Callan Rydz overcame Jonny Clayton 8-7 in the final to clinch his first PDC ProTour title at Friday’s Players Championship event in Bolton.
The 22-year-old punished Clayton’s miss on bullseye for the match by delivering a 127 checkout to force a deciding leg having found himself 3-1 down early on in the match and with his opponent threatening signs of running away with it.
First down to a finish, Rydz kept his composure to pin double nine and take out a decisive 87 to complete a memorable win and secure his maiden ranking title.
For recently-crowned Masters champion Clayton it marked his second straight loss in the final this week following Thursday’s 8-7 defeat to Joe Cullen.
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PDC Super Series 1: Players Championship 2 Results
CALLAN RYDZ WINS!!!
What a performance from the 22-year-old as he beats Jonny Clayton 8-7 to secure his first ever PDC ProTour title! pic.twitter.com/kfMnXnh02U
Rydz had opened the day by beating Boris Kolstov, Ross Smith and Alan Soutar, before whitewashing Jeff Smith 6-0 and dropping just one leg against Ian White to reach the final four.
In one of the results of the day he then coasted to a 7-2 win over Nathan Aspinall to set up his triumphant meeting with Clayton in the final.
His opponent had similarly cruised beyond Bradley Brooks, Mike De Decker and Luc Peters in the opening three rounds, and then recorded a stunning 6-1 win over Michael van Gerwen with a 102.1 average followed by a 6-3 job against Mensur Suljovic via another ton-plus performance to book his place in the semi-finals.
From there he edged out Vincent van der Voort 7-5 to confirm his return to a second successive final, only to find himself up against an inspired Rydz.
Hear from Callan Rydz after winning his first ever PDC ProTour title
What a day for the 22-year-old 👏 pic.twitter.com/vghKXXQRPe
“I played well all day, took my chances when I got them,” said Rydz. “That 127 I think was massive in the final.”
“To be honest I’ve only really practised two hours really since being at the Worlds, I haven’t really bothered with much. I’ve put a couple of hours in the other day and that was it. I’m happy with the way I played yesterday and I said to my manager last night ‘I feel like I could win one of these’.
“Everyone that plays darts wants to be a world champion. I’ve taken lots of baby steps going to Q-School, not getting through, winning on the Challenge Tour last year. I didn’t have a good start to the year obviously with bad news with my grandma, but it’s all behind us now and I’m taking every step as it comes now.”
Earlier in the day, Adrian Lewis made it two straight days of nine-darters as he reeled off the perfect leg in his 6-5 loss to Jeff Smith, following up the feat achieved by Michael Smith in his day one victory over Geert De Vos.
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Price, Wright suffer shock defeats
Reigning world champion Gerwyn Price was a surprise elimination in the last 64 as he fell to a 6-5 defeat against world No 96 Aaron Beeney.
Beeney won just four of his 32 PDC matches last season and had earned just £2,500 in prize money since gaining his Tour Card last year.
𝗕𝗘𝗘𝗡𝗘𝗬 𝗕𝗘𝗔𝗧𝗦 𝗣𝗥𝗜𝗖𝗘!
A seismic shock at Players Championship 2 as Aaron Beeney defeats world number one Gerwyn Price 6-5 in the second round! pic.twitter.com/3nIUGbg7tz
World No 1 Price, knocked out by Gary Anderson in the second round on day one, had beaten Jon Worsley 6-2 to set up his meeting with Beeney, who eventually lost 6-0 to John Michael in the last 32.
The Welshman was not the only shock exit on the day as 21-year-old Ciaran Teehan whitewashed Premier League champion Glen Durrant in the last 64 before losing 6-2 to Ian White.
Former world champion Peter Wright also crashed out in round one following a 6-2 defeat to PDC newcomer Alan Soutar, who averaged 105 to Snakebite’s 105.8.
Barney chalks up first win
Raymond van Barneveld recorded the first victory since returning to the PDC circuit by coming from 5-3 down to beat Ryan Murray 6-5 with a 99.3 average in the first round.
Raymond van Barneveld picks up his first win back on the PDC circuit as he defeats Ryan Murray 6-5. pic.twitter.com/dd67sr6J6b
It marked a positive response after the Dutchman was beaten 6-5 by Stephen Bunting on Thursday having done brilliantly to recover from 5-1 down.
The five-time world champion finally saw his day come to an end at the hands of a 6-5 defeat to Danny Noppert, who lost 6-4 to Jeff Smith in the next round.
PDC Super Series 1 – Winners
Rock Star triumphs on Day One
Joe Cullen overcame the in-form Jonny Clayton to pick up the first Players Championship title of 2021, defeating the recently-crowned Masters champion 8-7 in the final on Thursday.
The duo met on the oche for the first time since their World Championship showdown in December, when Cullen prevailed in a deciding leg and on Thursday it was Cullen who prevailed in another last-leg shoot-out.
In the interim, the Ferret had sealed the last Premier League spot, by virtue of his maiden major triumph. But it was the Rockstar who came out on top in the meeting of the two close friends. Cullen enjoyed an impressive day at the office, beating Ryan Meikle, Ryan Murray, Scott Waites, Chris Dobey, Gabriel Clemens and Nathan Aspinall.
Raymond van Barneveld was beaten by Stephen Bunting in his first PDC appearance following his Q-School success in Germany last week but world champion Gerwyn Price, Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright had a sluggish start to the new season.
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