Gates Claims 6th CDC Title in Indy Nightcap
On Saturday, for the first time since the inception of the Championship Darts Circuit, there were two Main Events staged in one day. Main Event #2 – The Indianapolis 501 – saw two five-time CDC champions, Leonard Gates and Chuck Puleo, square off in another highly-charged Final. When the dust settled, it was Gates who would be hoisting the trophy for the sixth time after a 7-5 victory.
With darts in the air slightly later than anticipated, the First round saw five 5-0 whitewashes, courtesy of Doug Boehm, John Norman Jr, John Steinhofer, Jim Long and Jason Brandon. In other action, Alex Spellman averaged over 100 in a 5-2 defeat of past CDC Champion, Kevin Luke. Evolution Tour star Joey Lynaugh showed his stuff in a tough battle with Larry Butler, averaging over 90 and edging The Eagle in a last leg decider.
As the event progressed to the second round, Canada’s Steve Warnock cruised home in a true “statement win,” shocking the room with a 5-0 shellacking of event #1 champion, Matt Campbell. Warnock won the first three legs in 18, 12 and 16 darts, which proved to be too big a hill for his fellow Canadian to climb. In other action, Danny Baggish – fresh off his runner-up performance – rained on Alex Spellman’s parade with a tight 5-4 victory that included a “Big Fish” 170 checkout in the seventh leg.
The Last 16 saw plenty of fireworks, with 5 of the 8 victors averaging over 90 as the format stretched to best of 11. Leonard “Soldier” Gates came out flying, winning each of the first three legs in 13 darts to put his opponent, New York’s Ryan Vander Weit in an early hole. Despite quality darts from Vander Weit – who threw three 180s in the match, finished a 126 and averaged 99— Gates and his nine 140s were not to be denied as he took the match 6-3.
In the quarterfinals, Joey Lynaugh continued to show the form that had people talking on last week’s PDC Development Tour, closing the door on Danny Baggish’s hopes of a return trip to the final with a clutch 15-darter in a last leg decider and averaging almost 94 for the match. In another sudden-death thriller that pitted two PDC World Championship qualifiers against one another, John Norman Jr took out Danny Lauby with an 18-dart hold of throw in a match that saw each player break the other twice.
In the semis, Chuck Puleo derailed Lynaugh’s bid for darting glory 7-3 to book his place in the final. The other semifinal match was much more tense, with Gates in a true dogfight with John Norman. The match went the distance as both players poured-in the trebles. Over the 13 legs, Gates had 35 trips to the oche with scores over 100 while Norman managed 26. The final leg started strong, with both players on a finish after 9 darts before the nerves set in a bit. Both players failed to find a treble in the subsequent round and Norman then missed D-16 for the match , opening the door for Gates to pin tops for the win.
The final gave dart fans everything they could ask for with both players averaging well North of 95. Puleo banged-in four 180s to Gates’ two but Gates had the 11-8 advantage in turns of 140+. After Chuck sank a 122 finish for a 12-dart hold in leg three, the Texan answered with a 13-darter of his own in the fourth and then managed a crucial break of throw in the fifth – pinning 28 with his 14th dart to strand the Arizona man on 45 and claim the only break of the match on his way to the 7-5 victory.