Luke Humphries followed up an astonishing whitewash of Michael van Gerwen with an emphatic victory over Martin Lukeman to clinch his first European Tour title at the German Darts Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old captured his first Players Championship title earlier this year, and he continued his breakthrough campaign to scoop the £25,000 top prize in Munich.
Lukeman was the surprise package of the Easter weekend in Germany, but he was unable to land his first PDC ranking title, succumbing 8-2 to Humphries in Monday’s showpiece.
There was little to separate the pair in the opening exchanges, but Humphries’ scoring power proved decisive, with the world No 17 reeling off five consecutive legs to triumph with a 92.07 average and three maximums.
‘Cool Hand’ capitalised on an edgy start from Lukeman by racing into a 2-0 lead, but he spurned a golden opportunity to extend his cushion, frittering away five darts at double in leg three.
The Newbury arrowsmith restored his two-leg buffer with a 14-darter, only for Lukeman to halve the deficit in leg five, after Humphries missed tops for a 118 outshot.
However, Lukeman was left to rue squandering three darts to hold throw in leg seven, and Humphries soon stamped his authority on proceedings, registering legs of 15, 17, 16, 15 and 19 darts to secure the biggest ranking title of his career.
This means the world for me and I’m absolutely over the moon with this win,” said Humphries, who is closing in on a place in the world’s top 16. “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done in darts.
“It’s been a gruelling, long day and I’ve worked hard. I hit three hundred averages to get myself into the final.
“I think I deserved it but you don’t always get what you deserve in life. I’ve got a ProTour title, a Euro Tour title and the next one’s a major, isn’t it?”
Humphries began Sunday’s action with an impressive 6-3 victory over World Championship runner-up Michael Smith, defying a 102 average from ‘Bully Boy’ to prevail with a 101.5 average and four 180s.
The former World Youth champion then edged out emerging Dutchman Wesley Plaisier in a thrilling quarter-final showdown, which featured magnificent finishing from both players.
‘Cool Hand’ converted clinical 108, 116 and 125 finishes to establish a 5-3 lead, while the Dutchman only missed a solitary dart at double himself, but Humphries held his nerve to seal the deal with a two-dart 71 kill in a decider.
This set up a semi-final showdown against a seemingly irrepressible Michael van Gerwen, who posted 106, 103 and 102 averages across the weekend to continue his bid for a 34th European Tour title.
Van Gerwen was yet to taste defeat at this event, but he was blown away by a blistering Humphries display, with the former UK Open finalist averaging 107.36 to inflict MvG’s heaviest defeat in European Tour history.
Humphries drew first blood with a 109 finish after Van Gerwen spurned a dart at double 16, and this was the only opportunity afforded to ‘Mighty Mike’ on the outer ring, with the Englishman firing in legs of 15, 15, 14, 12, 11, 14 and 17 darts to triumph in sensational style.
Lukeman was punished for a below-par performance in Monday’s finale, but he continued his remarkable ascent up the darting pyramid by claiming the biggest payday of his career.
The 37-year-old came through a deciding-leg tussle against UK Open semi-finalist Keane Barry in Monday’s curtain-raiser, before dumping out home hero Martin Schindler in an entertaining quarter-final clash.
‘The Wall’ averaged 109.24 in a 6-1 demolition of Ryan Searle to reach the last eight, but he was unable to replicate those heroics against ‘Smash’, who averaged 98.35, crashed in four 180s and pinned 55% of his attempts at double to complete a 6-4 success.
Lukeman later accounted for Australian No 1 Damon Heta in the semi-finals, denying ‘The Heat’ a place in his maiden European Tour final.
Heta defeated the decorated trio of Raymond van Barneveld, Scott Waites and Jonny Clayton to reach the last four, but a majestic 125 finish on the bullseye from Lukeman inspired him to a landmark 7-5 win.
Elsewhere in Munich, former World Youth champion Keegan Brown was among the quarter-finalists, with Plaisier, Premier League holder Clayton and German No 2 Schindler also bowing out in the last eight.
Image: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe
2022 Interwetten German Darts Grand Prix
Monday April 18
Martin Lukeman 6-5 Keane Barry
Martin Schindler 6-1 Ryan Searle
Damon Heta 6-3 Scott Waites
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Max Hopp
Keegan Brown 6-4 Madars Razma
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Rob Cross
Luke Humphries 6-3 Michael Smith
Wesley Plaisier 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Martin Lukeman 6-4 Martin Schindler
Damon Heta 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Keegan Brown
Luke Humphries 6-5 Wesley Plaisier
Martin Lukeman 7-5 Damon Heta
Luke Humphries 7-0 Michael van Gerwen
Luke Humphries 8-2 Martin Lukeman