Double delight as Price goes back to back in Hildesheim
The Welshman defeated Josh Rock in Saturday’s showpiece, and he then defeated Van Veen, another of the game’s brightest young talents, to round off a superb weekend at Halle 39.
Price fought his way through the 128-player field to win his fifth title of 2023, conserving his best performances for the last stages to take home the £12,000 first prize.
In the opening exchanges, Van Veen missed darts at double for 130 and 120 combinations, and he was punished by a ruthless Price, who converted two-dart 84 and 88 checkouts to establish an early buffer.
The Dutchman then took advantage of Price’s mistakes to open his account in leg four, but Price rallied by winning the following five legs without reply to secure a convincing triumph.
“Gian is a great player. He missed a couple of chances, and I didn’t let him off in that game,” admitted Price, the first player in 2023 to win back-to-back ProTour titles.
“My game wasn’t the best apart from a couple of games at the end. I was scoring well all day, missing loads of doubles but getting away with it.
“I would rather play really well, even if I lose sometimes. Scraping games doesn’t give you that much confidence, but winning is what matters.
“If I’m winning tournaments when I’m playing my C-game, when my A-game comes out, hopefully that’s good enough as well, because some people turn me over when I’m playing my best!
“When there are ranking points at stake, it means a little bit more, and luck was on my side this weekend.”
Price demonstrated his tenacity in early victories over Jimmy Hendriks and Pascal Rupprecht before rallying from 5-4 down to defeat Ireland’s Keane Barry with a 99 average.
The 2021 World Champion then cruised through to the Event 18 final, surrendering only three legs in his next three encounters.
Price cruised over James Wade in a tough last 16 match, then annihilated a struggling Rob Cross in the quarter-finals and maintained his charge with a 7-2 thrashing of Stephen Bunting in the final four.
Price won ten consecutive legs in this three-game span, average over 102, to defeat Bunting and set up a meeting with World Youth finalist Van Veen.
The rising Dutchman continued his ascent, earning a spot in his second PDC ranking final with some electrifying efforts in the afternoon’s final stages.
In a dramatic opening round tie, the 21-year-old battled a ton-plus average from Saturday’s semi-finalist Ritchie Edhouse, which he followed with wins against Rowby-John Rodriguez and Gabriel Clemens.
Van Veen continued his charge, defeating Ian White in the last 16, before defeating Jeffrey de Zwaan and Joe Cullen in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, with averages of 106 and 105.
Cullen, the sixth seed, knocked out Australian legend Simon Whitlock and UK Open champion Andrew Gilding on his way to the semi-finals, which also included a whitewash win against Darryl Pilgrim.
Meanwhile, Bunting advanced to the final four by winning deciding-leg matches against Robert Grundy and Daryl Gurney, which he followed with victories over Ryan Meikle and Richard Veenstra.
Veenstra was joined in the last eight by compatriot De Zwaan, with Challenge Tour star Pilgrim and fifth seed Cross rounding off the Hildesheim quarter-finals.
The 2023 PDC ProTour season resumes next month, with Players Championships 19-21 scheduled for September 3-5 at the Barnsley Metrodome.
2023 Players Championship 18
Sunday August 27
Halle 39, Hildesheim
Stephen Bunting 6-4 Ryan Meikle
Richard Veenstra 6-5 Tony Martinez
Gerwyn Price 6-1 James Wade
Rob Cross 6-1 Ricky Evans
Gian van Veen 6-2 Ian White
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-1 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Darryl Pilgrim 6-5 Cam Crabtree
Joe Cullen 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Richard Veenstra
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Rob Cross
Gian van Veen 6-2 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Joe Cullen 6-0 Darryl Pilgrim
Gerwyn Price 7-2 Stephen Bunting
Gian van Veen 7-1 Joe Cullen
Gerwyn Price 8-1 Gian van Veen