Michael van Gerwen’s incredible 2018 continued as he clinched his third Players Championship title of the year with Event Five in Milton Keynes.
The Dutchman, who has been in imperious form this year with six titles to his name, brushed aside youngster Chris Dobey 6-2 to clinch the £10,000 top prize.
Having been absent from the last two Players Championship events, the Dutchman now makes it 21 Players Championship games unbeaten and continues his 100 per cent record in these competitions.
The scoreline doesn’t tell the story of the final however, with Dobey averaging a staggering 109.6 to Van Gerwen’s 99.6, but missing costly darts at the double.
It looked a foregone conclusion in then early stages as the World Number One raced into a 4-0 lead, firing a 12 darter and capitalising on six missed darts from Dobey to break twice.
A 10-dart leg, the best of the final, saw Dobey get his first leg on the board and gain a glimmer of hope.
He then broke throw to get a second on the board and trail by two.
But Van Gerwen produced a moment of brilliance in the seventh leg, landing a stunning 160 checkout with Dobey sitting on tops to move to within a leg of victory.
In the eighth and final leg, the Dutchman struck D8 to seal the victory and a third Players Championship title of the 2018.
Dropping just 18 legs all day, Van Gerwen was at his clinical best at Arena MK.
However, he survived a scare in the opening game of the day, squeezing past Ricky Evans in a last-leg decider.
He followed this with comfortable 6-3 wins over Jeffrey De Zwaan and Keegan Brown, before seeing off Jimmy Hendriks 6-2.
Despite facing a 108 average from Gary Anderson, he brought an end to the newly crowned UK Open Champion’s 27-game unbeaten streak with a 6-1 victory.
Finally, a 103.7 average saw him overcome James Wade 6-2 to reach the final.
Dobey, playing in his second career ProTour final, was impressive throughout the day before falling at the final hurdle.
He started the day with a 6-0 whitewash victory over youngster Bradley Brooks, and backed that up with victory over James Wilson 6-4.
His biggest scalp of the day arguably came in the Last 32 stage as he saw off Dave Chisnall 6-2.
Next came a 6-4 victory over Stephen Burton, before seeing off Gabriel Clemens 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.
There he faced Ryan Searle, where he recovered from 5-4 down to reach the final, sealing the win with a stunning 112 checkout to break throw.
It was a welcome return to form on the floor for semi-finalist Wade, having reached the final in the first event of the year before three early exits.
The 34-year-old beat Richie Edhouse, John Goldie, Simon Stevenson, Wayne Jones and Premier League star Mensur Suljovic on his way.
Searle enjoyed his best run of 2018 by beating Mervyn King, Mark Dudbridge, Ron Meulenkamp, Alan Tabern and William O’Connor on his way to the Semi-Finals.
Elsewhere, it was a disappointing day for Rob Cross as he crashed out at the first round for the first time this year, losing to Luke Woodhouse.
Gerwyn Price, who is still without a win in the Unibet Premier League, found further frustration on the floor as he crashed out in the first round to Micky Mansell.
Peter Wright, also struggling for form recently, was a second round casualty at the hands of Brendan Dolan.
The action continues in Milton Keynes on Sunday with Players Championship Six being played.
Players Championship Five Results
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Ricky Evans
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5 Adam Hunt
Keegan Brown 6-1 Eddie Dootson
Tytus Kanik 6-4 Tony Newell
Stephen Bunting 6-1 Gary Eastwood
Paul Nicholson 6-0 Kevin Burness
Kyle Anderson 6-3 Robert Owen
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Maik Langendorf
Gary Anderson 6-1 Paul Rowley
Davy Van Baelen 6-4 Arron Monk
Michael Barnard 6-2 Richard North
Robert Marijanovic 6-2 Aden Kirk
Max Hopp 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-1 Jan Dekker
Cameron Menzies 6-2 Cristo Reyes
Peter Hudson 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Mensur Suljovic 6-0 Ross Twell
Mark Wilson 6-5 Kevin Painter
Ronny Huybrechts 6-1 Robert Thornton
Christian Kist 6-3 Dawson Murschell
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Joe Murnan
Kirk Shepherd 6-4 George Killington
Terry Jenkins 6-4 Benito van de Pas
John Part 6-3 Mick McGowan
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Jamie Caven
Simon Stevenson 6-1 Jamie Bain
James Wade 6-3 Ritchie Edhouse
John Goldie 6-1 James Richardson
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Madars Razma
Steve Lennon 6-1 Terry Temple
Steve Beaton 6-3 Mark Webster
Wayne Jones 6-5 Luke Humphries
Peter Wright 6-2 Josh Payne
Brendan Dolan 6-4 Ross Smith
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Jason Cullen
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Martin Schindler
Darren Webster 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Ryan Joyce 6-2 Ben Burton
John Henderson 6-3 Scott Taylor
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 Chris Quantock
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Diogo Portela
Simon Preston 6-2 Jamie Lewis
James Wilson 6-2 Jose Justicia
Chris Dobey 6-0 Bradley Brooks
Ian White 6-5 Mario Robbe
Stephen Burton 6-0 Ryan Harrington
Steve West 6-2 Alan Norris
Jarred Cole 6-1 Sven Groen
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Joe Cullen
Matthew Edgar 6-3 Prakash Jiwa
Peter Jacques 6-4 Vincent van der Voort
Richie Burnett 6-4 Danny Noppert
Mickey Mansell 6-3 Gerwyn Price
William O'Connor 6-3 Toni Alcinas
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Martin Atkins (Wigan)
Jim Brown 6-3 Martin Lukeman
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Rob Cross
Alan Tabern 6-1 Robbie Green
Justin Pipe 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Vincent Kamphuis 6-3 Ryan Meikle
Ryan Searle 6-2 Mervyn King
Mark Dudbridge 6-5 Darren Johnson
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Steve Hine
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Keegan Brown 6-5 Tytus Kanik
Paul Nicholson 6-1 Stephen Bunting
Jimmy Hendriks 6-3 Kyle Anderson
Gary Anderson 6-0 Davy Van Baelen
Robert Marijanovic 6-3 Michael Barnard
Jeffrey de Graaf 6-1 Max Hopp
Cameron Menzies 6-1 Peter Hudson
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Mark Wilson
Ronny Huybrechts 6-3 Christian Kist
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Kirk Shepherd
Terry Jenkins 6-4 John Part
Simon Stevenson 6-3 Daryl Gurney
James Wade 6-2 John Goldie
Steve Lennon 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Wayne Jones 6-5 Steve Beaton
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Peter Wright
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Darren Webster
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 John Henderson
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Simon Preston
Chris Dobey 6-4 James Wilson
Stephen Burton 6-3 Ian White
Steve West 6-4 Jarred Cole
Matthew Edgar 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Richie Burnett 6-5 Peter Jacques
William O'Connor 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Jim Brown
Alan Tabern 6-4 Luke Woodhouse
Vincent Kamphuis 6-4 Justin Pipe
Ryan Searle 6-5 Mark Dudbridge
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Keegan Brown
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Gary Anderson 6-3 Robert Marijanovic
Cameron Menzies 6-4 Jeffrey de Graaf
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Ronny Huybrechts
Terry Jenkins 6-1 Jelle Klaasen
James Wade 6-5 Simon Stevenson
Wayne Jones 6-3 Steve Lennon
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Gabriel Clemens 6-2 Ryan Joyce
Chris Dobey 6-2 Dave Chisnall
Stephen Burton 6-5 Steve West
Matthew Edgar 6-4 Richie Burnett
William O'Connor 6-3 Adrian Lewis
Alan Tabern 6-2 Vincent Kamphuis
Ryan Searle 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Last 1 6
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Jimmy Hendriks
Gary Anderson 6-2 Cameron Menzies
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Terry Jenkins
James Wade 6-4 Wayne Jones
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Chris Dobey 6-4 Stephen Burton
William O'Connor 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Ryan Searle 6-1 Alan Tabern
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Gary Anderson
James Wade 6-3 Mensur Suljovic
Chris Dobey 6-2 Gabriel Clemens
Ryan Searle 6-3 William O'Connor
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 James Wade
Chris Dobey 6-5 Ryan Searle
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Chris Dobey
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