NATHAN ASPINALL praised his clinical finishing as he celebrated an "amazing" Ladbrokes UK Open - as he completed his journey from fan to TV champion!
The Stockport ace had enjoyed a weekend at the Butlin's Minehead Resort alongside his grandad Alan at the 2014 UK Open, an experience which strengthened the youngter's resolve to progress in the sport.
At that stage a competitor on the PDC's Development Tour who had missed out at the 2014 Qualifying School, Aspinall won his Tour Card the following year before making his UK Open debut in a run which ended with a last 32 defeat to James Wade on the main stage.
Having won back his Tour Card in 2018 before winning a Players Championship title and then reaching the World Championship semi-finals, Aspinall's triumph over Rob Cross in Sunday's UK Open final completed his stunning rise to fame.
"Dreams can come true," he said. "I look at Rob, he won the Worlds last year and I looked at him and thought "Why can't I do that?"
"I was here as a fan with my grandad, watching the stage thinking I can be as good as those players.
"I've worked so hard over the last few years, dedicated so much time and to finally win one of these is an amazing feeling.
"I had a great World Championship and I wanted to back that up. I'm so happy."
Aspinall travelled to the UK Open determined to follow up his run to the World Championship semi-finals with another strong display - only to end up sealing the title with a 170 checkout.
He had also produced a clutch bullseye finish in the deciding leg of his fourth round win over Christian Kist, and landed another 170 checkout - his first in a televised game - during his quarter-final win over Ross Smith.
"I played really well at the Worlds and I played well this weekend," added the 27-year-old. "To win in the fashion that I did at the end, with the 170 checkout, makes it a little bit special.
"All weekend my finishing's been brilliant. I've been over the 50 percent mark with my checkout percentage all weekend and that's a part of my game that I've been working on.
"I'm a big scorer and my checkouts at crucial times were letting me down. This weekend they've not - I've hit so many bull finishes. My finishing's been key."
“I came here with my grandad as a fan and told him I’m as good as these players.”— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) March 3, 2019
Hear from your UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall... pic.twitter.com/Qm5oZzX35h
Aspinall will now prepare for his appearance as a Contender in the Unibet Premier League, where he will take on Michael Smith at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Thursday March 14.