World Grand Prix darts: Daryl Gurney defeats Simon Whitlock to claim his first major televised title

Daryl Gurney celebrates winning the World Grand Prix (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Daryl Gurney celebrates winning the World Grand Prix (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Daryl Gurney claimed the first major televised title of his career with a thrilling 5-4 victory over Simon Whitlock in the World Grand Prix darts final in Dublin.

The Northern Irishman has enjoyed a real breakthrough season with semi-final runs at the UK Open and World Matchplay - but this triumph at the double-start tournament catapults him firmly into the world's elite and he'll no doubt be invited to play in the Premier League next year.

Gurney, who was a 33/1 outsider before the event began, had previously beaten Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen, Robert Thornton and Michael van Gerwen's first-round conqueror John Henderson en route to his maiden televised ranking final although he showed early nerves on his finishing doubles as Whitlock surged into a 2-0 set lead.

The 31-year-old then suddenly got his act together with a string of five ton-plus checkouts, including a stunning 156, to take the next three sets in succession and it looked as though he'd motor on with the help of the vocal Dublin crowd.

Whitlock, bidding to win the second PDC major of his long career having been crowned European champion back in 2012, sparked back into life and capitalised on Gurney missing darts at doubles to win each of the next two sets that went the distance as he moved 4-3 up and became in-play favourite.

Gurney rallied again to force a decider after winning the eighth set 3-1 and his charge was further helped when Whitlock suffered badly with the pressure on his starting doubles - failing to get away first time in the opening three legs, albeit winning one of them with a 112 checkout.

Gurney fired in a 112 checkout of his own to go 2-1 up before completing the job on double 10 in the next leg, with Whitlock poised to swoop on 48.

After sinking to his knees in celebration, a tearful and emotional Gurney embraced Whitlock before collecting his trophy and a cheque for £100,000.

The Derry man, who is now 28/1 with Sky Bet to win the 2018 World Championship, told the PDC: "I'm lost for words - I can't believe it, I really can't. It feels better than anything else I've ever felt in my life. Dreams do come true and this is a dream. I wanted to come up here tonight and play my best game but giving SImon the first set got me more determined. I still had the belief in my that I could come back when I was 2-0 down."

Whitlock was 80/1 before the tournament began but when his potential second-round opponent Gary Anderson withdrew on opening night, his section of the draw opened up and he took full advantage by defeating Christian Kist, Richard North, Benito van de Pas) and most impressively man of the moment Mensur Suljovic, who was favourite at that point to win back-to-back TV titles having won the Champions League of Darts last month.

It was his first major final since being runner-up at the 2013 European Championship and afterwards vowed to come back strongly and launch another serious title tilt.

He said: "Daryl deserved to win tonight but I'm really happy to have reached the final. He's been a form player this year and for him to win this is amazing. It was a great game. I think I had a great tournament and I want to keep getting better and pushing my way up in the rankings.

"I'm disappointed I lost, but I've worked so hard for the past two years and especially in the last three months, practising double starts, so I expected good results but I was a bit surprised that I made the final in one respect. I'm back to winning ways and hopefully the only way is up now. I've got myself back in the Grand Slam, because that was important, and I want to get myself back in the Premier League and in the top five, where I think I belong."

World Grand Prix: Final statistics

Scroll down for leg-by-leg updates

Daryl Gurney 5-4 Simon Whitlock

  • Three-dart averages
    Gurney: 88.5
    Whitlock: 83.53
  • 180s
    Gurney: 8
    Whitlock: 13
  • 100+ checkouts
    Gurney: 156, 126, 112, 110, 110, 104, 100
    Whitlock: 112
  • Finishing checkout percentage
    Gurney: 38.33% (23/60)
    Whitlock: 33.33% (18/54)

World Grand Prix final: Leg-by-leg blog updates

By Chris Hammer

GURNEY WINS THE WORLD GRAND PRIX!

SET NINE: LEG FOUR
Daryl Gurney is the World Grand Prix champion after a nerve-jangling 5-4 victory over Simon Whitlock in Dublin! The emotional Northern Irishman, who was 33/1 at the start of the week, sinks to his knees after holding his nerve on double 10 and it isn't long before the tears begin to stream from his eyes.

The 31-year-old, who was playing in his first major televised final, was the better player in the final despite Whitlock's stunning tally of 13 180s, boasting a higher scoring average and checkout percentage - but he had to show nerves of steal to get the job done in a deciding set.

Whitlock fell to pieces to be quite honest at the end as the pressure got to him (not for the first time in his career) but he can take immense credit from his superb run at an event which he went into as an 80/1 outsider.
Gurney 3-1 Whitlock (Sets: 5-4)

SET NINE: LEG THREE
Whitlock can't follow up his good work in the previous leg as he once more fails to get away on his first visit. Gurney subsequently reaches a finish first on 112 - with Whitlock back on 196 - and the Northern Irishman takes it out to move one leg away from his maiden major title!
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET NINE: LEG TWO
Again Whitlock can't hit a double on his first visit but ends the leg by nailing a bullseye finish to checkout from 112! He's not done yet!
Gurney 1-1 Whitlock

SET NINE: LEG ONE - Gurney to throw first
The pressure has got to Whitlock - as we all probably expected it to given his history - and it takes eight darts for him to hit an opening double. Gurney had actually missed his first three arrows at a starter but the Aussie's blunders allowed him to eventually go on and take the leg on double eight, with Whitlock way back on 206.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

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SET EIGHT: LEG FOUR
We have a deciding set to decide the World Grand Prix final! Gurney checks out 96 under huge pressure after Whitlock's fifth visit of 135 had left 75 - and now the Northern Irishman is back to odds-on favourite!
Gurney 3-1 Whitlock (Sets: 4-4)

SET EIGHT: LEG THREE
Whitlock looks absolutely deflated as Gurney spends what seems to be 10 minutes celebrating a successful fourth attempt at double 16 after the Aussie had left 12 with a 13th 180 of the match. If you were a complete neutral ahead of this match, I think you'd probably (definitely) be rooting for Whitlock by now!
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET EIGHT: LEG TWO
Whitlock has been fantastic on his 180s tonight and a 12th of the match gives him the impetus to break straight back, doing so with an 80 checkout and denying Gurney the chance to finish off 25.
Gurney 1-1 Whitlock

SET EIGHT: LEG ONE - Whitlock throwing first
All of a sudden Whitlock's advantage of throwing first in a set which would give him the title is gone despite an 11th maximum as Gurney breaks with a checkout of 68. The Aussie's other poor visits of 31, 41, 90 and 60 meant he didn't even have a dart at a double.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

INTERVAL
This see-saw encounter is now going the way of Whitlock, who is 4/9 favourite for glory, with Gurney now 7/4. Gurney's average is down to 89.74 but it's still higher than Whitlock's 86.02 while the Aussie leads the 180s race 10-8. Gurney's 156 remains the highest checkout, with Whitlock's best being 98. Gurney has hit 17 of his 46 attempts at finishing doubles compared to Whitlock's 16 from 52. Click here for all the odds and Price Boosts!

SET SEVEN: LEG FIVE
Whitlock turns on the style at just the right time while Gurney is left to rue missing all three of his opening darts at a starting double. The Wizard follows up his opening 69 with a 10th 180 of the match and further visits of 100, 120 sets up a 15-darter, which ends on double eight.
Gurney 2-3 Whitlock (Sets: 3-4)

SET SEVEN: LEG FOUR
A fourth set in this match will go to a deciding leg after Whitlock backs up his brilliantly timed ninth 180 of the match by nailing double 10, with Gurney waiting on 25.
Gurney 2-2 Whitlock

SET SEVEN: LEG THREE
A scruffy leg nearly has a stunning finish when Whitlock goes bullseye, treble 19 to leave double 14 but he misses it and a relieved gurney comes back to hit tops after missing it twice on his previous visit.
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET SEVEN: LEG TWO
Impressive from Whitlock, who opens up with a 146 which started on double 13 before a wonderful set up shot of 168 leaves him 36, which he takes out for a fine 13-darter.
Gurney 1-1 Whitlock

SET SEVEN: LEG ONE - Gurney to throw first
Gurney doesn't seem fazed to be brought back to level terms as he produces a clinical 14-darter to take an early lead in the set.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

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Simon Whitlock (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Can Simon Whitlock kick on and seal a famous win? (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

SET SIX: LEG FIVE
Gurney piles pressure on Whitlock's throw by firing in an eighth 180 of the match and following up with a 140 to reach a finish first but after missing a dart at double eight to complete a 76 checkout, Whitlock steals the set by taking out 98.
Gurney 2-3 Whitlock (Sets: 3-3)

SET SIX: LEG FOUR
A nightmare leg for Whitlock, who fails to hit a double in his first two visits, and Gurney can comfortably afford a missed attempt at tops at the other end of the leg before getting the job done on double 10.
Gurney 2-2 Whitlock

SET SIX: LEG THREE
Whitlock nearly tosses his throw advantage away with an opening visit of 32 but is let out of jail on that front when Gurney only manages double one! A scrappy leg concludes when Gurney punishes Whitlock's missed dart for the set at double 18 by nailing a 100 checkout in two darts (T20 D20).
Gurney 1-2 Whitlock

SET SIX: LEG TWO
A quite awful dart at double five (going high by quite some distance) after going inside on double 10 gifts Whitlock a chance to break but the Aussie's own attempt at double four was equally as bad. Incredibly Gurney misses a further three darts at the same target and this time Whitlock holds his nerve to break on double two.
Gurney 0-2 Whitlock

SET SIX: LEG ONE - Whitlock to throw first
For the first time in the match, both players missed their first three darts at an opening double. But six visits later Gurney's seventh maximum is immediately followed by Whitlock's eighth! A strange old leg, in which Gurney couldn't reach a double with six darts from 150, ends when Whitlock hits tops at the second attempt.
Gurney 0-1 Whitlock

INTERVAL
Gurney has firmed up as favourite at 4/11 while Whitlock is out to 9/4 to produce a comeback win. Gurney's average to 91.75 compared to Whitlock's 86.86 but the Aussie still leads the 180s at 7-6. Gurney's 156 is still the highest checkout, with Whitlock's best being 90. After those early woes on the finishing doubles, Gurney's checkout percentage is now an impressive 43.33% (13/30) while Whitlock's is 30.3% (10/33). Click here for all the odds and Price Boosts!

SET FIVE: LEG FIVE
Agony for Whitlock, and you have to wonder if that fabled mental fragility of his is eeking it's way back at exactly the wrong time. After Gurney missed a dart at double 16, the Aussie had three chances from 40 to level the match but he missed them all and Gurney swoops for his third set in succession.
Gurney 3-2 Whitlock (Sets: 3-2)

SET FIVE: LEG FOUR
Whitlock produces some magic as he lands a seventh 180 after an opening visit of 146 to set him on his way to a clinical 13-darter to force a decider.
Gurney 2-2 Whitlock

SET FIVE: LEG THREE
Gurney's opening score of 32 is followed by three blanks from Whitlock and the Northern Irishman takes full advantage by rattling off scores of 125, 140 and 100 before another ton+ checkout of 104!
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET FIVE: LEG TWO
The good work of the previous leg is undone by a ruthless flurry of scoring from Gurney, who follows up an opening visit of 111 with further scores of 100, 180 and a 110 checkout for a super 12-darter.
Gurney 1-1 Whitlock

SET FIVE: LEG ONE - Gurney to throw first
A much needed break from Whitlock upsets Gurney's purple patch as he nails the bullseye to complete a 90 checkout - but only after Gurney missed a dart at tops.
Gurney 0-1 Whitlock

INTERVAL
Now it's Daryl Gurney who goes back to being favourite for the first time since pre-match at 8/13 while Simon Whitlock is now out to 5/4 after blowing his 2-0 set lead. Gurney has upped his average to 91.06 compared to Whitlock's 85.09 but the Aussie still leads the 180s at 6-5. Gurney's 156 is the highest checkout, with Whitlock's best being 70! Click here for all the odds and Price Boosts!

SET FOUR: LEG FOUR
All square! And doesn't Gurney love it! He turns to the crowd and repeatedly nods his head with a stern glare after a superb checkout from 95 - going bullseye, 13, double 16 - to level the match. He was under pressure too after Whitlock landed a 180 to leave 97.
Gurney 3-1 Whitlock (Sets: 2-2)

SET FOUR: LEG THREE
Whitlock defies Gurney's fifth 180 of the match with successive visits of 140, 123 and 140 before checking out on 70, with the finish coming on double nine.
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET FOUR: LEG TWO
Gurney is beginning to find some consistent momentum now and although he misses one dart at double 16, Whitlock fails to finish from 110 and the home hope makes no mistake at the second time of asking.
Gurney 2-0 Whitlock

SET FOUR: LEG ONE - Whitlock to throw first
No interval after the third set so both players go straight back at it. After reaching a finish first, Whitlock is punished for going inside double nine on his second dart of that visit which obviously costs him another chance, and Gurney responds by nailing double 18 for an early lead.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

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Daryl Gurney (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Daryl Gurney: Can he come back to level the match? (Pic: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

SET THREE: LEG FOUR
Finally it's a set on the board for Gurney and in some style too! The 31-year-old backs up visits of 146, 96 and 133 with a superb 126 checkout, which was finished off on the bullseye.
Gurney 3-1 Whitlock (Sets: 1-2)

SET THREE: LEG THREE
Whitlock so nearly lands a decisive blow but a bounce out on tops prevents a 120 checkout for a break and Gurney, who earlier nailed his fourth 180, comes back to hit double 16 at his first attempt.
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET THREE: LEG TWO
Gurney should have seized the initiative by breaking Whitlock but he missed two darts at tops and the Aussie responded by taking out 38 with his last dart at double eight.
Gurney 1-1 Whitlock

SET THREE: LEG ONE - Gurney throwing first
Nice and easy hold for Gurney - just what the doctor ordered - after Whitlock's failure to get away first time allowed the Northern Irishman to romp clear for a 15-darter, which was finished off with a 110 checkout.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

INTERVAL
Simon Whitlock is now 1/2 favourite with Sky Bet while Daryl Gurney has drifted further to 13/8. Whitlock is averaging 85.77 compared to Gurney's 87.28 while the Aussie is leading the 180 race at 5-3. Anyone who bet on Gurney to fire the highest checkout will be delighted with his effort of 156! Click here for all the odds and Price Boosts!

SET TWO: LEG FIVE
Well we all know Simon Whitlock has a reputation for showing mental weakness at crunch time on the TV stages and it could be happening again when he misses all three darts at double nine for the set. Fortunately for the Aussie, Gurney can't take out the big fish of 170 so he comes back to nail double nine and go two sets to the good.
Gurney 2-3 Whitlock (Sets: 0-2)

SET TWO: LEG FOUR
A fourth 180 from Whitlock puts him in control of this leg despite back-to-back 140s from Gurney and finishes off by taking out 44 to force another decider.
Gurney 2-2 Whitlock

SET TWO: LEG THREE
Gurney, helped by his third 180 of the match, makes Whitlock pay for two missed darts at double tops as he hits two 10s to edge ahead in the set.
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET TWO: LEG TWO
Stunning leg from Whitlock as he fires in two maximums en route to a 14-darter but had he missed his attempt at double six, Gurney was well placed on 64.
Gurney 1-1 Whitlock

SET TWO: LEG ONE - Whitlock throwing first
Wow! Whitlock is seemingly on a roll with some heavy scoring but misses three darts from 32 and watches in horror as Gurney puts his double woes from the first set behind him to land a stunning 156 checkout to pinch the leg. That just sums up darts.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

INTERVAL
After that dramatic comeback from 2-0 down to take the opening set, Simon Whitlock is now 5/6 favourite with Sky Bet while Daryl Gurney has drifted to even-money. Both players are averaging under 80 due to this nerve start, with one 180 apiece. The highest checkout has been Gurney's 72 but he's missed nine darts at a finishing double compared to Whitlock's six. Click here for all the odds and Price Boosts!

SET ONE: LEG FIVE
The reason you've waited so long to see this leg update is because neither player seemingly wanted to win it, despite the opening two visits from both being over 100! To cut a very long story short, Gurney missed a further five set darts and although Whitlock missed five of his own, he held his nerve on double one to take the opening set.
Gurney 2-3 Whitlock (Sets: 0-1)

SET ONE: LEG FOUR
Gurney spurns four darts to win the opening set after three successive 100+ visits put him well clear but Whitlock comes back to take out 52 and force a deciding leg.
Gurney 2-2 Whitlock

SET ONE: LEG THREE
Whitlock settles his early nerves by breaking straight back with the aid of his first maximum and Gurney didn't even have a shot at a double in a disappointing leg for him.
Gurney 2-1 Whitlock

SET ONE: LEG TWO
Whitlock's failure to get away first time and then manage only 12 on his next visit allows Gurney to storm clear with the first 180 of the match, which followed an opening score of 146. He ends up taking out double 16 for an impressive 13-dart break.
Gurney 2-0 Whitlock

SET ONE: LEG ONE - Gurney to throw first
Both players double in on their first visits but Whitlock does so with a 120 to take early control and visits of 140 and 105 help him reach a finish first only to miss his chance on tops. Gurney then takes full advantage with a two-dart checkout from 72 (T16, D12) to take the opening leg, much to the crowd's delight and his relief.
Gurney 1-0 Whitlock

2012: The players are making their way out onto the stage here in Dublin so we're almost ready for action.

2010: Here's the all-important head-to-head record - and there's been a fair few meetings this year...

Overall H2H
Daryl Gurney 9 wins, Simon Whitlock 2 wins

2017 meetings

2007: you may want to go high on the checkout markets if the Wizard casts his spells like he did last night...

2005: It was an emotion victory for Whitlock last night after it looked like he'd choked in a winning position against Mensur Suljovic...

2000: Here's one of Gurney's finest moments from his run to tonight's final in Dublin...

1955: I'm personally backing Gurney to get his hands on a first televised title tonight and you can find out why by clicking here to read my final betting preview here, which includes 15/8 and 6/1 selections!

1940: So Sky Bet make Daryl Gurney 8/13 to win this final, with Simon Whitlock the underdog at 5/4.

There are two pre-match Price Boosts to check out: Gurney to win, hit the highest checkout and score more 180s at 4/1 from 3/1, and Whitlock to win, hit the highest checkout and score more 180s at 6/1 from 4/1.

1930: Let's take a look at how both players got here and the vital statistics...

Simon Whitlock

Whitlock's Key Stats

  • Sets won-lost: 12-4
  • Legs won-lost: 41-25
  • Average: 86.90
  • 180s: 16
  • Double in: 66/176
  • Double out: 41/86

Daryl Gurney

Gurney's Key Stats

  • Sets won-lost: 12-5
  • Legs won-lost: 42-28
  • Average: 86.73
  • 180s: 14
  • Double in: 70/125
  • Double out: 42/117

1915: Good evening and welcome to our live betting blog from tonight's World Grand Prix final in Dublin featuring two players you could have backed at 33/1 and 80/1 at the start of the tournament!

Daryl Gurney may well have had plenty of each-way backers given how much he's impressed during a real breakthrough season at the highest level and more would have piled on once Michael van Gerwen suffered a huge upset against eventual semi-finalist John Henderson on the opening night.

After getting past Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen and Robert Thornton, the Northern Irishman then ended Big John's dream run last night and he's now a odds-on favourite at 8/13 to get his hands on a first major TV title tonight.

His opponent, Simon Whitlock, would have been pretty friendless as he was due to face Gary Anderson in the second round but the Flying Scotsman's withdraw at the 11th hour opened up that section of the draw and the veteran Aussie took his opportunity with both hands in cruising into the semi-final.

There, he was underdog to see off man-of-the-moment Mensur Suljovic, who was now tournament favourite after sinking Peter Wright, but he ended the Austrian's bid to win back-to-back televised titles having defied odds of 40/1 to clinch last month's Champions League of Darts.

Before we get into the thick of the action, here's both players bios...

Simon Whitlock

  • Nickname: The Wizard
  • Date of Birth: 03/03/1969
  • Nationality: Australian
  • World Ranking (September 25): 16
  • Walk-on music: Down Under, Men at Work
  • Sky Bet's pre-tournament odds: 80/1
  • Career highlights: European champion (2012), World Championship runner-up (2010), Premier League runner-up (2012), winner of 16 non-televised TV titles

Daryl Gurney

  • Nickname: SuperChin
  • Date of Birth: 22/03/1986
  • Nationality: Northern Irish
  • World Ranking (September 25): 12
  • Walk-on music: Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
  • Sky Bet pre-tournament odds: 33/1
  • Career highlights: World Matchplay semi-finalist (2017), World Championship quarter-finalist (2017), UK Open semi-finalist (2017), winner of one non-televised PDC title

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