PHIL TAYLOR won a third successive Championship League Darts title with a superb 6-3 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the Winners Group Final at Crondon Park GC in Essex.
The World Champion continued his dominance of the year's big tournaments by winning the £10,000 first prize, a further £9,450 in prize money and a fourth title in six years of the internet-streamed event with another amazing day of days.
Taylor had earned his place in Thursday's Winners Group by taking victory in Group One of the tournament last night, hitting a nine-dart finish on that day.
After seeing his rival do battle in a further seven groups, Taylor returned to Crondon Park for the Winners Group, where he topped the league table with six victories from his seven matches, with only van Gerwen defeating the world number one in the round-robin stage.
Taylor initially picked up three 6-5 victories, over Andy Hamilton, Kim Huybrechts and Ian White, and then defeated Wes Newton 6-4 before bouncing back from his loss to the Dutchman with a narrow defeat of Terry Jenkins - in a high-quality contest - and a 6-3 win over Richie Burnett.
Taylor then dropped only one leg in a semi-final romp against Newton, where he averaged 106 and took out a 141 checkout in sealing his place in the final against van Gerwen, where he avenged his earlier defeat in stunning style with a 107 average.
Taylor won the final's first five legs without reply in a darting masterclass, opening with a 13-darter and then breaking throw with a 127 finish on the bullseye, after van Gerwen had scored 174 to leave 32.
Taylor then took out 92 on the bull and left the Dutch ace again waiting on 32 in leg four as he took out 86, while double ten in leg five moved him to the brink of glory.
Van Gerwen, though, hit a 180 in a 14-dart leg to get off the mark, matched the feat with a 67 finish in the seventh leg and continued the fightback by taking out 116 for a 12-darter in pulling back to 5-3.
Taylor, though, stepped up another gear to hit two 140s in the ninth leg, before taking out 81 for an 11-darter to complete another fine triumph - adding to the World Championship, UK Open, World Matchplay and World Grand Prix titles he has claimed already in 2013.
Van Gerwen took home the £5,000 runner-up prize as well as £5,100 prize money from the Winners Group - but having taken until Group Five to qualify ended the event as the highest money-earner with £23,400.
His win over Newton in the final round of matches sealed second place in the league table as he won five of his seven league games, and though he avened his 6-0 whitewash to Burnett in the league phase with a 6-2 semi-final triumph, he fell just short of another major title.
Burnett's brilliant 12-minute whitewash of the Dutchman was the Welsh star's highlight of a fine day, as he followed up Tuesday's Group Seven triumph by winning four league games to finish in third place in the league table.
Burnett took home £3,600 from the Winners Group as well as £2,500 for reaching the semi-finals alongside Newton, who won an additional £3,900 on the day as he finished fourth.
Stoke's Ian White and Belgian Kim Huybrechts both won three matches but missed out on the Play-Offs, with Andy Hamilton taking two victories and Terry Jenkins picking up his only victory by overcoming White in the final round of matches to end his opponent's semi-final hopes.
The tournament featured a record four nine-darters, with Taylor's Group One effort followed by perfect legs for van Gerwen, Huybrechts and Mervyn King, while a total of £177,450 prize money was paid out to the 29 competing players.
Championship League Darts Group Winners
Group One: Phil Taylor
Group Two: Andy Hamilton
Group Three: Wes Newton
Group Four: Terry Jenkins
Group Five: Michael van Gerwen
Group Six: Ian White
Group Seven: Richie Burnett
Group Eight: Kim Huybrechts
Winners Group: Phil Taylor
2013 Championship League Darts
Winners Group Results
|Board One||Board Two|
|Phil Taylor 6-5 Andy Hamilton||Richie Burnett 6-3 Kim Huybrechts|
|Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Ian White||Wes Newton 6-5 Terry Jenkins|
|Kim Huybrechts 5-6 Phil Taylor||Andy Hamilton 2-6 Richie Burnett|
|Terry Jenkins 2-6 Michael van Gerwen||Ian White 6-4 Wes Newton|
|Kim Huybrechts 2-6 Wes Newton||Phil Taylor 6-5 Ian White|
|Terry Jenkins 5-6 Richie Burnett||Andy Hamilton 1-6 Michael van Gerwen|
|Wes Newton 4-6 Phil Taylor||Kim Huybrechts 5-6 Ian White|
|Andy Hamilton 6-5 Terry Jenkins||Richie Burnett 6-0 Michael van Gerwen|
|Richie Burnett 5-6 Wes Newton||Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Phil Taylor|
|Ian White 5-6 Andy Hamilton||Terry Jenkins 3-6 Kim Huybrechts|
|Michael van Gerwen 3-6 Kim Huybrechts||Andy Hamilton 4-6 Wes Newton|
|Ian White 6-0 Richie Burnett||Phil Taylor 6-5 Terry Jenkins|
|Richie Burnett 3-6 Phil Taylor||Kim Huybrechts 6-3 Andy Hamilton|
|Terry Jenkins 6-3 Ian White||Wes Newton 5-6 Michael van Gerwen|
|Phil Taylor 6-1 Wes Newton||Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Richie Burnett|
|Phil Taylor 6-3 Michael van Gerwen|
|Michael van Gerwen|