Matt Campbell picked up his second Magic Darts Championship Darts Circuit title of the year – both in the Chicago area – as the Ontario-based star was victorious at CDC Main Event Eight in Wheeling on Sunday.
For Campbell, his second year on the Tour has certainly been a breakthrough year. As you may recall, the Canadian burst onto the scene in Burlington, Ontario in 2018, coming through the qualifiers all the way way to the final, hitting 22 maximums en route but losing out to an on-song Darin Young.
Since then, Campbell has reached another four CDC finals (winning two of them) and just missed out on qualifying for the US Darts Masters back in July in a last-leg decider against fellow countryman Jeff Smith. With a win and a second-place finish this weekend, Campbell has put a lot of distance between himself and the competition in the “race to Alexandra Palace” for the Canadian spot at the 2020 PDC World Darts Championship.
Following Sunday’s victory, Matt sits on 73 points, 25 clear of Jim Long in the second position. However, as we saw last year, no lead is safe heading into the final weekend of action.
En route to victory in the Shot Bandit Masters CDC Event #8, Campbell got off to a hot start with a pair of 5-1 victories, seeing off Joel Chmielak in the first round and easing his way into the top 16 by claiming victory over New York’s Gino Florian in the last 32. In his last 16 match, the Canadian faced off against Ohioan Timmy Nicoll, whose battle against pancreatic cancer has not affected either his trademark good humor or the good darts that have always made him a fan favorite, in a quality battle that was certainly not reflected in the 5-1 scoreline. Indeed, it took a 154 checkout from Campbell with Nicoll sitting on 38 to take off a bit of the pressure and help him book a quarterfinal tie with last year’s CDC points champion, Chuck Puleo.
That quarterfinal match saw both players struggle a bit – Chuck with scoring early and Matt with doubles late – but Campbell did manage to keep his average above 90, checking out tops in the last two legs of the match to claim a 6-3 victory.
In his second Semi-Final of the weekend, the Canadian came up against Jason Brandon, who enjoyed his best run in a CDC event for quite some time. In a topsy-turvy battle, Campbell raced to a 3-0 lead out of the gate, but drama unfolded as Brandon reeled off three consecutive legs in 15, 15 and 18 darts to put himself right back in the match. Once more, Campbell showed determination and composure to close out a 6-3 win with legs of 14, 15 and 15 darts in a top-class three-leg sprint.
In the final, it was another all-Canadian affair as the ever-impressive Kiley Edmunds came through the other side of the bracket. Edmunds, who has been in explosive form since joining the CDC tour earlier in the year, put the Ontario ace to the test. The pressure was high for the first two legs and scoring was a bit of a challenge; Campbell was the first to find form, holding throw and then breaking Edmunds on back-to-back 14-dart legs before Edmunds responded with a 15-dart break of his own to reduce the arrears to 3-2. Matt didn’t ease off the gas as he produced a sensational 12-darter with a roof-raising 143 checkout to break the Edmunds throw straight back as he moved into a 4-2 lead. He then extended his lead, topping off a 14-darter with an 80 checkout and a 5-2 advantage. Edmunds managed to reduce the deficit to 5-3, before Campbell ended the proceedings as he pinned D20 to confirm a 6-3 victory.
After registering his second CDC victory, Campbell spoke to Anthony Eugenia:
“It was tough beating Chuck (Puleo) earlier on in the day, but he had a lot of bounce-outs. That hurt him, but also discourages me because I didn’t beat him at his best. You always want to see players at their best.”
Campbell went on to say: “I wish that we could have every event in Chicago, I love it here.”
CDC Main Event Eight
Nick Linberg 6-5 Joe Beecroft
Kiley Edmunds 6-3 Larry Butler
Matt Campbell 6-3 Chuck Puleo
Jason Brandon 6-2 Jeff Smith
Kiley Edmunds 6-0 Nick Linberg
Matt Campbell 6-3 Jason Brandon
Matt Campbell 6-3 Kiley Edmunds