PHIL Taylor ended an almost nine-month wait for a PDC ranking title with a stunning final victory against Michael van Gerwen at Coral UK Open Qualifier Three in Wigan on Sunday.
The 16-time World Champion, whose last ranking success had been in May 2015, averaged 109.6 in a 6-2 defeat of world number one van Gerwen to clinch the £10,000 winner’s cheque at Robin Park Tennis Centre.
Having lost out to Adrian Lewis in the decider of Friday’s UK Open Qualifier One, Taylor’s run to his second final of the weekend began with a 6-1 win against Ian Walters before deciding-leg victories against Steve West and Jamie Caven.
He then defeated Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney 6-2 to reach the last eight, where he saw off Peter Hudson 6-3.
Taylor defeated Welsh ace Mark Webster 6-3 in the semi-finals to set up a showdown with van Gerwen, where he claimed a dominant triumph.
Saturday’s champion van Gerwen continued his winning streak with early victories against Shaun Griffiths, Sven Groen and James Wilson for the loss of just a single leg.
He then defeated quick-fire Ricky Evans 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals, where he survived four match darts from John Henderson before sealing a 6-5 success.
Van Gerwen then whitewashed fellow Dutchman Benito van de Pas 6-0 for the second day in a row to reach the decider once again but was unable to complete a double triumph.
Van de Pas’ run to the last four included victories over Dave Chisnall and Joe Cullen, while fellow semi-finalist Webster claimed impressive wins against Premier League tars James Wade and Michael Smith before losing out to Taylor.
Scottish star Henderson, a semi-finalist on Friday, had beaten the likes of Brendan Dolan and Kim Huybrechts to reach the last eight.
Lancashire’s Hudson reached a PDC ProTour quarter-final for the second time in his career after a last 16 win against German prospect Rene Eidams, who claimed an impressive victory against Stephen Bunting earlier in the day.
World Champion Gary Anderson was forced to miss all three of the weekend’s treble-header of UK Open Qualifying events through illness, with the titles being shared between the three highest ranked players on the PDC Order of Merit in the world number two’s absence.
The remaining three qualifying events for March’s UK Open will take place in Wigan from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 February.