Stephen Bunting produced a sensational day one of the PDC Super Series to win his first title since 2016.
The Bullet won just his third ever title, coming through a day where he was hardly challenged. He eventually beat Betfred World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh 8-4 to take home the trophy.
It also means that he will return to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, reaching the Matchplay for the seventh time in eight years.
Brilliant Bunting wins title
The Bullet’s run to the Players Championship 17 final was reasonably simple. Comfortable wins over Martin Lukeman, Sean Fisher and Aaron Beeney saw him win his board, before a tight 6-4 win against Ritchie Edhouse in the last 16. He then easily saw off Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter finals, before another tight win, this time against Gerwyn Price, saw him reach the final. It also gave Bunting a bit of revenge for Price beating him in the World Championship semi final earlier this year.
Van den Bergh averaged over 100 in every game bar one to earn his place in the final. After coming through a last leg decider against Peter Jacques, back to back 6-1 wins against Josh Payne and Keane Barry got him into the last 16. He then beat Vincent van der Voort averaging 97, before two straight 103 averages, against Brendan Dolan in the quarter final, and then Jose De Sousa in the semi final, set up the clash with the Bullet.
Both players held in the opening leg of the final, but then Bunting took control. In 46 darts, he’d won three legs, and moved halfway to the finish line. Both players then held in 20 darts, before The Bullet went inside on double 12 for what would have been a nine dart leg. In the end, he settled for a 10 darter, as it increased his lead to 6-2.
Van den Bergh though would not go down without a fight however. He cut the deficit to 6-4 in just 28 darts, but missed a chance to move within one in the 11th. This allowed Bunting, who’d missed leg darts the previous visit, to find double 10 for a 16 darter and remain three clear. A 180 from The Bullet left on 64 after 12 in the next leg, and despite The Dream Maker hitting a maximum to leave double 10, Bunting found tops to check out 64 and take home the PC17 victory.
What else happened on day one of the PDC Super Series?
Despite losing to Van den Bergh, it was still a good day for De Sousa. After getting a bye into round two, wins over Adam Hunt and Steve Brown saw him win his board. He then comfortably defeated both Maik Kuivenhoven and Mervyn King to make the semi finals, before being beaten by The Dream Maker. He will be the number one seed for the action tomorrow.
The Iceman was on fire throughout the majority of the day in Coventry. He averaged a 100 in every win, comfortably defeating Ted Evetts, Matthew Edgar, Florian Hempel and Damon Heta. That set up a mouth watering quarter final against Michael van Gerwen, and despite being 5-2 down, Price fought back to win 6-5 in the first meeting between the pair since the Welshman took the world number one spot off MvG. However, he could not use the momentum of his comeback, losing to Bunting in the last four in a tight contest.
The other big mover of the day was van Barneveld. After hitting a 115.73 to beat Justin Pipe 6-1 in round one, wins over Devon Petersen and Jamie Hughes got him to the last 16. He then beat Chris Dobey 6-3 in round four, before losing to Bunting. He ends the day £4,750 behind the man who occupies the 16th spot, Jermaine Wattimena.
Elsewhere, good runs from Kuivenhoven and Ritchie Edhouse saw them reach the last 16. Beeney’s defeat to Bunting in the last 32 came after knocking out number one seed Joe Cullen in round two.