Haupai Puha pulled off a shock First Round scalp of Jonny Clayton at the Queensland Darts Masters in Townsville on…
Haupai Puha pulled off a shock First Round scalp of Jonny Clayton at the Queensland Darts Masters in Townsville on Friday.
New Zealand qualifier Puha registered his first win on the World Series stage with an impressive 6-2 success over the world number seven.
The wasteful Welshman squandered 13 darts at doubles and Puha took full advantage to set up a Quarter-Final clash with three-time World Champion Michael van Gerwen.
The former World Cup of Darts quarter-finalist drew first blood with legs of 13 and 11 darts, and although Clayton threatened a late comeback, Puha kept his cool to prevail.
Meanwhile, Simon Whitlock produced a classy display to dispatch world number five James Wade 6-2 in his first appearance on home soil since 2019.
Whitlock’s mother was in the audience to watch him play for the first time in his career, and he made a blistering start to race into a 4-0 lead.
Wade opened his account with a classy 124 checkout, but only for Whitlock to follow up a clinical 78 finish with a 13-darter to complete the job.
“Honestly, this means more to me than a lot of things because my mum was here to watch me play for the first time ever,” said an emotional Whitlock.
“To see the look on her face when I won, I was like ‘yeah that’s it’.”
Elsewhere, Queenslander Gordon Mathers made it three wins for the Oceanic qualifiers with a 6-3 defeat of Fallon Sherrock.
Despite enduring double trouble in the latter stages, Mathers outperformed Sherrock to secure his first World Series victory at the third attempt.
Newly crowned Women’s World Matchplay Champion Sherrock was well below her best, but she did produce a superb 160 checkout in leg four to open her account.
The home stars were close to enjoying further success in Townsville, as Whitlock’s World Cup partner Heta lost out in a thriller to world number one Gerwyn Price.
Heta produced a superb 136 checkout to move 4-2 ahead, but 128 and 120 finishes from Price forced a dramatic last-leg shoot-out.
In the decider, Price almost finished the match in sensational style, hitting eight perfect darts before missing double 12 for his fifth televised nine-darter of 2022.
However, the Welshman did complete the win with an 11-darter to gain some semblance of revenge for Wales’ recent World Cup of Darts defeat to Australia.
Michael van Gerwen also survived a scare in his opener, scraping home against Western Australia’s Bailey Marsh – who impressed on his televised debut.
The 20-year-old gave the Dutch superstar a major scare after moving 4-2 ahead, but Van Gerwen showed his class in the decider to triumph 6-5 in a nervy affair.
Masters champion Joe Cullen produced the performance of the night on his Debut Down Under, whitewashing Sydney’s Dave Marland 6-0 with a 108.6 average and six maximums along the way.
US Masters champion Michael Smith was also in fine form, whitewashing TV debutant Joe Comito with a 104.8 average, four 180s and 60 per cent on the outer ring.
Dimitri Van den Bergh began his bid for a third consecutive World Series crown with a 6-2 victory over New Zealand’s Koha Kokiri.
The Belgian ace, who claimed wins at the Nordic Masters and Dutch Masters in June, kicked off the tournament with a brilliant 164 checkout – the highest of the night – en route to a convincing win.
The Queensland Darts Masters will conclude with a blockbuster session on Saturday, featuring the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and final.
Queensland Darts Masters 2022 Day One Results
Friday August 12
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Koha Kokiri
Joe Cullen 6-0 Dave Marland
Jonny Clayton 2-6 Haupai Puha
Fallon Sherrock 3-6 Gordon Mathers
James Wade 2-6 Simon Whitlock
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Bailey Marsh
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Damon Heta
Michael Smith 6-0 Joe Comito
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