February 5, 2024 - Brilliant Bunting Wins The Masters

A Week In Darts – February 5, 2024 – Landmark Masters Title For Bunting

A new name was added to the list of PDC major winners as Stephen Bunting lifted the Masters title on Sunday night. Elsewhere, Michael Smith was the champion of Night One at the Premier League in Cardiff. Read our round-up of last week’s darts action in the latest ‘A Week In Darts’.

BUNTING TOPPLES VAN GERWEN FOR MASTERS WIN

Stephen Bunting clinched his first PDC televised title with a stunning victory in the Masters in Milton Keynes at the weekend.

The 2014 BDO world champion was appearing in his first major final in the PDC, as wins against Ross Smith, Luke Humphries, Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall took him through to Sunday’s showpiece decider.

‘The Bullet’ averaged 102 and hit eight 180s as he defeated Michael van Gerwen 11-7 in the final to pocket the £65,000 top prize at the Marshall Arena.

“I’m lost for words,” Bunting said. “To do it in front of a crowd that were chanting my name from the minute I stepped foot in Milton Keynes means so much to me.

“I’m really happy. This just shows my hard work is paying off, and it’s a great start to the season. Hopefully I can push on from this.

“My main aim when I moved over from the BDO was to win big titles, but you’re playing the best of the best, and you’re going to be pushed all the way.”

For runner-up van Gerwen, who was looking to win a record-extending sixth Masters crown, his last success in the tournament remains back in 2019, when he had landed the title for a fifth year on the spin.

“Fair play to Stephen, he played really well throughout the tournament,” the Dutchman reflected.

“He kept producing the 140s and he put me under a lot of pressure. He has worked really hard for this, and it’s a nice moment for him.

“I know I can do a lot better, but I want to give Stephen the credit because he had a really good tournament.”

PERFECT START FOR SMITH IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Michael Smith was the opening night champion as the new Premier League season got under way in Cardiff on Thursday night.

The 2023 PDC world champion picked up wins against Michael van Gerwen (6-5), Luke Littler (6-5) and Gerwyn Price (6-2) to pick up the full five points and set the early pace at the top of the table.

“I’m really happy to win,” Smith said. “My game wasn’t where I would love it to be, but winning is winning and I love to do it.

“I think night 15 in last year’s Premier League was my last win on tour, so after six months of hard work, it does feel really satisfying to get that momentum going again.

“My scoring wasn’t at its best, but I was putting everything together at the right time, when I need it the most, and that was my statement to myself tonight.”

Cardiff’s Utilita Arena was the first stop of this year’s Premier League, which is held over 17 consecutive Thursday nights in arenas across the UK and Europe.

The tournament continues with night two at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, in Berlin, where Smith and Price will face off again in the second quarter-final of the night.

DUTCH DELIGHT FOR BOTTENBERG

Jarno Bottenberg took out a stunning 131 finish to win the Dutch Open men’s title in Assen on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Dutchman finished the match-winning checkout with a treble 17 and two double tops to edge past World Masters champion Wesley Plaisier 3-2 in the final.

The largest open tournament in world darts attracted a combined field of more than 3,800 players across all of the events held at De Bonte Wever, with Bottenberg winning 11 matches to clinch the men’s singles title.

It was a first WDF ranking title for Bottenberg, who first appeared in the recent WDF World Championships at Lakeside after winning through the qualifiers in the same venue a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Beau Greaves reclaimed the women’s singles title with a 5-1 victory against home favourite Aileen de Graaf in the final.

The reigning back-to-back Lakeside champion had lost 5-2 to de Graaf in last year’s decider, but avenged that defeat to pick up her second Dutch Open singles title, following her maiden success in 2022.

Pictures: PDC

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