Johnny Clayton landed his first nine-darter in a televised tournament as he won through to the Ladbrokes UK Open quarter-finals on Saturday.
The Welshman achieved the feat in leg 12 of his 10-8 win over Chris Dobey in Saturday evening’s sixth round at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort, following two 180s with a 141 checkout.
He went on to win the game – despite Dobey’s brave fightback from 5-0 down to pull back to 9-8 with finishes of 117 and 104 – to move into the last eight for the first time in the UK Open, where he now challenges for the £100,000 title in Sunday’s final stages.
“It’s a very special moment for me and I’m chuffed to bits,” said Clayton, who defeated Joe Cullen 10-4 earlier on Saturday in round four. “There were loads of Welsh fans watching too, which was great.
“I’ve never hit one in a tournament before – I’ve had a few in practice but only my dog was watching, so to do it in front of a crowd has shown that I can do it.”
Clayton is now aiming to claim his maiden televised title on Sunday, and added: “I’m on the big stage tomorrow and I can’t wait. I’ve done well here before and I’d love to go all the way.”
Clayton’s nine-darter was the ninth in the history of the UK Open, and the first since Michael van Gerwen achieved the feat in 2016.
It was also the second in a televised event inside a fortnight, following Michael Smith’s nine-darter in the Premier League in Dublin, as well as being the 13th in a PDC event so far in 2020.
Clayton was joined in winning through to the quarter-finals by fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price, who edged out Germany’s Gabriel Clemens 10-9 by landing an 11-darter in the deciding leg of their contest.
Price, who turned 35 on Saturday, is aiming to win his third televised title by claiming UK Open glory, and said: “It’s a nice birthday present for me!
“I’ve played well in all three games I’ve played so far but in the first two I took my chances. I missed some doubles early on in this game and he got in front of me.
“He was full of confidence and played well but I stuck in there and I’m thankful that I had such a good last leg. I’m through and I can look forward to Sunday now.”
Jamie Hughes booked his place in a first quarter-final at a televised PDC event with a 10-5 defeat of Mensur Suljovic.