Former Grand Prix finalist Dolan celebrates (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Brendan Dolan ended a five-year wait for a PDC ranking title at Players Championship 22 in Hildesheim with an 8-5 victory over Jermaine Wattimena in the final.
Dolan, who enjoyed a prolific spell in 2013 and 2014 with five ranking titles, had dropped out of the world’s top 32 in recent years, but returned to the winner’s enclosure on an emotional Sunday in Germany.
The Northern Irishman had shown glimpses of a return to form in last December’s World Championship, where he reached the Quarter-Finals for the first time, and proved he still has what it takes to win titles at the top level on a memorable day at Halle 39.
“I just can’t believe it,” admitted a tearful Dolan. “It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
“I’ve worked so hard and I haven’t got results out of it. Yesterday, the way I played was unbelievably bad and I sent my wife a text. She told me to wise up.
“I used to always say that if I get past the first round then I’m dangerous. I’ve tried really hard this last 18 months and not got the results, but I’ve performed really well.
“I think I’ve got the luck on the day today and it’s just great to get a win.
“This game’s all about pressure, mental pressure. I pressurise myself all the time, and my wife told took all the pressure off me and told me just to play darts.”
Dolan immediately registered a ton average in edging past Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-5, and after seeing off Alan Norris and Chris Dobey, ‘The History Maker’ then averaged almost 107 to deny Dave Chisnall in a deciding leg.
Dolan repeated that scoreline in a narrow Quarter-Final win over Glen Durrant and averaged above 100 again in a commanding 7-3 win over Cody Harris in the Last Four.
The opening stages of the final proved tight as Dolan and Wattimena shared the opening four legs, before a 13-darter saw the Northern Irishman break in leg five.
Wattimena finished 86 to break back and level, but a superb 11-darter from Dolan sparked a run of four straight legs as he moved one away from victory at 7-3.
Wattimena landed 180s in the next two as legs of 13 and 14 darts saw the Dutchman battle back, but Dolan finished 108 to emotionally secure the title.
Wattimena’s run on the day saw him reach a second Players Championship final of the year, but the World Cup representative was again left waiting for his first ranking title.
He overcame fellow countrymen Christian Kist and Jelle Klaasen in his opening two games, before seeing off Ryan Joyce and Gabriel Clemens.
Wattimena then missed double 12 for a nine-darter during his 6-2 Quarter-Final win over Steve Beaton, before coming from 4-0 down to prevail 7-6 against Mensur Suljovic – claiming a first victory over the Austrian at the seventh attempt and avenging his recent World Matchplay thrashing.
Suljovic had won through to his first Players Championship Semi-Final for nearly two years, while New Zealand’s Harris was appearing in the Last Four on the ProTour for the first time.
Harris recently won his second Challenge Tour title, and warmed up for his appearance in the forthcoming New Zealand Darts Masters, with five wins on Sunday, including a 6-4 Quarter-Final defeat of Saturday’s winner – Krzysztof Ratajski.
Ratajski, Beaton and Durrant were joined in the Quarter-Finals by top seed Ian White, while 2019 Players Championship winners Chisnall and Harry Ward reached the last 16 alongside World Matchplay finalist Michael Smith and German Darts Masters runner-up Gabriel Clemens.
Players Championship 22 Results
Sunday August 4
Ian White 6-2 Mario Robbe
Reece Robinson 6-2 Michael Barnard
William O’Connor 6-3 Bradley Brooks
Gavin Carlin 6-4 Callan Rydz
Mike De Decker 6-5 Danny Noppert
Adrian Gray 6-3 Vincent Van der Meer
Jamie Hughes 6-3 Justin Pipe
Harry Ward 6-4 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Berry van Peer
Wayne Jones 6-5 George Killington
James Wilson 6-2 Steve Lennon
Ryan Meikle 6-3 Jan Dekker
Michael Smith 6-2 David Pallett
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 Richard North
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Christian Bunse 6-5 Jose De Sousa
Joe Cullen 6-2 Steve West
Luke Humphries 6-1 Kevin Burness
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Davy Van Baelen
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Robert Owen
Steve Beaton 6-3 Mark McGeeney
Danny van Trijp 6-3 Simon Stevenson
Keegan Brown 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Mike van Duivenbode 6-2 Jerry Hendriks
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Carl Wilkinson
Mark Wilson 6-4 Cristo Reyes
Gabriel Clemens 6-1 Scott Taylor
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Kevin Garcia
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 Christian Kist
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Jose Justicia
Raymond van Barneveld 6-5 Mervyn King
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Ronny Huybrechts
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Kirk Shepherd
Peter Hudson 6-4 Tom Lonsdale
Andy Boulton 6-1 Ross Smith
Joe Murnan 6-4 Dave Prins
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Alan Norris 6-3 Adam Hunt
Chris Dobey 6-5 Jonathan Worsley
Justin Smith 6-5 Zoran Lerchbacher
Ricky Evans 6-5 Scott Baker
Martin Schindler 6-3 Darius Labanauskas
Ryan Harrington 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Mark Webster 6-5 Vincent Kamphuis
Glen Durrant 6-3 James Richardson
Madars Razma 6-4 Tytus Kanik
Darren Webster 6-1 Arjan Konterman
Maik Kuivenhoven 6-4 Yordi Meeuwisse
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Toni Alcinas
Cody Harris 6-5 Kim Huybrechts
Wessel Nijman 6-3 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Patrick van den Boogaard 6-5 Brett Claydon
Simon Whitlock 6-3 Barrie Bates
Marko Kantele 6-2 Josh Payne
Mickey Mansell 6-4 John Henderson
Conan Whitehead 6-1 Robert Marijanovic
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-1 Alan Tabern
Devon Petersen 6-0 Jamie Lewis
Ryan Searle 6-3 Ted Evetts
Matt Clark 6-3 Diogo Portela
Stephen Bunting 6-0 Robert Thornton
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Niels Zonneveld
Max Hopp 6-3 Matthew Edgar
Arron Monk 6-1 Tony Newell
Ian White 6-5 Reece Robinson
William O’Connor 6-1 Gavin Carlin
Mike De Decker 6-1 Adrian Gray
Harry Ward 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Wayne Jones
Ryan Meikle 6-5 James Wilson
Michael Smith 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Vincent van der Voort 6-2 Christian Bunse
Joe Cullen 6-3 Luke Humphries
Kyle Anderson 6-1 Benito van de Pas
Steve Beaton 6-5 Danny van Trijp
Mike van Duivenbode 6-5 Keegan Brown
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Mark Wilson
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Geert Nentjes
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Ryan Joyce 6-2 Raymond van Barneveld
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Peter Hudson
Andy Boulton 6-4 Joe Murnan
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Alan Norris
Chris Dobey 6-2 Justin Smith
Ricky Evans 6-3 Martin Schindler
Mark Webster 6-2 Ryan Harrington
Glen Durrant 6-3 Madars Razma
Darren Webster 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven
Cody Harris 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Wessel Nijman 6-4 Patrick van den Boogaard
Marko Kantele 6-5 Simon Whitlock
Conan Whitehead 6-2 Mickey Mansell
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Devon Petersen
Ryan Searle 6-1 Matt Clark
Stephen Bunting 6-3 Luke Woodhouse
Arron Monk 6-2 Max Hopp
Ian White 6-3 William O’Connor
Harry Ward 6-1 Mike De Decker
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Ryan Meikle
Michael Smith 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Joe Cullen 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Steve Beaton 6-2 Mike van Duivenbode
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Nathan Aspinall
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Ryan Joyce
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Andy Boulton
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Chris Dobey
Ricky Evans 6-2 Mark Webster
Glen Durrant 6-1 Darren Webster
Cody Harris 6-5 Wessel Nijman
Marko Kantele 6-5 Conan Whitehead
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Ryan Searle
Arron Monk 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Ian White 6-5 Harry Ward
Mensur Suljovic 6-3 Michael Smith
Steve Beaton 6-1 Joe Cullen
Jermaine Wattimena 6-5 Gabriel Clemens
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Glen Durrant 6-2 Ricky Evans
Cody Harris 6-1 Marko Kantele
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Arron Monk
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Ian White
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Steve Beaton
Brendan Dolan 6-5 Glen Durrant
Cody Harris 6-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jermaine Wattimena 7-6 Mensur Suljovic
Brendan Dolan 7-3 Cody Harris
Brendan Dolan 8-5 Jermaine Wattimena