Daryl Gurney claimed the World Grand Prix and a cool £100,000 in the process.
The tournament, which took place in Dublin for the past week, was hit with the absences of the retiring Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson, who’s wife was expecting a child. There were no less thrills at the Citywest Hotel as a result, however.
Defending champion and tournament favourite Michael van Gerwen shockingly went out in the first round to the unheralded John Henderson, blowing the tournament wide open. In MVG’s half of the draw was Northern Irishman Daryl Gurney, who had threatened to win a big event for the past year with his steadily impressive form.
The 31-year-old finished runner up at the US Darts Masters in July, but on home soil he would go one better.
Having dispatched of two-time world champion Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen, 2015 Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton, and John Henderson in the semi-finals, Gurney was matched up against Simon Whitlock in the Saturday night final. The double-start format seemed to suit him.
Gurney hit 111 starting doubles with 206 darts (53.9%) in the 2017 GP. That's absurd. When MvG destroyed everyone in 2016, he only did 50.3%
— Christopher Kempf (@ochepedia) October 7, 2017
After a nervy start for both players, the game gave way to some tense action, as Whitlock took a two sets to one lead. Gurney recovered to win the fourth, but followed that up with a controversial brush against his opponent, earning him a warning from the referee and much criticism.
Disgraceful from Gurney. Lost all respect for him #darts #Unibet180 pic.twitter.com/mXYzDB2VrJ
— Thomas O'Connell (@thomasoc2012) October 7, 2017
Gurney appears to have had an official warning given by the PDC……Ridiculous, should have been a fine!
— PDC FloorTournaments (@PDConthefloor) October 7, 2017
Despite the tension, which saw a raucous crowd boo him loudly on occasion, Gurney bounced back from a 4-3 deficit in sets to level it up ahead of the ninth and final set. Some fine checkouts from him, coupled with a loss in form from Whitlock, saw ‘Superchin’ take the final set 3-1 in legs to claim the prestigious title, in a win that brings him to world number six – his highest ranking to date.
? Daryl Gurney lifts his trophy high in front of the Dublin crowd ?#Unibet180 pic.twitter.com/kVHNrljE0j
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) October 7, 2017
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