MICHAEL SMITH admitted it was “unreal” to win the US Darts Masters at Madison Square Garden.
The St.Helens ace defeated Michael van Gerwen 8-4 to take the title in New York on Saturday night.
Smith, 31, beat Scots Gary Anderson 8-3 and then World Champ Peter Wright 8-6 on the way to the final before a powerhouse performance to KO MVG in the famous venue and take the £20,000.
He said: “I've won tournaments before but it's unreal to win at Madison Square Garden. Everyone wanted to win this event and it's unreal for me to be that person.
“I've just won a tournament in the most iconic venue in the world, and I'm the first person to do it. I'm ecstatic.
“I wasn't playing my best darts, but I put in a decent second half in the final. I did that earlier against Peter too and long may it continue.
“Michael's the same, we're capable of putting in four or five legs on the spin with no reply, and luckily I did.”
Smith had lost in the World Championship and UK Open finals earlier this year, but has won the final Cazoo Premier League night in Newcastle and a European Tour title in the nine days before his Madison Square Garden success.
He added: “I'm playing well and picking up titles, and it's unreal the way things have swung in my favour.
“Since I won the last night of the Premier League, my confidence has grown and grown. I wasn't chasing results, I was chasing wins and I've just won the first ever tournament at Madison Square Garden.
“Now that I'm making finals each week and winning them - and the way I'm winning them - is massive for my confidence and self-belief.”
By Phil Lanning