DAVE Chisnall is £25.000 richer today but it will be small consolation for his failure to lift his first major TV title - the PDC Masters darts crown at Milton Keynes on Sunday night.
The St Helens ace fell at the final hurdle, going down 11-6 to world no. 1 Michael van Gerwen.
The Dutchman started like a house on fire, taking the opening five legs without giving Chisnall a dart at a double, hitting four 180s in the process, and went on to finish 110 as he led 7-1.
Chisnall - who had hit back from 8-0 down to win his first round tie with Robert Thornton before also defeating Vincent van der Voort and James Wade - took three of the next four legs to threaten another comeback as he cut the gap to 8-4.
The next four were shared as Chisnall matched his rival’s tally of six 180s, but the world number ten was unable to claim another break of throw as van Gerwen held on to hit double five for the title.
Van Gerwen, who averaged 104 for the tournament, said: “I’m really happy to win this trophy. I really had to work for this and it was a hard day.
“I had a bit of luck but you can’t ask for anything more than to be holding the trophy at the end. Phil missed seven match darts, which he normally never does, and when someone gives you a chance like that you have to take it.
“At 5-0 in the final I knew the game was over. I had a couple of good finishes afterwards, held my own throw and it was enough to win the game.
“It was a tough day and I feel fantastic. It means a lot to me and I’m really glad to win this Unibet Masters again.
“I started last year exactly the same and we start the Premier League this Thursday, so that’s my aim now. I’ll enjoy this win and get myself ready to play James Wade in Leeds.”
Chisnall was appearing in the fourth televised final of his career, having hit a thrilling 12 maximums in his 11-6 semi-final win over James Wade, but the St Helens ace was left to take home the £25,000 runner-up prize.
“After being 8-0 down in the first round I didn’t expect to get through that, so it’s a great weekend to reach the final,” said Chisnall. “I’m not happy with how I played in the final but there were a few tired darts.
“I beat Michael in the World Grand Prix a couple of years ago and he’s punished me for it ever since! You can’t give him a head start like I did but he was too good there and he showed why he’s the world number one.
“I’m playing really well but it wasn’t meant to be and I’ll try again in the next tournament.”