IAN WHITE clinched his second career European Title with a dramatic last-leg 8-7 victory over Peter Wright to win the 2019 European Darts Grand Prix in Sindelfingen.
It was third time a charm for White as he made a third successive European Tour final in as many weeks, before finally picking up the top prize.
Losing out to Michael van Gerwen in both the German Darts Open and Austrian Darts Open, White must have been relieved to face a different opposition in this final, but was pushed all the way by the world number six.
After trading the opening three legs, White was the first to break throw as he produced a show-stopping 170 checkout - the third of the tournament - to lead 3-1.
Wright quickly bit back to level things at 3-3, as he chased his first European Tour title since 2017.
One hold of throw after another came next, with little to separate the two in a nervy encounter as it got to six legs apiece.
It was there that Wright stuck what seemed a decisive blow. White missed tops for a 120 checkout, and ’Snakebite’ landed a huge 104 checkout on D16 to move one leg away from the title.
But White wasn’t ready to let another European Tour title slip through his fingers, and fired his second 180 of the match in response as he broke back to force a deciding leg at 7-7.
And with the throw in last, the Stoke-star held firm and sealed his second career European Tour title on D16.
“It took six years to win one, and now I've made three finals [in a row] and I am so glad to get over the line,” said White.
“The final was a bit of a struggle, we didn’t play our best but I knew that if I missed a double he would take advantage.
“The 170 checkout was special, but then I still allowed Peter to get back into the game.
“But to win another one, I am over the moon. There are not many of us who have won more than one [European Tour title], so I am just happy to win it.”
The 48-year-olds run to the final started with arguably the performance of the tournament as he averaged 110.84 in a 6-3 victory over Keegan Brown.
Up next was Jeffrey De Zwaan, who himself had thrown a 105 average in the last 16, but was no match for White who breezed through 6-1.
And in a nervy Semi-Final with Steve Beaton, White came from behind to clinch a 7-5 victory to progress to a third successive final.
Wright’s run to the final started with an excellent 6-4 win over Jonny Clayton in a high-class affair that saw the Premier League star average 104 and land eight maximums.
He was then made favourite for the final as he beat reigning champion Van Gerwen 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
Leading from the front, Wright didn’t look troubled as he landed 56% of his doubles in an assured performance to knock out the world number one.
And in the semi-finals, he breezed past Jamie Hughes 7-1 to set up the final showdown with White.
“Well done to Ian White, he is on top form at the moment,” said Wright.
“To play him in the final and get as close as I did, I am really happy. But I have to say well done to Ian.”
The European Tour action will continue on May 24-26 with the 2019 Dutch Darts Masters in Zwolle, The Netherlands, with Van Gerwen looking to retain his title.
2019 European Darts Grand Prix
Sunday May 12
Ian White 6-3 Keegan Brown
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Michael Smith
Steve Beaton 6-4 Ryan Searle
Darren Webster 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Nathan Aspinall 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Peter Wright 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 James Richardson
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 BST)
Ian White 6-1 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Steve Beaton 6-2 Darren Webster
Jamie Hughes 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Peter Wright 6-3 Michael van Gerwen
Ian White 7-5 Steve Beaton
Peter Wright 7-1 Jamie Hughes
Ian White 8-7 Peter Wright
All games up to and including the quarter-finals are the best of 11 legs, with the semi-finals the best of 13 legs and the final the best of 15 legs. Sunday’s games played in Draw Bracket order.
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