed following a dramatic finale to his contest with Germany's Rene Berndt, who missed three match darts before the Welshman returned to finally close out victory to seal a tie with World Champion Rob Cross.
Toni Alcinas moved through to play Alan Norris with a 6-2 win over James Wilson, with the Spanish ace checking out six doubles from 13 attempts in a clinical display.
Luke Humphries opened the German Darts Grand Prix with a 6-2 win over William O'Connor, who took out 144 but was unable to recover from losing the opening three legs as the youngster moves through to meet Gerwyn Price.
The German Darts Grand Prix continues with the second round on Sunday as the 16 seeded players enter the action, before the tournament concludes on Easter Monday.
The PDC European Tour event is being broadcast through PDCTV-HD and through a series of bookmakers' websites worldwide.
2018 German Darts Grand Prix
Saturday March 31
Luke Humphries 6-2 William O'Connor
Max Hopp 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Danny Noppert 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Steve Lennon 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Keegan Brown 6-3 Maik Langendorf
Ryan Meikle 6-2 Scott Taylor
Steve West 6-2 Paul Rowley
Darren Webster 6-2 Jan Dekker
James Wade 6-2 Madars Razma
Alan Tabern 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Josh Payne 6-5 Michael Rasztovits
Chris Dobey 6-4 Martin Schindler
Toni Alcinas 6-2 James Wilson
Stephen Bunting 6-0 Christian Goedl
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Rene Berndt
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Best of 11 legs
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