Jonny Clayton wins his first European Tour title at the Austrian Darts Open

Darts
Jonny Clayton  (Picture: Michael Braunschadel/PDC Europe)
Jonny Clayton (Picture: Michael Braunschadel/PDC Europe)

Jonny Clayton won his maiden European Tour title as he defeated fellow Welshman Gerwyn Price 8-5 at the Austrian Darts Open.

The 2017 Players Championship Finals runner-up ends his wait for Euro glory just six months after claiming his first PDC crown in October, as he continues to make his mark at the highest level.

Clayton also held his nerve to see off home favourite Mensur Suljovic 7-6 in a gripping semi-final at the Steiermarkhalle in Graz while Price beat Joe Cullen by the same scoreline in the other last-four showdown.

The Ferret, who averaged almost 97 in the final and hit five 180s, won the last four legs to shake off Price while he pinned eight of his 18 attempts at doubles.

Clayton follows last weekend's German Darts Open winner Max Hopp in joining the PDC European Tour roll of honour, in a success which could be significant for his career.

He is now set to partner Price in the Betway World Cup of Darts, and is also in line to qualify for the BetVictor World Matchplay, Unibet World Grand Prix and Unibet European Championship.

He said: "It's my first [European Tour] title and I'm chuffed to bits. It's been a great weekend for me.

"It's been a brilliant crowd - I had to play against them all against Mensur but I got through it. It's nice to see Welsh darts back on stage. There are some brilliant players and we're all there to do a job."

With the £25,000 moving Clayton further ahead of Jamie Lewis in the race to partner Price in the World Cup, the Pontyberem ace added: "It's something I would really like to do so this is a big step towards that."

Price's run to the final continued his resurgence since his elimination from the Unibet Premier League recently, as he enjoyed his best-ever finish on the European Tour.

Overcame Wayne Jones in Sunday afternoon's third round before hitting six doubles from seven attempts in a superb 6-3 quarter-final defeat of world champion Rob Cross.

Price then edged out Joe Cullen 7-6 in a tight semi-final, but was unable to complete his bid for a third ranking title.

"I'm thrilled for Jonny, it's brilliant for him," said Price. "Winning's always good but I just wanted to perform well.

"I think this weekend I performed well in patches, not all the way through, but I'll take a lot of positives out of this weekend. I'm looking forward to what the up and coming weeks are going to bring."

Cullen defeated former European Tour event winners Mervyn King and Michael Smith on Sunday as he won through to his first semi-final of the year.

Suljovic, meanwhile, was unable to give the 2,000-strong sell-out crowd in Graz their dream of a home winner, seeing off Cristo Reyes and Daryl Gurney in style before missing out to Clayton.

Premier League stars Smith, Cross and Gurney were joined in the last eight by White, who went down 6-4 to Clayton as the Welshman charged to his second ranking title.

Austrian Darts Open results

Friday April 20
Afternoon Session
First Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Alan Tabern 4-6 Brendan Dolan
  • John Henderson 1-6 Michael Barnard
  • Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
  • Wayne Jones 6-1 Dietmar Burger
  • Scott Taylor 6-1 Simeon Heinz
  • Jason Cullen 6-1 Tamas Alexits
  • Ritchie Edhouse 3-6 Darius Labanauskas
  • Steve Lennon 6-0 Roxy-James Rodriguez

Evening Session
First Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Luke Humphries 6-2 Kevin Munch
  • Ronny Huybrechts 3-6 Steve West
  • Richie Burnett 6-0 Alex Steinbauer
  • Adam Hunt 6-5 Cameron Menzies
  • James Wade 6-3 Hannes Schnier
  • Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-4 Simon Stevenson
  • Stephen Burton 5-6 Max Hopp
  • Bastian Pietschnig 1-6 Cristo Reyes

CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY REVIEW

Saturday April 21
Afternoon Session
Second Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Mervyn King 6-0 Jason Cullen
  • Gerwyn Price 6-2 Scott Taylor
  • Wayne Jones bye (Dave Chisnall withdrew)
  • Steve Beaton 6-5 Luke Humphries
  • Ian White 6-4 Brendan Dolan
  • Joe Cullen 6-2 Steve Lennon
  • Michael Smith 6-0 Michael Barnard
  • Benito van de Pas 4-6 Dimitri Van den Bergh

Evening Session
Second Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Darren Webster 6-5 Richie Burnett
  • Daryl Gurney 6-3 Ron Meulenkamp
  • Simon Whitlock 6-4 Adam Hunt
  • Cristo Reyes 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
  • Rob Cross 6-5 Steve West
  • Jonny Clayton 6-3 Max Hopp
  • James Wade 6-4 Peter Wright
  • Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Darius Labanauskas

CLICK HERE FOR SATURDAY REVIEW

Sunday April 22
Afternoon Session
Third Round (best of 11 legs)

  • Michael Smith 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
  • Joe Cullen 6-3 Mervyn King
  • Gerwyn Price 6-3 Wayne Jones
  • Rob Cross 6-5 Steve Beaton
  • Daryl Gurney 6-3 Darren Webster
  • Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Cristo Reyes
  • Ian White 6-3 Simon Whitlock
  • Jonny Clayton 6-3 James Wade 

Evening Session
Quarter-Finals (best of 11 legs)

  • Joe Cullen 6-2 Michael Smith
  • Gerwyn Price 6-3 Rob Cross
  • Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Daryl Gurney
  • Jonny Clayton 6-4 Ian White

Semi-Finals (best of 13 legs)

  • Gerwyn Price 7-6 Joe Cullen
  • Jonny Clayton 7-6 Mensur Suljovic

Final (best of 15 legs)

  • Jonny Clayton 8-5 Mensur Suljovic

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