Victory for sensational Smith

What a few days it’s been for Unicorn star Michael Smith.

After beating Gary Anderson in the Premier League, the St Helens sharp shooter reached the final of the 1st UK Open qualifier 24 hours later before losing to Michael van Gerwen.

But on Sunday at the 3rd UK Open qualifying event, he went one better winning the event as he thrashed Austrian Zoran Lerchbacher 6-0 in the final in Wigan.

And this win moves the Unicorn man back up to No.9 in the world. He was in fabulous form all day and got his revenge with a superb win over Van Gerwen in the quarter-finals. Smith dropped only 10 legs all day and there were three whitewashes along the way too!

His 6-1 thrashing of Van Gerwen was the highlight though, as he won five of the six legs in 15 darts or less with a 101 average. He also hit a 120 check-out....20, bull, bull.

“I know I am playing well again and losing to Michael on Friday hurt,” he said. “I knew I had a win in me this weekend. My goal this year is to win a TV title. It’s all about confidence and I believe in myself again.”

In his semi-final 6-4 win over David Pallett, ‘Bully Boy’ was on the bull again. He won the match with an audacious 132 finish...bull, bull, D16.

Then against Lerchbacher in the final the result was never in doubt. Michael nailed finishes of 78, 66, 111 and then a two dart 89 check-out to win the title.

Joe Cullen reached the quarter-finals but was edged out 6-4 by Pallett, who also beat another Unicorn man in the shape of Kim Huybrechts in the last 16. At the same stage Keegan Brown lost in a last leg decider to James Wilson.

But this was Smith’s day and deservedly so.....£10,000 more in prize money and a guaranteed seed for the UK Open Finals in Minehead in three weeks time.

Story from STUART PYKE

Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustog / PDC