Matt Campbell with Trophy

Campbell Out Of This World in Galaxy Grand Prix

Championship Darts Corporation kicked-off the 2022 season Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. With COVID restrictions a thing of the past, Americans and Canadians did battle face-to face for the first time since 2019 on a combined Tour as designed. 14 Canadians made the trip across the border to join 49 Americans for the Galaxy Grand Prix – sponsored by Galaxy Barrel Design – with the “Ginga Ninja,” Matt Campbell, taking the title over fellow Tour Card holder, Danny Baggish.

Canadian Jim Long posted the highest First Round average of 95.23 with a 5-1 victory over John Steinhofer in a best of 9 format. Darin “Big Daddy” Young landed the first 180 of the tournament almost immediately in the first leg of his matchup with Louis Vessels.

Doug Boehm triumphed 5-3 over Shawn Brenneman in what was arguably the most nailbiting first-rounder, with 5 breaks of throw between the two.  Boehm grabbed control of the match in the 5th leg with a 13-darter, followed by a 12-darter in leg 6, seeing out the next two legs despite Brenneman hitting his first 180 in leg 7.

Newly-minted US Darts Masters qualifiers, Danny Lauby Jr and Doug Boehm, fell in the second round to Jeff Springer and Joey Lynaugh, respectively.  Fellow US Masters player David Cameron tossed a 93.66 average to glide into the Last 16 with a win over Jason Brandon.

The Last 16 saw an even split of 8 Canadians and 8 Americans vying for spots in the Quarterfinals.

American Jeff Springer continued his run against 3-Time World Champion John Part, despite Darth Maple executing a beautiful 11-dart break of throw in the third leg. Springer stole the darts in the fourth leg and checked out 105 in the fifth to keep the advantage.   The two traded holds until the end, where Springer came out on top, 6-3.

In other notable last-16 matches, Canadian John Norman Jr bowed out 6-4 to a charging Alex Spellman in a match that saw no leg go more than 19 darts, Larry “The Eagle” Butler fell to New Brunswick’s Keith Way 6-4 and “Captain America,” Jim Widmayer, saw-off Canada’s Kiley Edmunds 6-1 with a 93.51 average.

The Quarterfinal Round saw Jeff Springer in continued top form in defeating Alex Spellman 6-3, logging a 158 checkout along the way and sealing the match with an 11-darter. Meanwhile, Danny Baggish ended Widmayer’s bid for glory with a 6-1 win and Newfoundland phenom, Jacob Taylor, ground out a victory over Chuck Puleo, despite averaging under 80 and managing only one 180 in ten legs.

The Semifinal lineup guaranteed that both countries would be represented in the final, with Baggish going up against Springer and a Taylor-Campbell matchup in the other half of the draw.

Taylor shook-off his subpar performance with eleven 140s and averaging almost 94, but it wasn’t enough to put away Campbell, who claimed the 7-5 victory with steady play and a 14-dart break of throw to advance to his finals tie with Danny Baggish.

Baggish started slow in the all-USA semifinal and Springer bounded out to a 2-0 lead before “The Gambler” went all-in with 134, 140, 100 to set up a 14-dart break and get back into the game. After a thrilling 13-dart hold of throw, the two were back on equal terms before Springer hit back with a 17-dart hold of his own to pull ahead once again. However, that would be the last leg the Washington man would win on the day as Baggish took control with successive finishes of 13, 14 and 12 darts and cruised into the final with a 7-3 victory.

The mouthwatering final did indeed live up to its billing and was everything one would expect from two PDC Tour Card holders. Campbell averaged 98.5 and Baggish 96.8 in a tungsten shootout that would have wowed audiences on any stage. The proceedings opened with a 12-dart break-of-throw from Campbell, sealed with a tournament-topping 160 finish (matched only by Gary Mawson in Round 1). Baggish broke back immediately with a 15-darter of his own, and the race was on. Both players were exceptional in cover shots throughout the match, firing-in consistent 134s and 137s.

Campbell would go up 4-1 before Baggish put up clinical 13 and 14-dart finishes to close within one. Following three straight holds of throw, the Florida man failed to finish 85, allowing the Canadian a look at 25 – which he finished off in two for a 13-dart break to seal the 7-4 win and hoist the trophy.