STEVE BEATON stole the show with a nine-dart finish on Day One of the German Darts Open in Saarbrücken on Friday, while Raymond van Barneveld was one of 16 first round winners.
The opening day of the fourth European Tour event of the year saw ever-consistent 55-year-old Beaton strike perfection in the second leg of his 6-3 win over Kirk Shepherd at the Saarlandhalle.
The nine-darter was the third of the year on the European Tour, following perfect legs from Michael van Gerwen and James Wade, and the 20th on the PDC circuit in 2019.
“It was a special moment to hit a nine-darter on the European Tour,” said Beaton, who reached the quarter-finals of the UK Open in March.
“I didn’t think about it too much, I just threw! All I was thinking about was winning the game to make up for my first round loss last week.
“It shows I’ve still got it. I love the game and I always say I’m being paid to do something I enjoy. As long as I can keep doing it I will keep playing.”
Beaton will now face Premier League high-flyer Gerwyn Price in Saturday’s second round as the 16 seeded players enter the £140,000 tournament.
Friday saw 32 qualifiers competing in the first round, with five-time World Champion Van Barneveld returning to form with an impressive 6-3 victory over hometown hero Gabriel Clemens.
Making his first stage appearance since reversing his immediate retirement decision in late March, crowd favourite Van Barneveld averaged 99.47 and missed just three darts at double in an assured display from the departing Dutchman.
“This win is important to me, I’ve been struggling but today I played a really good game and I feel it’s coming back,” said Van Barneveld, who will now face fellow-Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
“I’ve lost some weight and I’m feeling happier mentally. I’ve been trying and trying to get myself together and this win will help me.
“I found these darts in a drawer last week and they seem to be going well for me so far.”
Van Barneveld or Wattimena could face Van Gerwen in Sunday’s third round, but the world number one faces a tough first assignment in his bid for a 31st European Tour title against Dimitri Van den Bergh, who secured a routine 6-2 success over German debutant Thomas Kohnlein.
German number one Max Hopp will begin the defence of his title against John Henderson after the Scot landed a stunning 142 checkout in the deciding leg to claim a hard-fought 6-5 win over Stephen Bunting.
The performance of the day came from World Matchplay semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan, who posted a 102.82 average to prevail 6-3 over Australia’s Kyle Anderson in a high-class contest.
Jamie Hughes also averaged over a ton (100.37) to defy a 105.54 average from Brendan Dolan, winning the match with a 122 checkout, and rising star Ted Evetts continued his upward trajectory with a comprehensive 6-1 defeat of Vincent Kamphuis.
World Championship quarter-finalist Luke Humphries recorded the sole whitewash of the day against Pavel Jirkal to set up a meeting with James Wade, while UK Open Champion Nathan Aspinall landed a 140 finish on his way to a 6-1 victory over Dennis Nilsson.
David Pallett enjoyed a win on his first European Tour appearance of 2019, claiming a tense 6-5 victory over Mike de Decker, as James Richardson also came through a sudden-death shoot-out with Wayne Jones.
Mickey Mansell and Jerry Hendriks both secured 6-3 triumphs over Steve West and James Wilson respectively, while it was a difficult day for the German Qualifiers as Lukas Wenig, Kevin Munch and Karsten Koch exited at the hands of Chris Dobey, Steve Lennon and Vincent van der Meer respectively.
Saturday’s second day of the German Darts Open will be broadcast on video.pdc.tv, and through a series of bookmakers’ websites listed below.
2019 German Darts Open
Schedule of PlayFriday April 26First RoundAfternoon Session
James Richardson 6-5 Wayne Jones
Mickey Mansell 6-3 Steve West
Jamie Hughes 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Vincent Van der Meer 6-4 Karsten Koch
David Pallett 6-5 Mike de Decker
Luke Humphries 6-0 Pavel Jirkal
Steve Beaton 6-3 Kirk Shepherd
Jerry Hendriks 6-3 James Wilson
Ted Evetts 6-1 Vincent Kamphuis
Nathan Aspinall 6-1 Dennis Nilsson
Chris Dobey 6-4 Lukas Wenig
Jeffrey De Zwaan 6-3 Kyle Anderson
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Thomas Kohnlein
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
John Henderson 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Steve Lennon 6-1 Kevin Munch
Saturday April 27Second RoundAfternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)
Darren Webster v Vincent van der Meer
Simon Whitlock v Jamie Hughes
Joe Cullen v Jerry Hendriks
Daryl Gurney v David Pallett
Adrian Lewis v James Richardson
Gerwyn Price v Steve Beaton
Ian White v Jeffrey de Zwaan
James Wade v Luke Humphries
Evening Session (1915 local time, 1815 GMT)
Dave Chisnall v Ted Evetts
Jonny Clayton v Nathan Aspinall
Rob Cross v Chris Dobey
Peter Wright v Steve Lennon
Max Hopp v John Henderson
Mensur Suljovic v Mickey Mansell
Michael van Gerwen v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Jermaine Wattimena v Raymond van Barneveld
Credit: PDC / Lawrence Lustig.