Darter Raymond van Barneveld achieved his first success during his return to the PDC ProTour. The five-time world champion won the third tournament of the Players Championship (Super Series 1) in Bolton. In the final, he defeated Briton Joe Cullen, who had won the first tournament on Thursday, 8-6. It was his first PDC ranking title in eight years.
Van Barneveld showed himself mentally strong in the final battle. He came back twice (2-4 and 4-5) and appeared to have the strongest nerves in the decisive phase. ‘Barney’ was left with about 11,500 euros in prize money from his triumph.
Van Barneveld had a rough start in Bolton. He went down in his first match on Thursday and stranded in his second game on Friday. On the third day of the tournament, the 53-year-old resident of The Hague occasionally resembled the old ‘Barney’. He won his matches with high averages and also recorded a finish of 170 points. He won the final with an average of 94.4.
“Initially I had a lot of stress here”, Van Barneveld admitted after his final win. “But today everything went well. I finally had my focus again. I missed that in the last two or three years. In the final it went surprisingly well. I am really happy. Of course I had doubts on my way back. But I also had confidence, thanks to the many hours of training I have done. I didn’t want to give up and now I am here again, as the winner.
Sunday is the final day of the PDC Super Series 1 in Bolton. Michael van Gerwen has not been able to make much of an impression in the first event of the ProTour so far.
Van Barneveld ended his brilliant darts career at the beginning of 2020. More than six months later, he announced his return. ‘Barney’ secured his tour card in Germany last week.