Luke Humphries produced the performance of his career to claim BoyleSports World Grand Prix glory in Leicester on Sunday, overcoming Gerwyn Price 5-2 in a thrilling final.
Former World Youth Champion Humphries, 28, claimed his first televised ranking title and £120,000 with the triumph, and also moves above Price to a career-high fourth on the PDC Order of Merit.
Price had been bidding to win his second World Grand Prix title as he competed in a third final in four years – and made a brilliant start to win the first set without reply.
Humphries, though, took nine of the next 11 legs in a three-set burst which turned the game on its head and moved him 3-1 up at Leicester’s Morningside Arena.
Price defied a 170 from Humphries to hit back by winning the fifth set in a decider, but the next two went to the Englishman as he went on to seal a memorable triumph with a sensational 138 checkout.
“I’ve imagined this moment for my whole career – it’s very emotional,” admitted Humphries, who averaged 93.30 in the double-start format in the final.
“Regardless of anything else I’ve done in my career, that was the greatest game I’ve ever played in my life.
“That 138 is probably one of the best shots I’ve ever seen in my career, let alone [to win] the title. If I didn’t hit that, we go off to the break and Gezzy feels that he’s back in the game.
“I couldn’t have picked a better ending for my first major title. I think a lot of people wrote me off tonight, they thought Gezzy would steamroll me, but I’ve got a bit of bottle about me, I have got the ability to play well.
“As much as I played well, that was a great final and I think Gezzy played his part there. He was a massive part of such a great game and credit goes to him.”
Price punished some nervy starting doubles from Humphries in set one, taking the set without reply, before a sparkling 12-darter – which featured just ten scoring darts – saw the Englishman get off the mark in set two.
Humphries took the set 3-1 and matched that score in set three, despite an 11-darter from Price, before taking the fourth without reply to move 3-1 up in the match.
Humphries opened the fifth with a rousing 170 checkout, but Price responded with a 117 checkout and punished misses from his rival to claim the set in a decider to hit back.
The sixth set also went to a deciding leg, with the pair trading 180s before Humphries pinned double eight to move 4-2 up and close in on glory.
Price led 1-0 and 2-1 in the seventh set, but Humphries levelled and then took out an unforgettable 138 checkout to seal the title.
Humphries had lost in the 2021 UK Open final, but has made sustained progress up the rankings since – producing a string of successes on the European Tour to consolidate his stage experience.
“I said [after the semi-finals] that we will see what Luke Humphries is made of tomorrow; whether I’ve got or I ain’t – and I think I proved now to myself that I have got it,” he added.
“Sometimes in my career, my Achilles heel has been my doubles and it’s quite funny that the major championship I pick up is the double start!
“I think this is the first in a lot [of titles] that will come over the years, but we’re in an era where there’s so many great players and these are hard to come by.
“I dedicate this to my dad, because without him I wouldn’t be here right now. It’s been 13, 14 years since I first picked up a dart and now I’m a major champion.
“I’ve worked extremely hard in the last few years, lost a lot of weight, battled many things in my head to get to this point and it makes it all worth it having this trophy.”
Price averaged 91 in reply to Humphries, and the Welshman hit half of his attempts at a starting double and 52% of his finishing doubles as he fought bravely to regain the coveted trophy.
However, the Welshman admitted: “I’m absolutely gutted.
“I didn’t help myself early on. Luke played fantastic and he’s a worthy winner. I think I played better than him tonight, he just played really well at the right times.
“Fair play to Luke, he deserves the win.”
2023 BoyleSports World Grand Prix
Sunday October 8
Luke Humphries 5-2 Gerwyn Price (1-3, 3-1, 3-1, 3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 3-2)