MICHAEL VAN GERWEN won an incredible 30th European Tour title of his career as he retained his German Darts Grand Prix title in Munich, beating Simon Whitlock 8-3 in the final.
The World Champion, who turns 30 himself on Thursday, was rampant in the final – averaging 106.45 as he charged to a 5-0 lead before cruising to victory.
After two early breaks of throw set the tone, a showpiece 137 checkout on two double-tops put the Dutchman firmly in command.
Whitlock, who was without a win against Van Gerwen in 14 attempts ahead of the final, was left languishing as the reigning champion then took out 100 in two darts for a five-leg advantage.
Eventually the Australian found a way into the game with back-to-back legs to trail by three.
The pair then traded blows, but Van Gerwen was clinical on the doubles – landing eight of his 12 total attempts – as he quickly skittled the remaining two legs to clinch the £25,000 top prize.
“I’m absolutely delighted to retain my title here in Munich and clinch a 30th European Tour title,” said the Dutchman.
“This is a great achievement for me. I wasn’t at my best at the start of this evening, but I did the right things at the right times and always felt confident.”
“Simon is a great player and I’m just happy to get past him and win another title for my fans”
This milestone 30th European Tour title for Van Gerwen puts him 24 ahead in the record books of his nearest competitor Peter Wright, with six.
Nevertheless, he didn’t have it all his own way on the final day in Munich as he was pushed all the way by Ted Evetts in the Quarter-Finals.
Averaging just 91, some slack darts allowed Evetts to recover from 5-2 down and take out checkouts of 144 and 128 as he forced a deciding leg, before falling at the final hurdle.
In the Semi-Finals, he faced tough opposition in the form of Rob Cross, but continued his ruthless run against the former World Champion – backing up his 8-2 Premier League win from midweek with a 7-1 victory to reach the final.
Whitlock’s run to the final started with him seeing off the in-form Ross Smith 6-4 in the third round.
He then breezed past Joe Cullen in the Quarter-Finals 6-1, with the 29-year-old only narrowly avoiding the whitewash in the penultimate leg.
And in the Semi-Finals, he felt the scorn of the patriotic home crowd as he sent Max Hopp packing in a last leg decider.
The German, who was chasing his second European Tour title, looked to be heading for the final as he led 6-4, but a host of costly misses allowed Whitlock to clinch three legs in succession to progress.
Elsewhere, there was a strong run for Czech Republic’s Karel Sedlacek in his second European Tour event, as he saw off Darren Webster in the third round before falling to Hopp at the last eight.
The European Tour action will continue next weekend (April 26-28) in Saarbrucken, where Hopp will be looking to retain his title at the 2019 German Darts Open.