Gerwyn Price celebrated his fourth title of 2023 with an 8-5 victory over Josh Rock in Saturday’s Players Championship 17 final in Hildesheim.
Price – who won back-to-back European Tour titles in March – capped off a successful return to ProTour action to pocket the £12,000 top prize at Halle 39.
The Welshman wasn’t at his blistering best on German soil, although he produced a professional performance to see off Northern Ireland’s Rock in Saturday’s showpiece.
Rock struck the first blow in the decider by firing in a 12-dart break to lead 2-1, although the 2021 World Champion immediately responded, registering back-to-back 15-dart legs to regain the initiative.
With the scores locked at four apiece, both players faltered on the outer ring, but it was Price who profited in a scrappy conclusion to the tie, winning four of the last five legs to triumph.
“I scraped through a few games,” conceded Price, who also steered Wales to a second World Cup of Darts title alongside Jonny Clayton in June.
“Even in the final I wasn’t at my best, but I’m winning, and that is all that matters.
“I came here and didn’t know where my game was. I haven’t been in many ranking events over the last couple of months, so to win this title gives me a confidence boost going into tomorrow.
“These are the tournaments you need to be playing in if you want to keep sharp and you want to be winning major tournaments.
“I don’t think I played anywhere near as well as I can today, but I played some good darts when it mattered.”
Price began his campaign with convincing wins over Radek Szaganski and Tony Martinez, averaging over 103 in his victory over the Spaniard.
The 38-year-old then overcame Nick Kenny in an all-Welsh affair to reach the last 16, where he edged out Jamie Hughes in a gruelling last-leg decider.
Price continued his charge with a 6-1 demolition of Jeff Smith in the quarter-finals, averaging almost 106 before winning through another deciding-leg tie against Ritchie Edhouse in the last four.
Edhouse led 6-4 before Price survived a match dart in leg 11, and the Welshman completed the comeback with back-to-back 12-darters to win through a dramatic contest.
Rock, meanwhile, secured a place in his third Players Championship final of 2023, before falling short in his bid to capture a first ranking title of the campaign.
The World Youth Champion came through hard-fought encounters against Jeffrey de Zwaan and Joe Murnan earlier in the day, before crashing in a stunning 112 average to dismantle Ryan Joyce in round three.
Rock posted another ton-topping average in his thrilling comeback win against Connor Scutt in the last 16, winning the last two legs in 13 and 11 darts respectively.
The 22-year-old continued his progress with a narrow 6-4 success against UK Open champion Andrew Gilding to reach the semi-finals, where he brushed aside Danny van Trijp in routine fashion.
Dutch youngster Van Trijp has struggled since making the switch to the professional circuit earlier this year, but he underlined his credentials with his best performance in a PDC ranking event.
Van Trijp dumped out second seed Damon Heta in the last 64, and also recorded comprehensive 6-1 wins against Florian Hempel and William O’Connor to scoop £4,000 in prize money.
Edhouse also impressed in his run to the semi-finals, overcoming the seeded duo of Kim Huybrechts and Daryl Gurney to cap off his best performance of 2023 to date.
Gurney landed a brace of ton-plus averages on his return to action, and he was joined in the last eight by UK Open champion Gilding, Ireland’s former World Cup finalist O’Connor and North American champion Smith.
This weekend’s ProTour action continues on Sunday, with Players Championship 18 taking place at Halle 39 from 1200 BST, as 128 players battle it out for the £12,000 top prize live on PDCTV.
2023 Players Championship 17
Saturday August 26
Halle 39, Hildesheim
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Alexander Merkx
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Jeff Smith 6-4 Chris Dobey
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Danny van Trijp 6-3 Ryan Meikle
William O'Connor 6-5 Stephen Burton
Josh Rock 6-5 Connor Scutt
Andrew Gilding 6-3 Ricardo Pietreczko
Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Jeff Smith
Danny van Trijp 6-1 William O'Connor
Josh Rock 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Gerwyn Price 7-6 Ritchie Edhouse
Josh Rock 7-1 Danny van Trijp
Gerwyn Price 8-5 Josh Rock