Jermaine Wattimena will feature in Wednesday’s Unibet Home Tour Group 20 after Jeffrey de Zwaan withdrew due to a shoulder injury.
De Zwaan, a former World Matchplay semi-finalist, will undergo minor surgery to address a long-standing shoulder problem which has been causing pain.
As a result, the 24-year-old will not take part in the home-staged tournament as he looks to focus on making a full recovery as quickly as possible.
De Zwaan’s place will be taken by fellow-Dutchman Wattimena, with the world number 24 set to star alongside three-time PDC ranking event winner Joe Cullen in a stellar night of Home Tour action.
Group 20 will also feature emerging Scottish talent Ryan Murray, while experienced John Michael will dial into the live broadcast from Greece.
Group 20 Fixtures Wednesday May 6 Joe Cullen v Ryan Murray Jermaine Wattimena v John Michael Ryan Murray v John Michael Joe Cullen v Jermaine Wattimena Jermaine Watimena v Ryan Murray John Michael v Joe Cullen
Moving further and further through, the calendar, we find that events become more frequent. This Week (22nd-28th March) features the debut of a, fondly remembered, TV event – from almost forty years ago -, The rise of the first darting ‘Iceman’ and The Power being unplugged.
38 Years Ago:
Featured he first holding of the legendary Double Diamond Masters. In many minds the darts event is more kindly thought of than the beer! The first winner was Ken Stringer, a player whom we know little about (perhaps our readers can provide some colour?) Ken defeated Sandy Pattinson, in the trophy match, while Northern Ireland’s Steve Brennan and Peter Locke, of Wales, were beaten semi finalists.
Both Brennan and Locke were far more storied names and went on to reach World Championship Qtr finlas. Perhaps the DD Masters was just one of those events. A couple of years later the DD would feature the TV debut of a darting legend who is still at the top of the game today!
Another bit of trivia to note: None of the big four legends of that golden era Bristow, Lowe, Wilson or Anderson ever claimed the Double Diamond!
22 Years Ago:
Alan Warriner-Little collected to the German Open title. The original ‘Iceman’ added the crown to the Dutch Open, that he had already claimed, in a very impressive start to 1998. At that time many events were open to non PDC players, especially those held under the banner of the WDF (effectively simply accredited by the PDC for rankings and opportunity for their players.) Robbie Widdows was the defeated finalist with Roland Scholten and John Walton reaching the last four.
Warriner-Little had a very strong year in ’98. After his strong start he went on to reach the final of the World Masters. He claimed the English Open title he reached multiple later stages, and indeed finals, of WDF & PDC events. The climax of the season saw him reach the last four of the PDC World Championship, his best result at the event, early in 1999.
12 Years Ago:
Featured a Pro Tour victory for Mark ‘Special Brew’ Walsh. Walshie is sometimes overlooked and not given full credit for what he has achieved in darts. In, and around, 2009 Phil Taylor was cleaning up most events in which he chose to take part. When other players claimed wins or title sit was often because Phil was not in the event, or had been defeated by someone else, Mark was an exception to this. The Pro Tour win, from March 28th 2008, featured a superb 6-4 final win over The Power. He went on to a very successful year claiming a total of four Pro Tour events in a ‘Powerful era’.
Walsh has been a major finalist, reached the later stages of most PDC majors, and battled back from dartitis to (again) reach the top of his profession. ‘Special Brew’ indeed.
This Week’s Birthday:
Jeffrey De Zwann is turns 24 this week. The ‘Black Cobra’ seems to have been around a lot longer than he age would imply. But, then again, he did win a World Youth Championship as far back as 2012.
I first recall seeing him play during the 2015 UK Open. He was defeated by Benito van de Pas, but at no time did he look ruffled and played pretty well. De Zwann has gone on to much better things since. The Unicorn man has won titles, within the PDC, at both development and Pro Tour level as well as reaching the Semi Finals of The World Matchplay. He is currently ranked just outside the PDC’s top twenty and will be looking to rise further when ‘hostilities’ resume. Many Happy Returns!
Ahead of the Ladbrokes UK Open which gets underway in Minehead later today, young Dutch star Jeffrey de Zwaan has penned a new long-term contract with Unicorn Darts.
Rising star de Zwaan who turns 24 at the end of this month, is tipped by many to make his way to the very top of the game and has already climbed upto World no.20 in just over two years after regaining his PDC Tour card at European Q-School.
JDZ showcased his undoubted potential during the recent World Championship at Alexandra Palace averaging a blistering 106.09 whilst defeating Dave Chisnall and then narrowly losing out to eventual World Champion Peter Wright 4-3 in the Last 16, after battling back valiantly from three sets to nil down.
The talented Dutchman who has become a regular in TV events, will once again play a part in this year’s Premier League as a ‘Challenger’ on his home soil at Rotterdam Ahoy, where he will look to gain revenge over Wright for that World Championship defeat.
Claiming a maiden PDC European Tour title is at the forefront of de Zwaan’s mind, whilst he has his sights set on a place in the World’s Top 16 and is also striving for a coverted place in the Netherlands World Cup of Darts team come June in Hamburg. He certainly has the ability and belief to do just that.
De Zwaan is delighted with the new deal ‘’I am honoured to sign a new contract with Unicorn. To be a part of such a big family company gives me a great feeling especially with the full support and backing they always give me. I am very excited for the future’’.
Player Liaison Manager Matt Rankin added “Spending time with Jeffrey and his management team in Holland earlier this week was an absolute pleasure and to conclude a deal which sees him remain with Unicorn for years to come, really is great news. JDZ is a supreme talent”.
Along with the new contract, Jeffrey will be promoted within Team Unicorn to our Maestro selection of players, where he will join Ian White, Joe Cullen & Seigo Asada. The promotion will fall in line with our 2021 range launch later this year, where a new portfolio of Jeffrey de Zwaan products will be released for sale.
The nine Challengers who will feature in the opening nine nights of the 2020 Unibet Premier League have been confirmed.
In a return to last year’s popular format, nine players will compete under the re-branded ‘Challengers‘ banner, with John Henderson and Fallon Sherrock already confirmed as guest players for the opening two nights.
Scottish crowd favourite Henderson is set to get the campaign off to a bang at the new P&J Live in Aberdeen, before history-maker Sherrock becomes the first woman to star in the Premier League in Nottingham.
The Premier League roadshow then rolls on to Cardiff and Dublin where Welsh number two Jonny Clayton and Irish World Cup runner-up William O’Connor will make their Premier League debuts respectively.
World Youth Champion Luke Humphries will feature in Exeter, while Merseyside man Stephen Bunting will make his Premier League comeback in Liverpool.
Two-time televised semi-finalist Chris Dobey will hope to enjoy another memorable night in Newcastle, before Dutch duo Jeffrey de Zwaan and Jermaine Wattimena entertain the sea of orange in Rotterdam.
Points won by Challengers will not count towards the league table, however their opponents will retain any points gained from the matches. Challengers will receive financial bonuses for winning or drawing their matches.
Following the opening nine nights of fixtures, the player placed ninth on the Premier League table following Judgement Night in Rotterdam on March 26 will be eliminated from the competition.
The remaining eight players will then battle it out from Nights Ten to 16 in the race to win places in the Play-Offs at The O2 on Thursday May 21, with newly-crowned World Champion Peter Wright and world number one Michael van Gerwen among the regular nine players.
Fans in Belfast and Glasgow will also have the chance to welcome home local heroes in Daryl Gurney, Gary Anderson and Wright, while Gerwyn Price will entertain a passionate Welsh crowd in Cardiff.
Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant are the new additions to the Premier League line-up in 2020, while former finalists Rob Cross and Michael Smith are among the returning stars.
The 2020 Unibet Premier League will be played from February 6 – May 21 2020 at venues across Europe.
The tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
2020 Unibet Premier League field Michael van Gerwen Peter Wright Gerwyn Price Rob Cross Michael Smith Gary Anderson Daryl Gurney Nathan Aspinall Glen Durrant
2020 Unibet Premier League Challengers John Henderson (Aberdeen, Night One) Fallon Sherrock (Nottingham, Night Two) Jonny Clayton (Cardiff, Night Three) William O’Connor (Dublin, Night Four) Luke Humphries (Exeter, Night Five) Stephen Bunting (Liverpool, Night Six) Chris Dobey (Newcastle, Night Seven) Jeffrey de Zwaan (Rotterdam, Night Eight) Jermaine Wattimena (Rotterdam, Night Nine)
We are at that magical time of year again, a new PDC World Darts Champion has been crowned, many congratulations to Peter Wright, a deserving and popular winner. The Premier League players have also been announced and again this year they will be joined by Nine Challengers.
The first two of these players are John Henderson who will star on the opening night in Aberdeen and the new Queen of The Alexandra Palace Fallon Sherrock who has been rewarded for her outstanding victories and performances at ‘The Ally Pally.
So here’s the challenge, who else will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents on the Premier League stage. Pick seven player and one ‘popular choice’ and leave them in the comments or via our social media channels. A prize and bragging rights to whoever gets closest!
I’m going to throw my seven players out there who I think have a chance and more importantly deserve the opportunity, plus one more who could well be a popular addition.
Let’s start with the ‘Popular Choice’ or ‘Housewives Choice’ ! Wouldn’t it be something to see the legend, the Bronzed Adonis himself, Mr Steve Beaton be rewarded for his sheer longevity and dedication to the sport at the highest level, 29 consecutive World Championship appearances and still World Ranked in the top 32 of the PDC rankings. I’m pretty sure Steve would love that one time Premier League Walk-On.
So who will be the other Challengers, it’s certainly a difficult ask to predict all seven selections. I’m not a believer in just picking a ‘Home’ player like a Welsh player for the Cardiff week of the League. If they are ‘Challengers’ then let them do just that at whatever venue. The PDC however take a different view and are likely to give some places partly based on this.
I would certainly throw Luke Humphries in there, another Quarter Final reached at the World Championships and the current World Youth Champion. I think with Fallon already selected you have to go with Mikuru Suzuki too, the Ladies BDO World Champion who was within 36 points of winning her opening World Championship match against James Richardson at The Ally Pally.Third pick would be Chris Dobey, he’s certainly moving swiftly up the rankings and has achieved notable placings in PDC majors and again at the 2020 World Championship.
Premier League crowds love a good Walk-On and there’s none better than YMCA !! My Fourth challenger would be Rapid Ricky Evans. Again he’s produced on the biggest stages at home and at the Euro Tour events and is a joy to watch in full flow even though you could miss it if you blink.
Without question Krzysztof Ratajski deserves to be my fifth selection, he’s lifted five PDC Tour titles already and the former Winmau World Master is a threat to anyone on his day and he would most certainly fit the criteria of a ‘Challenger’. Jeffrey de Zwaan would be my next pick. He’s beaten Michael Van Gerwen in a ‘Major’ TV event and has backed that result up in the last 12 months and is a player the ‘Top Guys’ will not relish facing.
My final challenger would be Jermaine Wattimena. A Quarter Finalist at the World Grand and back to back last 16 spots at the UK Open show this likeable Dutchman is moving in the right direction and sits at a career high 23 in the PDC World Rankings. I’m sure to walk on in front of a sell out Rotterdam crowd in the Premier League to possibly face Michael Van Gerwen would be an occasion he wouldn’t forget but also would rise to!
So there we have it, that would be my list of ‘Challengers’. I believe players outside of the top 16 should be classed as Challengers and it gives fans and followers alike the opportunity to see different up and coming players playing at the highest level against the ‘Top Nine’ players. Only time will tell who actually gets the nod, one thing is for sure though, it’s going to be something special. As World Champion Peter Wright would say ‘Let’s Get This Party Started’.
Andy’s 8: Luke Humphries, Mikuru Suzuki, Chris Dobey, Ricky Evans, Krzysztof Ratajski, Jeffrey De Zwaan and Jermaine Wattimena with Steve Beaton as his wildcard choice.
The Wizard’sPicks: W1—Hendo W2— Sherrock, W3—Jonny Clayton, W4—Willy O Conner, W5—Luke Humphries W6—Joe Cullen, W7—Dobey, W8—De zwann , W9—Dimi Van den Berg. Wildcard : Barney in Rotterdam!
AIM: Ian White, Krystztof Ratajaski, Seigo Asada, Max Hopp, Ricky Evans, Gabriel Clemens, Josh Payne. Wildcard: Ted Hankey!
Jacco Krook: L Humphries, Ricky Evans, Chris Dobey, Ratajaski, De Zwaan, O’Conner (Dublin), Wattinena (Rotterdam). Wildcard; Jose De Sousa.
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Andrew Devonshire is a DartsWorld contributor and popular darts and sports writer who has contributed to many publications. Follow him on twitter @A_Devonshire180
Jeffrey de Zwaan produced the highest-quality performance of the 2019/20 William Hill World Darts Championship to defeat Dave Chisnall 4-3 in a gripping contest at London’s Alexandra Palace on Monday, as Gary Anderson and Peter Wright also progressed to the last 16.
Rising Dutch star De Zwaan averaged 106.09, the highest recorded at this year’s event, and hit 53% of his double attempts to reach the last 16 in his third World Championship.
As the pre-Christmas action concluded with six third round ties, De Zwaan’s sparkling display laid down a marker ahead of the three-day break in play.
“It felt amazing to play like that and to beat a great player in Dave Chisnall,” said De Zwaan.
“I wasn’t actually playing that well in practice but the confidence was there on stage and that’s what you must have to beat a player like Dave.
“I know if I play like that all the time I can be World Champion, but I don’t want to think about that yet.
“Darts is all in the moment so you can’t expect to average 106 in every game so we’ll see what happens.”
A match which featured 17 180s saw the opening four sets shared before De Zwaan fired in back-to-back 12-dart legs in the fifth to go 3-2 up.
The pair continued to trade blows as two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Chisnall replied in kind with two 12-dart legs on his way to levelling it back up at 3-3 in sets.
De Zwaan put his foot on the gas in the deciding leg, not allowing Chisnall a dart at double with legs of 14, 10 and 15 darts sealing one of his finest victories.
The 23-year-old will now meet Wright in the last 16 after the former World Championship runner-up saw off Japan’s Seigo Asada 4-2.
Despite winning the opening set, Wright changed his equipment mid-way through the second set but the swap failed to stop Asada levelling the contest.
Wright claimed six of the next nine legs to regain control of the tie, only for Asada to land finishes of 103 and 96 on his way to winning the fifth set to make it 3-2.
Scottish number two Wright found a strong finish to the match with a pair of 15-dart legs, winning it with an 84 checkout.
Wright’s World Cup winning partner Anderson recovered from 3-1 down to defeat Ryan Searle 4-3 and maintain his bid for a hat-trick of World Championship crowns.
Searle, who was looking to reach the last 16 for the second successive year, missed three darts to take the opening set but put that disappointment behind him to take the next three sets for the concession of just three legs.
Following the interval, Anderson was a man on a mission as he won six of the next seven legs to take the match to a deciding set.
With Searle still reeling from the Scotsman’s assault, Anderson took full advantage, winning another three legs without reply to secure his passage into round four.
“When I was 3-1 down I had nothing to lose because Ryan was playing brilliantly so I just went up there and did my thing,” said Anderson, who will meet Nathan Aspinall in the last 16.
“Obviously I’m relieved to win and I can look forward to spending time with family over Christmas and then I can come back ready to go again.
“I wasn’t playing well. Ryan was the better player but I managed to find some form and I’m very happy that I did.”
Fellow two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis made it through to the last 16 for the ninth time in ten World Championships after edging out Darren Webster in one of the most unpredictable games of the tournament.
For the second match in a row, Lewis got off to a slow start and found himself two sets down to a rampant Webster who saved one of his best performances of the year for the big stage.
However, Webster missed three darts at double 12 in the deciding leg of set three, before Lewis followed up a 180 with double 14 to halve the deficit.
The fourth set also went to a deciding leg and once again Webster missed set darts, this time two at double top and double ten as Lewis took out 46 in two darts to level.
Webster regained his composure to win the next set and take a 3-2 lead, before a high-quality set six saw Webster miss a dart at double 12 for a nine-dart finish, only for Lewis to edge it 3-2 to take the tie to a seventh set decider.
With nothing to separate the pair after four legs, the match went to a tie-break, and after Lewis broke throw with a 13-dart leg, he finished the job with a clinical 78 checkout in the next to finally end the epic contest.
“I just did exactly the same as I did in the first round, I got off to a slow start which is what I was trying to avoid,” said Lewis.
“I think the slow starts are just down to the pressure of playing in this environment, it’s the biggest stage in the sport.
“Every time I started to play well he followed me, and when I dropped off he did the same.
“Full credit to Darren, I thought he was awesome. That was one of the best games I’ve ever been involved in.
“I’m fighting as best I can do and we’ll see where it takes me.”
Lewis will now face Belgium’s number one Dimitri Van den Bergh, who moved one win away from a second quarter-final appearance in three years after battling his way to a 4-2 win over Luke Woodhouse.
Two-time World Youth Champion Van den Bergh started quickest as he landed a 128 checkout, the first of six ton-plus finishes in the match, on his way to a 2-0 lead in sets.
An under-the-weather Woodhouse fought back, winning two of the next three sets to make it 3-2, but after taking a 2-0 lead in the next set he missed two set darts at double 16, allowing Van den Bergh to land an 86 finish to win it.
Reigning World Youth Champion Luke Humphries continued his bid for back-to-back quarter-final appearances with a hard-fought victory over emerging German talent Nico Kurz.
The first four sets were shared before Humphries pinned double one to clinch the pivotal fifth set after surprise package Kurz had missed a dart at tops to take it.
Kurz, the last German player in the tournament, landed a 131 checkout to stay alive after losing the first two legs in set six, but his hopes were short-lived as Humphries fired in a 13-darter to set up a fifth round meeting with Kim Huybrechts.
The William Hill World Championship continues on Friday December 27 following a three-day Christmas break, with two sessions of third and fourth round action, as Fallon Sherrock looks to continue her fairytale run against Chris Dobey in the afternoon session, before Michael van Gerwen and Anderson feature in the evening.
Day 12 will be broadcast live on the Sky Sports Darts channel and through NOW TV in the UK, on PDCTV-HD for Rest of the World Subscribers and through the PDC’s worldwide broadcast partners including DAZN and RTL7.
William Hill World Darts Championship Monday December 23 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) 3x Third Round Luke Humphries 4-2 Nico Kurz Adrian Lewis 4-3 Darren Webster Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-2 Luke Woodhouse
Evening Session (1900 GMT) 3x Third Round Jeffrey de Zwaan 4-3 Dave Chisnall Gary Anderson 4-3 Ryan Searle Peter Wright 4-2 Seigo Asada
Friday December 27 Afternoon Session (1230 GMT) 3x Third Round Simon Whitlock v Mervyn King Daryl Gurney v Glen Durrant Fallon Sherrock v Chris Dobey
Evening Session (1900 GMT) 1x Third Round Gerwyn Price v John Henderson 2x Fourth Round Gary Anderson v Nathan Aspinall Michael van Gerwen v Stephen Bunting
Gerwyn Price produced a sensational comeback to recover from 5-0 down to beat Nathan Aspinall 10-6 on day three of the Unibet European Championship.
The Grand Slam champion booked his place in the last eight of the competition averaging 103.85, defying a superb opening salvo from his English opponent to progress.
The game started with Aspinall racing in to a 5-0 lead to take control of the match and put himself in a position to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Championship for the first time.
The interval seemed to come at a good time for Price, who gathered himself and began what would become an incredible comeback win.
The Welshman strung together five consecutive legs to level the tie before Aspinall got back on track with a hold of throw to lead 6-5.
The crucial moment of the match came in the 15th leg when having already missed two darts to go within a leg of Price, Aspinall had to stand and watch as his opponent took out 132 on the bull to move within a leg of the match.
Price’s passage to the last eight was then complete as he took out 24 on double 12 to secure a massive win.
“When you’re 5-0 down you just think to yourself ‘try to win a leg or two to make the score look decent,’” Price admitted
“So when I got it back to 5-5 I didn’t even care about losing because I was just happy it was going to be a respectable score. I think the 132 to go 9-6 up won me the match.
“If Wales can win the Rugby World Cup semi-final tomorrow morning and I can win this tournament tomorrow night I will be a very happy man!”
The Welshman will now face Vincent van der Voort after the first game of the evening saw the Dutchman punish Chris Dobey for missing 17 darts at doubles, and secure a 10-5 win to progress to his first televised ranking quarter-final in over four years.
The former UK Open finalist kept his opponent at arm’s length throughout the encounter and finished with an average of 96.63, hitting 45% of his attempts at doubles.
“In August I was debating whether to carry on playing, I had a long talk with Michael [van Gerwen] about it and he encouraged me not to give up,” Van der Voort revealed.
“So I decided that for these next five years I’m going to give it everything I’ve got to get myself back to the top.
“Before I was just turning up and playing, now I’m here because I want to win and perform.”
Michael Smith’s quest to claim a first televised ranking title will roll on to Sunday as the world number four claimed a 10-7 win over Stephen Bunting.
Smith hit the front early on, racing into a 3-0 lead and hitting a 158 finish before Bunting reduced the deficit to just one at the first break.
The World Matchplay finalist then moved into a 9-5 lead where he looked set to secure the win, before accidentally swallowing some ice, which appeared to slow his charge.
A tops-tops 100 finish did eventually get Smith over the line though and he will face Jeffrey de Zwaan in the last eight.
“I felt good and all of a sudden I swallowed a bit of ice when I was having a drink, my eyes were watering whilst I was trying to take out 96,” joked Smith after the game.
“I’m just happy to get the win, that’s the most important thing and I’m still going for tomorrow.”
The win sets up a quarter-final clash with Jeffrey de Zwaan, after the Dutchman overcame his fellow countryman Jermaine Wattimena in a 10-6 success.
Six 180s and over 50% on his finishing saw the 23-year-old qualified for his first televised quarter-final since the World Matchplay in 2018.
The meeting with Smith will be only their second televised clash, with the Englishman winning the first match at the World Championship in 2015.
“It was a really tough game, we are from the same country so I really wanted to beat him,” said De Zwaan after his win over Wattimena.
“I lost my first World Championship match against Michael Smith, but I have a good record against him since then so I will do my best and see what happens.”
The 2019 Unibet European Championship will conclude on Sunday with the quarter-finals taking place during the afternoon session, with the evening playing host to the semi’s and final where a new European champion will be crowned.
Saturday October 26 Evening Session Second Round x4 Vincent dan der Voort 10-5 Chris Dobey Michael Smith 10-7 Stephen Bunting Gerwyn Price 10-6 Nathan Aspinall Jeffrey de Zwaan 10-6 Jermaine Wattimena
Sunday October 27 (1245 local time, 1145 GMT) Afternoon Session Quarter-Finals Ricky Evans v Rob Cross Dave Chisnall v Daryl Gurney Michael Smith v Jeffrey de Zwaan Vincent van der Voort v Gerwyn Price
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT) Semi-Finals & Final
JEFFREY DE ZWAAN captured his second Players Championship title with a brilliant 8-2 win over Stephen Bunting in Wednesday’s Event 14 final in Barnsley.
De Zwaan won his maiden senior title in March 2018 and went on to reach the World Matchplay semi-finals during a breakthrough year.
Having also competed as a Premier League Contender in 2019, De Zwaan has followed up his run to a ProTour final last month by going all the way to claim the £10,000 title at the Barnsley Metrodome.
The Dutchman was in superb form throughout the day, averaging over 100 in five out of six matches on his way to the final, including a 106.5 average in his third round defeat of World Championship finalist Michael Smith.
He also overcame Dave Chisnall and World Championship quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce before averaging almost 104 in his 7-3 semi-final win over former World Youth Champion Arron Monk.
Bunting had also been in fine form as he landed ton-plus averages against Jamie Lewis, Corey Cadby and Jelle Klaasen, while he also saw off Jamie Hughes and Joe Cullen.
The former Lakeside Champion then came back from 5-2 down in his semi-final against Darius Labanauskas to win 7-5.
De Zwaan raced into a 4-0 lead in the final, with his run including two 11-darters as he broke Bunting’s throw to take command.
Bunting hit back in leg five on double 16, but missed his chance to battle back further as tops restored De Zwaan’s cushion at 5-1 and double ten moved the 23-year-old five legs clear.
Bunting responded again in leg eight with a match-high 114 checkout, but De Zwaan landed three 134 scores on his way to a 7-2 lead before taking out 107 for a 12-darter to seal the title in style.
“I played really well today – the feeling was that I was flying, every dart I was throwing was going straight in and that’s a great feeling,” said De Zwaan, who moves up to 36th on the PDC Order of Merit.
“I’m happy with the win. I’m feeling good, my confidence is there and the darts are going great and I’m really happy.”
De Zwaan was a winner on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour last month, and believes that his form is back to that which took him to the World Matchplay semi-finals last July.
“The Development Tour is a really good opportunity to grow in the PDC circuit,” he added.
“In the first tournament I played seven games with a 100 average, and it’s also a great opportunity to grow and get confidence as well.
“Last year I reached the semi-final of the World Matchplay and the pressure grows on you. Now I’ve learned how that feels and I’m dealing with the pressure and playing well again.”
Bunting had won through to his first ProTour final for over 18 months with his form on the day, surpassing a quarter-final appearance on the European Tour in March with Wednesday’s run.
Monk enjoyed his best finish in a Players Championship event since October 2012 as he followed up a quarter-final appearance in Event Ten last month with another strong showing.
Labanauskas, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals on the ProTour for the first time since securing his Tour Card in January.
The Lithuanian defeated Mark Webster, Jermaine Wattimena, Toni Alcinas, Brendan Dolan and Harry Ward on the day before falling victim to Bunting’s fightback in the last four.
The event featured a number of outstanding performances, including a 114.2 average from Peter Wright as he whitewashed Gary Anderson in the last 32.
Krzysztof Ratajski averaged 112.3 in his first round win over Raymond van Barneveld, and went on to make the quarter-finals, while Dave Chisnall and Gerwyn Price also posted 106+ averages.
The next Players Championship double-header will be held on May 18-19 at the Barnsley Metrodome, with two further £75,000 tournaments taking place. Coverage will be streamed from two boards simultaneously at video.pdc.tv.
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