Danny Baggish wins North American Championship to Ally Pally place
Last Updated: 05/07/19 12:58pm
Danny Baggish will make his World Darts Championship debut after surprising defending champion Jeff Smith to win the North American Championship.
As well as a Christmas trip to London, the 35-year-old from Florida claimed the $10,000 title at the Mandalay Bay Casino & Resort on Thursday night.
The action came after the opening session that featured the first round of the US Darts Masters leg of the World Series where all eight seeded players came through to reach Finals Day on Sunday.
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However, home hopes were centred on the annual race to be crowned champion and clinch a much-sought-after spot at the World Championships and Baggish, born in Guam, was the man to claim the place, edging out Canada's Smith in a last-leg shoot-out
"It's a dream come true," said a tearful Baggish after lifting the trophy.
"It's the best feeling, just great. I was playing well come into this event, so I knew I could compete but to get through that field is overwhelming.
"It's my first time on the stage and you don't know what you have in you until you're in that situation.
"Every player dreams of playing at Alexandra Palace and I can't wait for that. It hasn't sunk in yet but I know it will.
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"I'm going to go there [World Championship] and have fun and I'm excited for the opportunity."
Checkouts of 71, 97 and 82 gave Baggish a 3-0 lead in the final, twice taking advantage of Smith's missed doubles before the Canadian took out 120 to get off the mark in leg four.
Baggish extended his lead to 4-1 and 5-2 as he moved to the brink of victory, with Smith taking out 88 on the bull and double 16 - after surviving one missed match dart - to reduce the gap to 5-4.
He then finished a third-dart double 16 to take the final to a deciding leg, but the Canadian missed the bull for victory to allow Baggish in on tops to claim the title.
2019 North American Championship
Danny Baggish 6-2 Elliot Milk
Leonard Gates 6-3 Shawn Brenneman
Darin Young 6-4 Jim Long
Jeff Smith 6-2 Gary Mawson
Danny Baggish 6-5 Leonard Gates
Jeff Smith 6-4 Darin Young
Danny Baggish 6-5 Jeff Smith
You don't have to wait long until darts is back on Sky Sports, with every dart from every session in Blackpool and the World Matchplay. It starts on Saturday, July 20 and the final is on Sunday, July 28.