Template - Date: PDC Players Championship 4

SIMON WHITLOCK won his third PDC ranking title of 2017 as he defeated surprise package Darren Johnson 6-3 in the final of Sunday’s Players Championship Four in Barnsley, where Joe Cullen landed a nine-dart finish.

Whitlock followed up his ProTour double of two Coral UK Open Qualifier wins in February by taking home the £10,000 first prize to complete the weekend’s tournaments at the Barnsley Metrodome. The Australian’s return to form began with a pair of Players Championship wins in the latter part of 2016, and he continued his winning streak in style.

Early wins over Scott Darbyshire, Devon Petersen and Andy Jenkins moved Whitlock into the last 16, where he overcame last Sunday’s UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price 6-4. He then defeated world number two Gary Anderson 6-5 – after surviving a missed match dart from the two-time World Champion – before seeing off Kim Huybrechts 6-3 in the semi-finals.

As he had in the last four, Whitlock raced into a 3-0 against Johnson in the final, and after double three put the Yorkshireman on the board it was the Australian who took the next two for a 5-1 cushion. Two missed match darts in leg seven allowed Johnson to keep his hopes alive, before he took out 100 to pull back to 5-3, but Whitlock’s scoring power was too strong in leg nine as the Australian set up double two for victory.

Johnson’s performance was his best-ever on the PDC circuit, with the Mexborough man last having reached a ProTour semi-final six years ago. After opening his day with wins over Betway Premier League stars Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld, Johnson then defeated Dutch duo Jimmy Hendriks and Benito van de Pas and Coventry’s Steve Hine to move into the last four.

There, he held his nerve against World Champion Michael van Gerwen, who hit back from 5-3 down to force a decider only to see Johnson hit a 180 in a 13-darter to secure his spot in the final. Although he failed to defeat Whitlock, Johnson’s day – which included wins over four players from the world’s top 16 – saw the Mexborough thrower earn £6,000 in prize money.

Huybrechts followed up his nine-dart finish on Saturday with a run to the semi-finals on Sunday, with Van Gerwen also progressing to the last four to claim £3,000 in prize money. Anderson’s bid to win a second Players Championship of the year ended in the last eight alongside Ian White, Van de Pas and Dirk van Duijvenbode.

Dutch youngster Van Duijvenbode progressed to his first quarter-final on the ProTour since July 2015, defeating Ryan Searle, Jamie Bain, Cristo Reyes and Christian Kist before being edged out by Huybrechts.

Joe Cullen landed his first competitive nine-dart finish as he hit the 11th perfect leg of the year during his second round win over Jim Brown, scoring two 180s before finishing 141 with treble 20, treble 15 and double 18.

Players Championship Four

Sunday March 12th Barnsley Metrodome

First Round

Michael van Gerwen (1) 6-2 Vincent van der Voort
Wes Newton 6-2 Jan Dekker
Josh Payne (32) 6-4 Aden Kirk
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Jonathan Worsley
Joe Cullen (16) 6-1 Robert Owen
Jim Brown 6-2 Max Hopp
Steve West (17) 6-4 Chris Quantock
Paul Nicholson 6-5 Richard North
Ian White (8) 6-5 Jeffrey de Graaf
Matt Clark 6-1 Warrick Scheffer
Colin Roelofs 6-4 Ronny Huybrechts (25)
Rob Cross 6-3 Brendan Dolan
James Wade (9) 6-3 Ronnie Baxter
Richie Corner 6-5 Paul Rowley
Richie Burnett 6-2 Mervyn King (24)
Mike De Decker 6-3 Mick McGowan
Darren Johnson 6-4 Dave Chisnall (5)
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Haruki Muramatsu
Jimmy Hendriks 6-5 Darren Webster (28)
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-5 Mark Walsh
Michael Smith (12) 6-1 Antonio Alcinas
Steve Hine 6-4 Sven Groen
Chris Dobey (21) 6-1 Scott Taylor
John Norman Jnr 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Benito van de Pas (4) 6-2 Andy Hamilton
Terry Roach 6-0 Jamie Lewis
Robbie Green (29) 6-2 Stuart Kellett
Ryan Palmer 6-5 Andy Parsons
Jelle Klaasen (13) 6-5 Mark Webster
Ted Evetts 6-3 Vincent Kamphuis
Steve Beaton (20) 6-0 Ross Twell
Lee Bryant 6-1 Brian Woods
Peter Wright (2) 6-4 Martin Schindler
Christian Kist 6-2 Harry Robinson
Bryan de Hoog 6-5 Jamie Caven (31)
John Henderson 6-5 Mickey Mansell
Jamie Bain 6-2 Stephen Bunting (15)
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-4 Ryan Searle
Cristo Reyes (18) 6-4 Darron Brown
Ron Meulenkamp 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Tony Newell 6-2 Alan Norris (7)
James Richardson 6-1 Shaun Griffiths
Steve Lennon 6-5 Robert Thornton (26)
David Pallett 6-2 Maik Langendorf
Kim Huybrechts (10) 6-3 Paul Harvey
Peter Hudson 6-5 Matthew Dennant
James Wilson (23) 6-1 Ray Campbell
Kevin Painter 6-0 John Bowles
Simon Whitlock (6) 6-3 Scott Darbyshire
Devon Petersen 6-2 Ricky Evans
Andy Jenkins 6-5 Justin Pipe (27)
Terry Temple 6-4 Simon Stevenson
Gerwyn Price (11) 6-4 John Michael
Andrew Gilding 6-4 Simon Preston
Daryl Gurney (22) 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Yordi Meeuwisse 6-3 Joe Murnan
Mensur Suljovic (3) 6-1 Matthew Edgar
Kirk Shepherd 6-4 Berry van Peer
William O’Connor 6-5 Jermaine Watimena (30)
Mick Todd 6-3 Andy Boulton
Gary Anderson (14) 6-5 Stephen Burton
Keegan Brown 6-2 Ryan Meikle
Kyle Anderson (19) 6-4 Mark Barilli
Dennis Smith 6-5 Ricky Williams

Second Round

Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Wes Newton
Josh Payne 6-3 Jonny Clayton
Joe Cullen 6-2 Jim Brown – Joe Cullen hits nine-dart finish

Steve West 6-5 Paul Nicholson
Ian White 6-1 Matt Clark
Rob Cross 6-0 Colin Roelofs
James Wade 6-2 Richie Corner
Mike De Decker 6-4 Richie Burnett
Darren Johnson 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Jimmy Hendriks 6-4 Zoran Lerchbacher
Steve Hine 6-4 Michael Smith
Chris Dobey 6-4 John Norman Jnr
Benito van de Pas 6-2 Terry Roach
Robbie Green 6-3 Ryan Palmer
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Ted Evetts
Steve Beaton 6-5 Lee Bryant
Christian Kist 6-4 Peter Wright
John Henderson 6-2 Bryan de Hoog
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Jamie Bain
Cristo Reyes 6-4 Ron Meulenkamp
Tony Newell 6-4 James Richardson
David Pallett 6-4 Steve Lennon
Kim Huybrechts 6-0 Peter Hudson
James Wilson 6-3 Kevin Painter
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Devon Petersen
Andy Jenkins 6-0 Terry Temple
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Yordi Meeuwisse
Mensur Suljovic 6-1 Kirk Shepherd
William O’Connor 6-3 Mick Todd
Gary Anderson 6-5 Keegan Brown
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Dennis Smith
Losers £500

Third Round

Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Josh Payne
Steve West 6-5 Joe Cullen
Ian White 6-4 Rob Cross
James Wade 6-2 Mike De Decker
Darren Johnson 6-3 Jimmy Hendriks
Steve Hine 6-3 Chris Dobey
Benito van de Pas 6-3 Robbie Green
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Steve Beaton
Christian Kist 6-2 John Henderson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 Cristo Reyes
David Pallett 6-5 Tony Newell
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 James Wilson
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Gerwyn Price 6-4 Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 William O’Connor
Gary Anderson 6-2 Kyle Anderson
Losers £1,000

Fourth Round

Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Steve West
Ian White 6-3 James Wade
Darren Johnson 6-5 Steve Hine
Benito van de Pas 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Christian Kist
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 David Pallett
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Losers £1,500


Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Ian White
Darren Johnson 6-5 Benito van de Pas
Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-6 Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Gary Anderson
Losers £2,250


Darren Johnson 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Simon Whitlock 6-4 Kim Huybrechts
Losers £3,000


Darren Johnson 3-6 Simon Whitlock
Winner £10,000
Runner-Up £6,000