AN WHITE landed back-to-back European Tour titles by winning the 2019 Dutch Darts Masters in Zwolle on Sunday, defeating Michael van Gerwen 8-7 in a thrilling final.
White backed up his European Darts Grand Prix triumph earlier in May by going all the way at the Ijsselhallen to rack up a third European Tour title in less than 12 months.
Van Gerwen was seeking a sixth successive Dutch Darts Masters crown in front of a partisan home crowd, but the world number one never led in the final of the £140,000 tournament as a gutsy White prevailed in a gripping contest.
“It’s a great feeling to win this title, I always wanted to play Michael and beat him in a final so this shows I can do it,” said White, who pocketed the £25,000 top prize for the victory and moves up to tenth in the Order of Merit.
“It was difficult playing in front of the Dutch crowd, but I understand they want Michael to win.
“I’ve been in quite a few finals lately, I’ve been playing well on the European Tour and this will help with my performances in TV events going forward.
“This is still a big stage and hopefully when I go to the World Matchplay I will do it up there as well, then I’ll be flying up the top ten.”
The final, contested by the top two seeds, saw a repeat of the German Darts Open and Austrian Darts Open finals, with White wasting no time in racing into a 3-0 lead.
White, who tasted success on Dutch soil at the Dutch Darts Championship in Maastricht in September 2018, missed a dart at double top for a 4-0 lead, allowing Van Gerwen to step in and take out 32 to get his first leg on the board.
Newly-crowned five-time Premier League Champion Van Gerwen landed a magnificent 170 finish to raise the roof to break back and followed it up with a hold to make it 4-4.
Reigning World Champion Van Gerwen spurned five darts at double as White took out 72 to break throw and move within two legs of the upset, only for Van Gerwen to register back-to-back legs once again and make it all square at 6-6.
The next two legs both went on throw, setting up a tense last-leg shoot-out, which White won with a last dart in hand double ten to end Van Gerwen’s 28-match winning streak in last leg deciders on the European Tour which stretched back to 2014.
White’s route to victory began on Friday as he survived five match darts from Mickey Mansell to run out a relieved 6-5 winner, before defeating Dutch pair Jermaine Wattimena and Vincent van der Voort on Sunday, followed by a semi-final success over Peter Wright.
The seventh European Tour event of the year reached its climax on the final day of action, with the Last 16 matches played in the afternoon, before the evening session saw the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place.
The afternoon session began with bitter defeat for legendary five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld who squandered a 5-4 lead as he went down 6-5 to Van Gerwen in an exhilarating all-Dutch affair.
Van Barneveld kicked off the deciding leg with a 180 but failed to back it up, with the result ending the departing Dutchman’s hopes of lifting the title in his final ranking event in The Netherlands.
Van Gerwen also came close to defeat in his incredible semi-final with in-form fourth seed Gerwyn Price, which saw the 32-time European Tour event winner prevail 7-6.
With Price waiting on 40 to break throw at 5-5, Van Gerwen fired in a game-changing 143 checkout to hold throw before seeing it out to maintain his undefeated record against the Welsh number one.
The weekend was a successful one for two-time ProTour event winner Glen Durrant, who reached the quarter-finals of a European Tour event for the first time where he went down to Price 6-3.
The European Tour returns with the Danish Darts Open in Copenhagen across the weekend of June 14-16, with all the action shown on PDCTV-HD.
2019 Dutch Darts Masters
Sunday May 26
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Ricky Evans
Glen Durrant 6-0 Dennis Nilsson
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Ian White 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Max Hopp
Peter Wright 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Mervyn King 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Glen Durrant
Ian White 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Peter Wright 6-4 Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Gerwyn Price
Ian White 7-3 Peter Wright
Ian White 8-7 Michael van Gerwen