Michael van Gerwen clinched his fourth consecutive Players Championship title with victory over his compatriot Christian Kist at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin on Friday afternoon.
‘The Green Machine’ claimed an unprecedented hat-trick at last week’s triple-header in Barnsley and continued his magnificent form on Irish soil, dropping just 11 legs over the course of the entire day at Players Championship 17, to once again scoop the £10,000 winner’s cheque.
The world number one breezed into the third-round with emphatic wins against Terry Temple and Robert Owen, to set up a last 32 clash with a resurgent Mick McGowan.
McGowan, who qualified for the World Grand Prix by virtue of reaching a semi-final in Barnsley last week, edged out Wes Newton and Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton to book his third-round spot, but Van Gerwen was an obstacle too far, with the Dutchman recording a 6-3 triumph.
In round-four MvG faced Berry van Peer, who had already seen off Raymond van Barneveld and Simon Whitlock en course to the last 16, although ‘Mighty-Mike’ sealed a comprehensive 6-1 win against his compatriot, to ease into the quarter-finals.
Van Gerwen faced eight-time major winner James Wade in the last eight, after ‘The Machine’ had come through deciding legs against Steve West and Simon Stevenson respectively. However, the world number one comfortably saw off the left-hander by a 6-3 scoreline.
The Dutch ace faced Darren Webster in the last four, after ‘The Demolition Man’ had lived up to his nickname by recording his first semi-final appearance of 2016 on the Pro Tour.
Webster defeated the likes of Michael Smith, Jonny Clayton and Steve Beaton to reach the semi-finals, but Van Gerwen stormed to a whitewash 6-0 victory over the 50-year-old, averaging 113.9 and converting a maximum 170 checkout en route to the final.
On the other side of the draw, whilst Kist’s day ultimately ended in disappointment, he performed superbly to reach his first ever PDC final, which subsequently guarantees him a place in November’s Players Championship Finals in Minehead.
Kist kicked off his campaign in style, with a thrilling deciding-leg victory against world champion Gary Anderson, before edging past Prakash Jiwa, also in an eleventh and final leg.
In round three, the former Lakeside world champion produced a fine display to dump out Aussie ace Kyle Anderson, before sealing a place in the last eight by overcoming three-time major finalist Dave Chisnall 6-4.
In the quarter-finals, Kist dismantled Justin Pipe 6-1, but ‘The Force’ will have been content with his afternoon’s work, having dumped out second seed Peter Wright earlier in the day. Yet, in the semi-finals, Kist faced Mensur Suljovic, who maintained his unrelenting consistency with another excellent run on the Pro Tour.
Suljovic, seeded third in Dublin, dropped just six legs in defeating the quartet of Jan Dekker, Keegan Brown, Mickey Mansell and Stephen Bunting. Yet, ‘The Gentle’ succumbed to Kist by a 6-5 scoreline, giving the Dutchman his third last-leg triumph of the afternoon.
Despite this, the final was a relatively one-sided affair. Kist appeared drained from his excursions throughout the afternoon, and Van Gerwen produced a dominant display to record a convincing 6-1 win. This handed MvG his 20th ranking title of 2016, just four behind Phil Taylor’s record haul of 24, set in 2008.
Elsewhere, a number of big-name stars suffered early exits at the Citywest. World champion Gary Anderson was edged out in a deciding-leg by eventual finalist Christian Kist, whilst two-time world champion Adrian Lewis also suffered last-leg heartbreak, losing to Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Also in round-one, five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld was beaten by his young compatriot Berry van Peer, whilst fourth seed Kim Huybrechts suffered defeat against an in-form John Henderson.
Former Players Championship winners Alan Norris and Ian White were beaten in round-one by Vincent Kamphuis and Andy Boulton respectively, whilst James Wilson, who reached his first PDC final in Barnsley last week, was beaten 6-3 by Nigel Heydon at the same stage.
Players Championship 17
Friday September 30, Citywest Hotel, Dublin
Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-2 Terry Temple
Robert Owen 6-4 Nathan Derry
Robert Thornton (32) 6-5 Mike Zuydwijk
Mick McGowan 6-4 Wes Newton
Simon Whitlock (16) 6-3 Shaun Griffiths
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Mike De Decker 6-4 Terry Jenkins (17)
Berry van Peer 6-3 Raymond van Barneveld
James Wade (8) 6-0 Nigel Daniels
Ray Campbell 6-5 Kevin Dowling
Steve West (25) 6-2 Ken MacNeil
Tony Newell 6-4 Matt Clark
Gerwyn Price (9) 6-1 Ronnie Baxter
Ricky Evans 6-4 Brett Claydon
Jamie Caven (24) 6-4 Paul Nicholson
Simon Stevenson 6-4 Mark Barilli
Andy Boulton 6-3 Ian White (5)
Matthew Dennant 6-2 Paul Milford
Dennis Smith 6-5 Vincent van der Voort (28)
Jonny Clayton 6-2 Dean Winstanley
Michael Smith (12) 6-5 Ted Evetts
Darren Webster 6-4 Antonio Alcinas
Nigel Heydon 6-3 James Wilson (21)
Jason Wilson 6-4 Scott Dale
John Henderson 6-3 Kim Huybrechts (4)
Steve Brown 6-4 Chris Quantock
Josh Payne (29) 6-5 John Bowles
Jeffrey De Graaf 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Vincent Kamphuis 6-4 Alan Norris (13)
James Richardson 6-5 Devon Petersen
Steve Beaton (20) 6-1 Steve Hine
Jason Marriott 6-3 Haruki Muramatsu
Peter Wright (2) 6-4 Peter Hudson
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-4 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Justin Pipe (31) 6-3 Harry Robinson
Joe Murnan 6-1 Curtis Hammond
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Joe Cullen (15)
Matthew Edgar 6-5 Johnny Haines
Daryl Gurney (18) 6-3 Darren Johnson
Andrew Gilding 6-3 John Part
Dave Chisnall (7) 6-4 Mark Webster
Ryan Palmer 6-4 Mark Walsh
Richie Corner 6-4 Cristo Reyes (26)
Chris Dobey 6-4 David Pallett
Christian Kist 6-5 Gary Anderson (10)
Prakash Jiwa 6-3 Dave Ladley
Kyle Anderson (23) 6-2 William O’Connor
Stuart Kellett 6-5 Andy Hamilton
Benito van de Pas (16) 6-1 Mark Frost
Kevin Painter 6-4 Brian Woods
Robbie Green (27) 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts
Andy Smith 6-2 Stephen Willard
Stephen Bunting (11) 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Jim Walker 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Mervyn King (22) 6-3 Darron Brown
Jamie Robinson 6-5 Steve McNally
Mensur Suljovic (3) 6-2 Simon Preston
Jan Dekker 6-3 Ricky Williams
Keegan Brown 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena (30)
Jonathan Worsley 6-2 Jamie Lewis
Jelle Klaasen (14) 6-2 Wayne Jones
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Kirk Shepherd
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Adrian Lewis (19)
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Alan Tabern.
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Robert Owen
Mick McGowan 6-4 Robert Thornton
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Berry van Peer 6-4 Mike De Decker
James Wade 6-1 Ray Campbell
Steve West 6-1 Tony Newell
Ricky Evans 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Simon Stevenson 6-2 Jamie Caven
Andy Boulton 6-5 Matthew Dennant
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Dennis Smith
Darren Webster 6-2 Michael Smith
Nigel Heydon 6-4 Jason Wilson
John Henderson 6-2 Steve Brown
Jeffrey De Graaf 6-3 Josh Payne
Vincent Kamphuis 6-2 James Richardson
Steve Beaton 6-0 Jason Marriott
Peter Wright 6-5 Yordi Meeuwisse
Justin Pipe 6-4 Joe Murnan
Matthew Edgar 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Andrew Gilding 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Ryan Palmer
Chris Dobey 6-5 Richie Corner
Christian Kist 6-5 Prakash Jiwa
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Stuart Kellett
Kevin Painter 6-5 Benito van de Pas
Andy Smith 6-1 Robbie Green
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Jim Walker
Jamie Robinson 6-3 Mervyn King
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Jan Dekker
Keegan Brown 6-2 Jonathan Worsley
Mickey Mansell 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Mick McGowan
Berry van Peer 6-4 Simon Whitlock
James Wade 6-5 Steve West
Simon Stevenson 6-2 Ricky Evans
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Andy Boulton
Darren Webster 6-4 Nigel Heydon
John Henderson 6-5 Jeffrey De Graaf
Steve Beaton 6-4 Vincent Kamphuis
Justin Pipe 6-3 Peter Wright
Matthew Edgar 6-5 Andrew Gilding
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Chris Dobey
Christian Kist 6-3 Kyle Anderson
Kevin Painter 6-4 Andy Smith
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Jamie Robinson
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Keegan Brown
Mickey Mansell 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Berry van Peer
James Wade 6-5 Simon Stevenson
Darren Webster 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Steve Beaton 6-4 John Henderson
Justin Pipe 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Christian Kist 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Kevin Painter
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Mickey Mansell
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 James Wade
Darren Webster 6-5 Steve Beaton
Christian Kist 6-1 Justin Pipe
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Stephen Bunting
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Darren Webster
Christian Kist 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Christian Kist