Gerwyn Price secured his fourth European Tour title after completing a sensational 8-2 victory over Michael Smith in Sunday’s Hungarian Darts Trophy final in Budapest.
The PDC’s inaugural visit to Hungary proved to be a roaring success, as bumper crowds enjoyed three enthralling days of action at the Papp Laszlo Arena, although it was Price who claimed the £25,000 top prize with a devastating display in Sunday’s showpiece.
The world No 1 underlined his status as the premier player in world darts – averaging 108.74 and firing in four maximums to inflict a crushing defeat on Smith, who was rendered helpless in the face of Price’ brilliance.
The Welshman made a blistering start; racing into a 2-0 lead with consecutive 12-dart legs, the second of which came courtesy of a majestic 130 checkout on the bullseye.
Price missed a dart at double two for an unconventional 112 kill which would have extended his lead to 3-0, and the world champion spurned a further three darts at double in leg four, which enabled Smith to restore parity at two apiece.
‘The Iceman’ was undeterred, however. He restored his cushion with a third 12-darter, before sealing total control with three successive 14-dart legs, featuring clinical 84 and 75 combination finishes.
The 36-year-old was finding the treble 20 with unerring regularity, leaving 54 after nine darts before moving to the cusp of victory with a fourth straight 14-darter, and despite squandering three match darts in leg ten, he returned to wrap up a comprehensive 8-2 win via double 10, after Smith was unable to capitalise on his opponent’s rare error.
“It was a hostile reception on the first day but I appreciate the support today, everyone’s been fantastic,” Price reflected post-match.
“I played with my old darts and they seemed to work so I don’t know why I changed. I played my best stuff in the Semis and final,” added the five-time major winner.
Having recovered from 4-2 adrift to defeat Richard Veenstra in his opener on Saturday, the Welshman reaffirmed his powers of recovery in his last 16 clash against Damon Heta, reeling off three consecutive legs from 4-3 down, converting 112, 100 and 99 finishes in the latter stages.
This set up a quarter-final showdown against Brendan Dolan, who dumped out Michael van Gerwen earlier in the afternoon. However, ‘The History Maker’ was unable to claim another prized scalp, as Price converted 67 per cent of his attempts at double to prevail 6-4 in a scrappy affair.
Price was nowhere near his blistering best for much of the tournament, but when it mattered, the world No 1 came alive, posting a 107.21 average in his 7-3 semi-final success over UK Open finalist Luke Humphries.
‘Cool Hand’ dispatched ten-time major winner James Wade 6-2 to advance to the last eight, before recording a 6-4 victory over top seed Joe Cullen to reach a first European Tour semi-final.
Price stormed 6-1 ahead in their semi-final clash, featuring successive 11-darters midway through proceedings. Humphries responded by registering three legs without reply to threaten an extraordinary comeback, although ‘The Iceman’ kept his cool, sealing his progression with a spectacular 134 checkout.
Smith produced a series of sparkling displays to reach his tenth European Tour final, before succumbing to an inspired Price in a high-quality finale.
‘Bully Boy’ eased past Keane Barry to complete a 6-2 win in the last 16, and he defeated World Matchplay champion Peter Wright by the same scoreline to secure his semi-final spot.
The St Helen’s star was pitted against Premier League finalist Jose De Sousa in a topsy-turvy semi-final tussle, which saw Smith fire in legs of 15 and 14 darts in the closing stages to account for ‘The Special One’.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2021 Hungarian Darts Trophy
Sunday September 5
Joe Cullen 6-4 Rob Cross
Luke Humphries 6-2 James Wade
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Damon Heta
José de Sousa 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Adam Gawlas 6-2 Lewis Williams
Peter Wright (Bye)
Michael Smith 6-2 Keane Barry
Luke Humphries 6-4 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Jose de Sousa 6-5 Adam Gawlas
Michael Smith 6-2 Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price 7-4 Luke Humphries
Michael Smith 7-5 Jose de Sousa
Gerwyn Price 8-2 Michael Smith