MICHAEL VAN GERWEN claimed his fourth European Tour title of the year as he defeated Steve Lennon 8-5 in the final of the Dutch Darts Masters in Zwolle.
The world number one followed up last weekend’s victory at the European Darts Grand Prix with another triumph, this time in front of his passionate home crowd.
The tournament’s first visit to the IJsselhallen saw a fairy tale weekend unfold for runner-up Lennon, but Van Gerwen proved too strong in the final as he scooped the £25,000 prize.
Van Gerwen whitewashed Terry Jenkins in Saturday evening’s second round, before recording wins over Darren Webster, Kyle Anderson and Daryl Gurney to book his place in the final.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win in front of my home crowd,” said Van Gerwen, who has won four out of five European Tour events in 2018.
“I didn’t play my best game this weekend but I did enough good things in the right moments to win matches where I wasn’t at my best.
“That gives me confidence going into the Premier League and for the rest of the year – I love winning and I want to keep the feeling going.
“Steve was brilliant this weekend, he got better as the game went on and he will be a better player for this experience.”
Lennon’s incredible run to the final confirmed his emergence as one of the top prospects in darts in just his ninth appearance at a European Tour event.
The Irish ace beat James Richardson in Sunday afternoon’s third round before edging past Mensur Suljovic in style with a magnificent 143 finish to win it.
Lennon then defeated former Dutch Darts Masters champion Kim Huybrechts 7-5 in the semi-finals, hitting two stunning ton-plus finishes in the crucial final two legs to wrap up the biggest victory of his career to date.
“I grew in confidence as the tournament went on,” said Lennon, who had previously never reached the final day of action at a European Tour event.
“I was very nervous at the start of the tournament and I got a bit lucky.
“I have no shame in losing to the best player in the planet and now I have to use this weekend’s performance as a springboard to bigger things this year.”
Earlier in the evening, Huybrechts dumped out number two seed Peter Wright with a nail-biting 6-5 quarter-final victory.
Both players had darts to win the match, but it was the Belgian who struck the winning double to reach his first European Tour semi-final of the year.
Daryl Gurney also came close to winning a maiden European Tour title after he convincingly beat Stephen Bunting 6-2 in the quarter-finals.
Finishing proved to be the difference for the Northern Irishman, as he found six doubles from just nine attempts, including an impressive 118 checkout.
The PDC European Tour continues from June 8-10 with the Gibraltar Darts Trophy at the Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar with coverage to be broadcast at PDCTV-HD and through a series of bookmakers’ websites worldwide.
2018 Dutch Darts Masters
Sunday May 13
Steve Lennon 6-5 James Richardson
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Peter Wright 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Krzysztof Ratajski
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Mervyn King
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Cameron Menzies
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Darren Webster
Steve Lennon 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Peter Wright
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Steve Lennon 7-5 Kim Huybrechts
Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen 8-5 Steve Lennon