Cazoo Darts Masters: Stephen Bunting beats Michael van Gerwen to win first televised PDC title
Stephen Bunting won a long-awaited first televised PDC title with an 11-7 victory over Michael van Gerwen at the Cazoo Masters in Milton Keynes.
Bunting had trounced Peter Wright 10-2 and Nathan Aspinall 11-1 earlier in the day to reach his maiden TV final since joining the PDC in 2014 weeks after winning the BDO World Championship.
The St Helens man also beat reigning PDC world champion Luke Humphries on Saturday and added Van Gerwen to his list of scalps in the final as he denied the Dutchman a sixth Masters title and first since he secured a fifth in a row in 2019.
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Bunting secured the first break of throw in the eighth leg to move 5-3 up, pinning an 11-darter by taking out 88 on double 14, only for Van Gerwen to fight back.
Bunting, though, went 9-7 ahead after Van Gerwen's failed attempts at a double to restore parity and although his hopes of a nine-darter in the next leg were scuppered by a wayward eighth dart after seven treble 20s, he took that leg to move to the brink of victory.
The 38-year-old - who averaged 102 and landed eight 180s during the match - polished Van Gerwen off moments later, clinching a 14-darter on tops, to claim the £65,000 top prize and the trophy.
Bunting 'lost for words' after first title
Bunting told ITV: "I really deserved this trophy this week after beating players who are in the Premier League. That's where I want to get my game back to. Let's see what happens in the future.
"To do it in front of a crowd that is chanting your name from the moment I stepped foot in Milton Keynes, it means a lot to me.
"I have been in the PDC a lot of years now and this means an awful lot. It shows the practice is paying off. I am lost for words.
"I am really happy. My form is good and this is a great start to the season. Hopefully I can push on.
"My main aim after coming over from the BDO was to win titles but when you come over here you are playing the best of the best. These boys will push you all the way."
Van Gerwen said: "Stephen is the form guy. I thought I was playing a bit better but I couldn't make the difference.
"He put me under a lot of pressure. Fair play to him. He played really well through the whole tournament.
Van Gerwen had not made it past the quarter-finals at the Masters since his 2019 triumph but starred at the Marshall Arena this weekend, crushing reigning champion Chris Dobey and two-time finalist Dave Chisnall 10-4 before demolishing Dimitri Van den Bergh 11-2 in the semi-finals on Sunday evening.
The 34-year-old now turns his attention to week two of the Premier League in Berlin on Thursday, at which he will take on Aspinall in the quarter-finals.
Van Gerwen suffered a 6-5 defeat to Michael Smith on the opening night in Cardiff, before Smith went on to beat Luke Littler by the same score and then see off Gerwyn Price 6-2 in the final.
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