Simon Whitlock rediscovers form with the aid of glasses
Last Updated: 12/02/16 11:50pm
Simon Whitlock began his bid to win a second Dutch Darts Masters title by wearing glasses on stage for the first time as he defeated Mike De Decker in Friday's first round in Venray.
Australian ace Whitlock, who won the PDC European Tour event in the Netherlands in 2012, has responded to a slump in form which has seen him drop out of the world's top 16 by trialling glasses.
The 46-year-old wore the glasses in competition for the first time in last weekend's Coral UK Open Qualifiers in Wigan - reaching one semi-final - before taking to the stage in Venray, where he sealed a 6-2 defeat of De Decker with a 102 checkout.
Whitlock now takes on Ian White in Saturday's second round, and described his decision to start wearing glasses as "potentially career changing".
"The whole game has changed now and I can see the board so clearly - it's going to take a little time to adjust but this is a positive start," said Whitlock. "It's amazing - a very big change.
"I needed them two years ago, maybe three years ago, but I've broken the ice now. I'm using them, I might look a bit weird but they're working. It's very hard changing something as big as this, very difficult to make that transition."
Another former European Tour winner, Mervyn King, overcame old rival Ronnie Baxter 6-3 to set up a clash with World Champion Gary Anderson in a tasty second round fixture.
2013 Gibraltar Darts Trophy runner-up Jamie Lewis impressed with a clinical 6-0 whitewash of Germany's Andree Welge, taking out a 146 checkout and averaging 98 as he set up a second round tie with Justin Pipe.
Stephen Bunting also enjoyed a whitewash win as he took out a 167 finish on his way past Greece's John Michael, with the former Lakeside Champion now set to meet Peter Wright.
Dutch Darts Masters - First Round results:
Zoran Lerchbacher 5-6 James Richardson
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Martin Schindler
Paul Milford 5-6 Remco van Eijden
Andree Welge 0-6 Jamie Lewis
Kevin Thomas 6-3 Jan Dekker
Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-6 John Henderson
Mike De Decker 2-6 Simon Whitlock
Robbie Green 4-6 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Kevin Painter 6-5 Jamie Caven
Jyhan Artut 5-6 Daryl Gurney
Ryan Harrington 6-4 David Pallett
John Michael 0-6 Stephen Bunting
Dirk van Duijvenbode 3-6 Gerwyn Price
Mervyn King 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Mark Webster 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Ricky Evans 5-6 Devon Petersen