Jonny Clayton lifted his first televised PDC singles title after beating Mervyn King 11-8 in the final to win the Ladbrokes Masters and secure the final slot in the Premier League.
It was a final between two players seeking their first individual major and neither player knew that the vacant spot at the 2021 Premier League would also be on the line at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Clayton, who had come through four last-leg deciders, including one against Michael van Gerwen, come from behind in the final against King to lift the first title of the season.
New Masters champion crowned in Milton Keynes
The Welshman couldn’t have had a more dramatic route to the final, coming through last-leg deciders in each of the four previous rounds – an 11-10 win over Peter Wright in the semi-finals booked his place against King.
Clayton, just as he had under pressure throughout the tournament, maintained his clinical finishing and went on to close out on the victory over King in Milton Keynes.
Having previously been to only one major singles final in his career, the Welsh thrower expressed his delight at winning the Masters.
“I’m over the moon to be honest,” said Clayton, who takes home £60,000 by winning the Masters. “Obviously I’m chuffed to bits, but I can just picture my kids and my wife on that settee screaming and shouting.
“My dog is probably deaf with all the screaming that’s going on there. I’m over the moon.”
He continued: “It wasn’t the best of matches, we’ve both played better in this tournament but that was to be expected given what was at stake.
“I was so glad I didn’t have to play another deciding leg. At one stage I thought Mervyn was going to take me all the way.
“He went to sleep for a couple of legs and I took advantage to go in front, from there I played pretty consistent.”
Clayton secures debut spot at Premier League
King defeated Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals and started the final on the front foot, checking out two ton-plus finished on his way to leading 5-3.
There was a swing in momentum right before the second interval when Clayton landed a 136 finish for a 12-dart leg.
The Welshman, who won the World Cup for Wales with Price in November, won six straight legs to open up a 9-5 lead and never looked back.
A stunning 165 set up from Clayton in 19th leg left him with double eight to hit, which he did on his next visit to the oche and the celebrations could then begin.
Clayton was one of the ‘Challengers’ in the Premier League in Cardiff last February, where he lost against Michael Smith.
However, the Ferret compete full-time in one of darts’ most prestigious events for the first time in 2021 and admitted he was “over the moon” to hear MC Jon McDonald confirm of his place before lifting the Masters trophy.
Clayton said: “I was hoping for a place in the Premier League, but to hear it confirmed on stage after I won was amazing.
“I’m over the moon to be in it. I really am chuffed to bits.”