Luke Humphries claimed a first televised ranking title at the 2023 World Grand Prix with a sensational 5-2 win over…
Luke Humphries claimed a first televised ranking title at the 2023 World Grand Prix with a sensational 5-2 win over Gerwyn Price in Leicester.
Humphries enjoyed the most memorable night of his darting life to date as he toppled the 2021 Grand Prix champion and became the latest new winner of a PDC major.
The 28-year-old recovered from a set down to dominate the final and capture the £120,000 top prize, which sees him climb in to the world’s top four for the first time.
Price had been bidding to become only the fourth multiple winner of the double-start event, and the Welshman made a strong start to seal the first set without reply.
Humphries, though, claimed nine of the next 11 legs in a three-set burst which turned the game on its head and moved him 3-1 up at the Morningside Arena.
Price defied a majestic 170 checkout from Humphries to hit back by winning the fifth set in a deciding leg, but the next two went to the Englishman as he went on to seal a fairy-tale triumph with a sensational 138 checkout.
“I’ve imagined this moment for my whole career – it’s very emotional,” admitted Humphries, who sunk to his knees after landing the winning double 12.
“Regardless of anything else I’ve done in my career, that was the greatest game I’ve ever played in my life.
“That 138 is probably one of the best shots I’ve ever seen in my career, let alone [to win] the title. If I didn’t hit that, we go off to the break and Gezzy feels that he’s back in the game.
“I couldn’t have picked a better ending for my first major title. I think a lot of people wrote me off tonight, they thought Gezzy would steamroll me, but I’ve got a bit of bottle about me, I have got the ability to play well.
“As much as I played well, that was a great final and I think Gezzy played his part there. He was a massive part of such a great game and credit goes to him.”
Price punished some nervy starting doubles from Humphries in set one, taking the set without reply, before a sparkling 12-darter – which featured just ten scoring darts – saw ‘Cool Hand’ get off the mark in set two.
Humphries took the set 3-1 and matched that score in set three, despite an 11-darter from Price, before taking the fourth without reply to move 3-1 ahead.
Humphries kicked off the fifth with a rousing 170 checkout – the first of the tournament – but Price responded with a 117 finish and punished misses from his rival to secure the set in a decider.
The sixth set also went to a deciding leg, with the pair trading 180s before Humphries pinned double eight to move 4-2 up and close in on glory.
Price led 1-0 and 2-1 in the seventh, but Humphries levelled and then took out an unforgettable 138 to seal the title.
Humphries had lost in the 2021 UK Open final, but has made sustained progress up the rankings since – producing a string of successes on the European Tour to consolidate his stage experience.
“I said [after the semi-finals] that we will see what Luke Humphries is made of tomorrow; whether I’ve got or I ain’t – and I think I proved now to myself that I have got it,” he added.
“Sometimes in my career, my Achilles heel has been my doubles and it’s quite funny that the major championship I pick up is the double start!
“I think this is the first in a lot [of titles] that will come over the years, but we’re in an era where there’s so many great players and these are hard to come by.
“I dedicate this to my dad, because without him I wouldn’t be here right now. It’s been 13, 14 years since I first picked up a dart and now I’m a major champion.
“I’ve worked extremely hard in the last few years, lost a lot of weight, battled many things in my head to get to this point and it makes it all worth it having this trophy.”
Price averaged 91 in reply to Humphries’ 93.3, and the Welshman hit half of his attempts at a starting double and 52 per cent of his finishing doubles as he fought bravely to regain the coveted trophy.
Price admitted: “I’m absolutely gutted. I didn’t help myself early on.
“Luke played fantastic and he’s a worthy winner. I think I played better than him tonight, he just played really well at the right times.
“Fair play to Luke, he deserves the win.”