NINE-DART STAR Michael van Gerwen was at his flamboyant best as he clinched the Players Championship Three title, beating Ian White 8-5 in the final at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan on Saturday.
In a day in which he hit a stunning nine-darter - his second in as many weekends - the world number one toyed with his opponents like a lion with its prey as he raced to a second ProTour title of 2019.
Van Gerwen's moment of perfection came in his third round clash with Jamie Hughes, landing a 177 and 174 to set up a 150 finish, which he confidently took out with two treble 19s and double 18 to secure the victory.
☁️9️⃣What a route! 🎢@MvG180 hits yet another nine-dart leg. This time to win the match, and without even touching a 180 all game 💅🏻— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) February 16, 2019
177 3️⃣174 6️⃣150 9️⃣
He does this for fun 🎯#PDCProTour pic.twitter.com/Ho1TkEtfYt
In the final, Van Gerwen was ruthless; averaging 105.7, his highest of the day, the Dutchman took out two 160 finishes and a showpiece 170 to clinch the title in style.
He started by taking the opening two legs, but White responded well to level things at 2-2.
Van Gerwen then landed the first of his 160 finishes, before hitting tops to reopen a two-leg advantage.
The next two legs went with throw, before back-to-back 12 darters - the second with a 170 checkout - from the World Champion put him in touching distance of the title.
He wasn’t done there though, as his second 160 checkout put him 7-3 ahead and on the brink of victory.
White made him wait for his crowning moment with a 12-darter and then a break of throw of his own, but ultimately was powerless to resist as Van Gerwen sealed the win.
The Dutch ace started his day with a routine 6-3 victory over Ryan Searle.
His statistically worst performance of the day was to follow as he averaged just 90 in a 6-4 win over Ross Smith.
But he soon took it up a notch as he saw off Hughes 6-3, including that perfect leg, before beating World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh by the same scoreline.
The quarter-finals again saw him run out a 6-3 winner, this time against new Tour Card holder Gavin Carlin - who was enjoying his best run yet in a PDC event.
And in the semi-finals, he comfortably dispatched Mervyn King 7-3 to set up the final with White.
World number 12 White, who has enjoyed regular success on the floor, was hunting his second ProTour title in eight months, and a first title since his European Tour win back in September 2018.
He started his run to the final with a convincing 6-1 win over Vincent Kamphuis, averaging 103.6 in the process.
With confidence flowing, he then dispatched Mark Webster 6-3 and Ryan Joyce and Darren Webster 6-4 respectively to reach the quarter-finals.
There he saw off John Henderson by the same scoreline to set up a semi-final clash with Newcastle’s Chris Dobey.
In a high quality encounter, White recovered from 3-2 down to string together four straight legs and lead 6-3 in an impressive middle spell.
Dobey responded with a break of throw and hold of his own but White was the one to progress a 7-5 winner, before falling at the final hurdle to Van Gerwen.
The Players Championship double-header continues on Sunday, with a further £75,000 to play for as 128 players compete.
All the action will be broadcast live for all PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide through PDCTV-HD (1200 GMT start), with coverage from two boards throughout the event.
Full Results & Stats
See full results and stats via DartConnect.
Players Championship Three
Saturday February 16, Robin Park Tennis Centre, Wigan
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Gavin Carlin 6-1 Kim Huybrechts
Steve West 6-1 Ron Meulenkamp
Mervyn King 6-4 Andy Boulton
Ian White 6-4 Darren Webster
John Henderson 6-5 Jose De Sousa
Chris Dobey 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Peter Wright 6-2 Toni Alcinas
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Gavin Carlin
Mervyn King 6-5 Steve West
Ian White 6-4 John Henderson
Chris Dobey 6-3 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Mervyn King
Ian White 7-5 Chris Dobey
Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Ian White