RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD and James Wade began their PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic campaigns with victories on Thursday, while Adrian Lewis edged an epic against Vincent van der Voort.
Van Barneveld, the 2007 Desert Classic champion, produced an assured display to see off American Bill Davis 6-2 at the Mandalay Bay Resort.
He will now take on Co Stompe in an all-Dutch second round clash on Friday, while Wade meets Andy Hamilton.
World number two Wade, the reigning Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts champion, opened his title challenge with a nervy 6-3 win over New Zealander Phillip Hazel.
Wade led 2-0 before the rookie levelled, but the left-hander pulled clear from three-all to take victory.
The game of the day saw Adrian Lewis defeat Vincent van der Voort 6-5 in a thriller, with the young Stoke ace taking out 164 in the deciding leg to snatch victory.
Lewis faces Peter Manley for a third successive year in Las Vegas on Friday, after the 2003 champion overcame in-form Mark Walsh 6-4.
Walsh was joined in exiting the competition by Colin Osborne, who reached the final of the Blue Square UK Open in June but went down 6-4 to Stompe.
Premier League runner-up Mervyn King overcame debutant Louis Blundell 6-3, with a 6-2 win for Kevin Painter against Darin Young ensuring they meet in round two.
The remaining American hopes in the tournament were ended on Thursday, with California’s Chris White following Davis and Young out of the event with a 6-1 loss to Hamilton.
The second round takes place on Friday, including the clash between defending champion Phil Taylor and long-term rival Dennis Priestley.
PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic
Mervyn King 6-3 Louis Blundell
Andy Hamilton 6-1 Chris White
Peter Manley 6-4 Mark Walsh
Co Stompe 6-4 Colin Osborne
Raymond van Barneveld 6-2 Bill Davis
James Wade 6-3 Phillip Hazel
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Kevin Painter 6-2 Darin Young
Second Round Order of Play
James Wade v Andy Hamilton
Phil Taylor v Dennis Priestley
Adrian Lewis v Peter Manley
John Part v Jelle Klaasen
Wes Newton v Gary Anderson
Raymond van Barneveld v Co Stompe
Terry Jenkins v Colin Lloyd
Mervyn King v Kevin Painter
Best of 15 legs
Play begins at 10.30am local time (6.30pm BST)
MERVYN KING 6-3 LOUIS BLUNDELL
MERVYN KING ended the hopes of rookie Louis Blundell at the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a 6-3 first round victory.
King, beginning his third Desert Classic campaign, overcame some early nerves on the doubles to progress to the last 16 at the Mandalay Bay Resort.
He missed two darts to take the first leg against the throw, before debutant Blundell landed double 16 to get off the mark.
King also missed at double 16 in the second leg before hitting the same bed to level, and matched that in the fourth to level once more as the next two legs went with throw.
King also missed three darts to take leg five, with Blundell going into the break 3-2 up.
King levelled once more, and then secured the game’s first break by stepping in on double 16.
That was crucially followed by an 11-dart leg as King pushed 5-3 up, before he punished three further misses from Blundell to secure victory on double four.
ANDY HAMILTON 6-1 CHRIS WHITE
ANDY HAMILTON kicked off his PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic challenge with a 6-1 win over American ace Chris White.
Hamilton, a quarter-finalist in last year’s Desert Classic, never looked in trouble after the California-based qualifier let him take a 4-0 lead.
Hamilton broke throw in the opening leg on double 16, and punished a missed double top in the second to take out double four.
Stoke star Hamilton then posted a 180 in winning the third, and double eight put him four legs clear.
White stepped in to get off the mark in the next, following three misses from Hamilton, although the Englishman won leg six to move 5-1 up.
He then secured his second round spot on double ten, after White allowed four darts to continue the comeback slip away.
PETER MANLEY 6-4 MARK WALSH
PETER MANLEY celebrated his fifth wedding anniversary in style with a 6-4 win over Mark Walsh at the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic.
Manley married wife Crissy in Las Vegas back in 2004, and progression to the last 16 of this year’s event proved an ideal present as he picked up a key victory.
Walsh has recently replaced Manley in the top 16, forcing the 2003 Desert Classic champion to come through the qualifiers just to win a place in the main event.
However, he gained revenge over Walsh with a fine display, living up to his “One Dart” nickname with some clinical finishing.
He took out 100 to break Walsh’s throw in the opening leg, although the in-form Hertforshire star took out a superb 150 finish of treble 20, bullseye and double top to level.
Walsh also landed a 180 and a two-dart 68 finish to lead 2-1, only for Manley to produce a 106 checkout and a bullseye finish when on 90 to push himself ahead.
Double top moved Manley 4-2 up, and he also took led eight on double 12 to push a leg away from victory.
Manley landed a maximum to set up a finish in the next leg, only for Walsh to land double top and stay in the contest.
However, a superb 171 from Manley left him 24, and he landed double 12 to progress to the second round.
“It’s hard having to qualify but I’m really happy to win,” said Manley. “I’m enjoying this event and looking forward to the second round.
“I love darts and everything it’s given to me, every player can make a good living out of the game and it’s great to be a part of it.”
CO STOMPE 6-4 COLIN OSBORNE
CO STOMPE upset Colin Osborne 6-4 to move into the second round of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic.
Osborne recently reached the final of the Blue Square UK Open and also won a Players Championship, but never found that form in stuttering to defeat.
Stompe had won through the qualifiers for a second successive year, and set up an all-Dutch round two match on Friday against Raymond van Barneveld.
The game’s first two legs were shared before Stompe followed up a double 12 finish by landing double ten to punish four misses from Osborne and take a 3-1 lead.
Osborne stepped in to win the next against the throw before levelling, before the duo shared legs seven and eight to remain locked at four-all.
A 171 from Stompe edged him clear in leg nine, with a 180 from Osborne setting up a finish too late as the Dutchman took out double eight.
Derby star Osborne set up a potential nine-darter in the next, hitting successive 180s only to miss the seventh dart and let Stompe in to seal the win with a 13-darter on double eight.
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD 6-2 Bill Davis
RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD made a polished start to his bid for a second PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic title with a 6-2 win over Bill Davis.
The Dutchman has looked out of sorts for much of 2009, but swept aside the American’s challenge at Mandalay Bay.
He took the first leg comfortably and then landed a 110 finish in doubling the advantage.
Davis landed scores of 140 and 180 on his way to leg three, which he won on double ten, only to miss a dart at double 16 to level.
Van Barneveld stepped in to hit double four, and then moved 4-1 on double 16 before a missed double 11 in the next – for a 124 finish – allowed Davis to reduce the arrears
However, the Dutchman kicked off leg seven with a maximum and moved a leg away from the win on double 16, and punished misses from the American to send himself into the next round on double nine
JAMES WADE 6-3 PHILLIP HAZEL
JAMES WADE survived a scare against rookie Phillip Hazel before second his place in round two of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic.
World number two Wade, the recent Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts champion, roared out of the blocks with 180s in the first two legs before allowing qualifier Hazel to level and provide him with nervous moments before securing a 6-3 win.
Wade kicked off the match with a 13-darter, and landed a second 180 in the next as he established a 2-0 cushion.
Missed doubles in the next allowed Hazel to get off the mark on double 18, and the Kiwi hit a 180 in taking the fourth to square the game.
Wade fired in a 14-darter to edge the fifth, but a missed double top allowed Hazel in to level matters again on double eight.
Wade, last year’s runner-up, landed two double top finishes to move clear at 5-3, and landed a 180 in the next before sealing the win on double nine.
ADRIAN LEWIS 6-5 VINCENT VAN DER VOORT
ADRIAN LEWIS produced the shot of his career to take out 164 in the deciding leg of his thrilling PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic first round clash with Vincent van der Voort.
In a match which fully lived up to the pre-game hype, the quick-fire duo went all the way to an 11th leg at the Mandalay Bay Resort.
Van der Voort looked to have taken control when he left 92 after 12 darts with his opponent on 164 – only for Lewis to produce two treble 19s and a bullseye finish.
He now takes on Peter Manley in round two on Friday, with the pair meeting for a third successive year in the event, and Lewis admits he will be on a high.
“That was the best shot of my career, without a doubt,” said Lewis. “Vincent was sat on 92 so to take out 164 under that pressure is brilliant.
“I’m feeling really confident and if I can play like that throughout the week there’s no reason I can’t win this.
“It was an amazing last leg and a really good game. Vincent played really well and I was pleased with my grouping around the treble 20 as well as my finishing.”
The game’s first four legs all went with the throw before Lewis took out double top in the fifth to edge 3-2 up.
Van der Voort landed maximums in the next two to edge himself back ahead, only for Lewis to level on double 16 and go 5-4 up on tops.
He missed two match darts in the tenth, with a superb 101 finish from the Dutchman sending the game into a decider.
Lewis landed his first maximum of the contest in leg 11, before producing his sensational showpiece to snatch victory.
KEVIN PAINTER 6-2 DARIN YOUNG
KEVIN PAINTER ended American hopes at the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a 6-2 win over Darin Young.
Painter set up a tasty second round clash against Mervyn King at the Mandalay Bay Resort with a polished display.
Young kicked off the match with two 180s in an 11-darter, only for Painter to reply in 13 darts to break back and then take the third leg on tops.
Young defied a Painter 180 to win the fourth, but Painter took out double five to regain the lead and then tops to move 4-2 up.
Both players traded further maximums in leg seven, but Painter’s double eight crucially moved him a leg away from victory.
Young had his chances in the next, but four missed doubles allowed Painter to land 174 in setting up a double 16 game shot.