PDC Pro Tour 2021: Super Series 5 starts with a victory for Stephen Bunting
Stephen Bunting claims first PDC title for five years with victory over Dimitri Van den Bergh in Players Championship 17 final - the second of four Pro Tour events continues on Tuesday
Last Updated: 05/07/21 10:21pm
Super Series 5 got under way in Coventry on Monday - the first of five consecutive days of action on the PDC Pro Tour and Stephen Bunting emerged victorious to give his World Matchplay hopes a huge boost.
A busy week in Coventry got under way with the first of four Players Championship events and by Thursday the 32 spots at the next televised major ranking event will be confirmed and The Bullet has all but confirmed a return to Blackpool.
The former BDO world champion kicked off the day outside the qualification places for the summer's darting showpiece at the Winter Gardens, but an 8-4 victory over reigning Matchplay champion Van den Bergh catapulted him to seventh spot on the Pro Tour rankings.
It all but secures a place in the prestigious tournament on the Lancashire coast but even more importantly for Bunting was a return to the winner's circle for the first time 2016 - the last of two Pro Tour titles since he switched to the PDC ranks.
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Super Series 5 - This Week's Players Championship Finals
|Players Championship 17||Stephen Bunting 8-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh|
"It's an amazing feeling to be stood here as a winner again," said Bunting who also secured the £10,000 first prize for his day's work.
"A lot of people know I was close to packing in a few years ago but since then I've worked so hard behind the scenes, I've put everything into this.
"Trying to qualify for the World Matchplay was my priority this week, so to come here and win the title on the first day is beyond my dreams.
"I know I'm playing well, but I do honestly believe there is a lot more in the locker and I can relax now knowing I'm going to Blackpool."
Players Championship Titles 2021
|3||Jose De Sousa|
|2||Jonny Clayton, Joe Cullen, Peter Wright|
|1||Brendan Dolan, Gerwyn Price, Callan Rydz, Michael Smith|
|Raymond van Barneveld, Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|Dirk van Duijvenbode, Stephen Bunting|
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After wins over Martin Lukeman, Sean Fisher and Aaron Beeney, Bunting beat Richie Edhouse to set up a showdown with Raymond van Barneveld who had enjoyed a fine day's work to reach the quarter-finals.
After Bunting powered past Barney, the man from St Helen's produced a brilliant performance to beat world No 1 and world champion Gerwyn Price in the last four before his final triumph over Van den Bergh.
The Belgian was chasing a second Pro Tour win of the season after making his breakthrough on the Pro Tour earlier this year. The Dreammaker averaging more than 100 in five of his matches, including 110 in a 6-1 victory over Keane Barry.
Elsewhere, players continued to vie for position in the race to qualify for July's World Matchplay as Brendan Dolan and Mervyn King cemented their places in the ProTour Order of Merit qualifying positions with runs to the quarter-finals.
However Michael van Gerwen's wait for a title goes on. The Dutchman is with a tournament victory since the Players Championship Finals in November and he was beaten in a thriller against Price.
Van Gerwen led 5-2 against the Welshman, but the Iceman roared back to win 6-5 despite MvG's 109 average.
Players Championship 17, Coventry
Stephen Bunting 8-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Stephen Bunting 7-5 Gerwyn Price
Dimitri Van den Bergh 7-4 Jose De Sousa
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Jose De Sousa 6-3 Mervyn King
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Darts is back on your Sky Sports screens in July, with nine days of coverage from the iconic Winter Gardens and the World Matchplay - the action gets under way on Saturday July 17