Whitlock beats MVG in final
Simon Whitlock powered past Michael van Gerwen 6-1 to win Saturday's Speedy Services UK Open Qualifier Five in Wigan.
The Australian produced some superb darts as he picked up the £6,000 first prize in the fifth of eight qualifying tournaments for professionals to win places in June's UK Open Televised Finals in Bolton.
Following early wins over Josh Payne and Terry Temple, the European Champion edged out Mark Walsh 6-5 to reach the last 16, producing a ten-darter in the deciding leg after his opponent had come from 5-1 down to level.
Whitlock then saw off Canada's Ken MacNeil 6-2 before finding himself 5-1 down against Ian White in the quarter-finals, hitting back to edge through to the last four before claiming a 6-4 win over Peter Wright.
He punished a string of missed doubles at the start of the final by taking the opening four legs without reply, as the young Dutchman missed a total of 11 darts at doubles before winning the fifth leg with a 13-darter which featured two 180s.
However, Whitlock finished double 16 to reply with a 14-darter as he moved 5-1 up before landing a third 180 of the game and tops to seal the victory.
"This is one of the best wins I've ever had - I'm absolutely thrilled to bits," said an elated Whitlock. "I had a bit of luck earlier on but I played really well in the final and I'm over the moon.
"At 5-1 down against Ian White you don't expect to win, but I somehow pulled one out of the bag and got there. You need a little bit of luck sometimes and I got that today, and I just rode with it.
"I played solid darts in the final and I was very composed, and I was on a mission to win today."
Van Gerwen's run to the final continues his incredible form so far in the UK Open Qualifiers, having won the first three events and reached the semi-finals of Qualifier Four last month.
The world number two's victims on the day included World Champion Phil Taylor for the second time inside three days, as he followed up Thursday's McCoy's Premier League Darts triumph with a 6-2 quarter-final victory.
Van Gerwen also saw off Kevin Thomas, Nigel Heydon, Arron Monk, Jim Walker and Lee Palfreyman, and averaged 105 in a fine 6-4 semi-final win over Gary Anderson.
Anderson reached the last four for the second successive UK Open Qualifier with his run in Wigan, which saw him defeat Michael Barnard, Mark Webster, Joey Palfreyman, Nick Fullwell and Jelle Klaasen on the day.
He was joined in the last four by in-form Peter Wright, who has now reached three semi-finals and a quarter-final in the five UK Open Qualifiers held so far this year.
Taylor's run to the last eight - in his first UK Open Qualifier appearance of the year - saw him pick up £1,000 prize money, and he was joined in the quarter-finals by Klaasen, White and Mark Cox.
Brendan Dolan, Terry Jenkins, Steve West, Dave Chisnall and Stuart Kellett joined Fullwell, Lee Palfreyman and MacNeil in reaching the last 16 as they edged closer to securing places in the UK Open Televised Finals in June, with the top 96 players, plus ties, from the final UK Open Order of Merit qualifying to play in Bolton.
Sunday will see the sixth Speedy Services UK Open Qualifier held at Wigan's Robin Park Tennis Centre, with over 200 players set to compete for the £35,000 prize fund.