JEFFREY DE ZWAAN captured his second Players Championship title with a brilliant 8-2 win over Stephen Bunting in Wednesday’s Event 14 final in Barnsley.
De Zwaan won his maiden senior title in March 2018 and went on to reach the World Matchplay semi-finals during a breakthrough year.
Having also competed as a Premier League Contender in 2019, De Zwaan has followed up his run to a ProTour final last month by going all the way to claim the £10,000 title at the Barnsley Metrodome.
The Dutchman was in superb form throughout the day, averaging over 100 in five out of six matches on his way to the final, including a 106.5 average in his third round defeat of World Championship finalist Michael Smith.
He also overcame Dave Chisnall and World Championship quarter-finalist Ryan Joyce before averaging almost 104 in his 7-3 semi-final win over former World Youth Champion Arron Monk.
Bunting had also been in fine form as he landed ton-plus averages against Jamie Lewis, Corey Cadby and Jelle Klaasen, while he also saw off Jamie Hughes and Joe Cullen.
The former Lakeside Champion then came back from 5-2 down in his semi-final against Darius Labanauskas to win 7-5.
De Zwaan raced into a 4-0 lead in the final, with his run including two 11-darters as he broke Bunting’s throw to take command.
Bunting hit back in leg five on double 16, but missed his chance to battle back further as tops restored De Zwaan’s cushion at 5-1 and double ten moved the 23-year-old five legs clear.
Bunting responded again in leg eight with a match-high 114 checkout, but De Zwaan landed three 134 scores on his way to a 7-2 lead before taking out 107 for a 12-darter to seal the title in style.
“I played really well today – the feeling was that I was flying, every dart I was throwing was going straight in and that’s a great feeling,” said De Zwaan, who moves up to 36th on the PDC Order of Merit.
“I’m happy with the win. I’m feeling good, my confidence is there and the darts are going great and I’m really happy.”
De Zwaan was a winner on the PDC Unicorn Development Tour last month, and believes that his form is back to that which took him to the World Matchplay semi-finals last July.
“The Development Tour is a really good opportunity to grow in the PDC circuit,” he added.
“In the first tournament I played seven games with a 100 average, and it’s also a great opportunity to grow and get confidence as well.
“Last year I reached the semi-final of the World Matchplay and the pressure grows on you. Now I’ve learned how that feels and I’m dealing with the pressure and playing well again.”
Bunting had won through to his first ProTour final for over 18 months with his form on the day, surpassing a quarter-final appearance on the European Tour in March with Wednesday’s run.
Monk enjoyed his best finish in a Players Championship event since October 2012 as he followed up a quarter-final appearance in Event Ten last month with another strong showing.
Labanauskas, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals on the ProTour for the first time since securing his Tour Card in January.
The Lithuanian defeated Mark Webster, Jermaine Wattimena, Toni Alcinas, Brendan Dolan and Harry Ward on the day before falling victim to Bunting’s fightback in the last four.
The event featured a number of outstanding performances, including a 114.2 average from Peter Wright as he whitewashed Gary Anderson in the last 32.
Krzysztof Ratajski averaged 112.3 in his first round win over Raymond van Barneveld, and went on to make the quarter-finals, while Dave Chisnall and Gerwyn Price also posted 106+ averages.
The next Players Championship double-header will be held on May 18-19 at the Barnsley Metrodome, with two further £75,000 tournaments taking place. Coverage will be streamed from two boards simultaneously at video.pdc.tv.
Players Championship 14
Wednesday May 1
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Joe Cullen 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Darius Labanauskas 6-1 Brendan Dolan
Harry Ward 6-5 Peter Wright
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Arron Monk 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-3 Dave Chisnall
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Glen Durrant
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Joe Cullen
Darius Labanauskas 6-3 Harry Ward
Arron Monk 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5 Ryan Joyce
Stephen Bunting 7-5 Darius Labanauskas
Jeffrey de Zwaan 7-3 Arron Monk
Jeffrey de Zwaan 8-2 Stephen Bunting