Damon Heta defied the odds to win the Brisbane Darts Masters, beating Rob Cross 8-7 in the final to become the second regional qualifier to win a World Series event on Saturday.
The Australian, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday, marked the occasion in style, as he followed up Friday’s 6-5 win against James Wade with victories over Gary Anderson (8-6), Simon Whitlock (8-6) and Cross.
Heta was the first Australian to reach a World Series final, since the all-Aussie clash between Kyle Anderson and Corey Cadby in the 2017 Auckland Darts Masters, and the first to do so in his home country.
In the final against the recent World Matchplay winner Cross, Heta battled back from 3-1 and 6-4 down, and in the decider hit a superb 170 set-up shot to leave double 16 for the title.
“It’s unexplainable. I have just grown throughout this whole tournament,” Heta said. “I have worked hard for this and it’s paid off in the end and I am just super stoked.
“I have got to pinch myself just to make sure it’s happening. I am lost for words. I know what I can do and how good I can be and today I showed the world.
“To do that in front of an Australian crowd was amazing and hopefully I’ll be able to come over to the UK soon and when I do people better watch out.”
Heta qualified for the tournament, the first of three World Series events Down Under this month, as the leader on the Dartsplayers Australia (DPA) Order of Merit.
Earlier this month he won the first staging of the DFA Australian Open, beating Jim Williams 8-1 in the semi-finals and then former world champion Scott Mitchell 10-9 in the final.
Heta was one of three Australians appearing in the final day in Brisbane, along with Kyle Anderson, who beat Peter Wright in a last-leg decider, and Whitlock.
In the quarter-finals, Whitlock averaged close to 102 as he whitewashed Kyle Anderson 8-0, Cross got the better of Raymond van Barneveld 8-4, and world number one Michael van Gerwen’s title drought continued as he lost 8-5 to Daryl Gurney.
Cross continued his recent good form, averaging 106.5 in an 8-3 win over Gurney, to set up a final with home favourite Heta, who won in a decider to scoop the £20,000 top prize.