Aden Kirk rounded off the opening weekend of 2024 Winmau Challenge Tour action with Event Five victory in Milton Keynes on Sunday.
Kirk – who made his name with a famous victory over Phil Taylor at the 2014 UK Open – defeated Dutchman Danny Jansen 5-3 in Sunday’s decider to secure his maiden Challenge Tour crown.
The 31-year-old came through five deciding-leg tussles on a gruelling day of darts at the Marshall Arena, which saw 296 players battling it out for the £2,500 top prize.
Kirk brushed aside Harry Lane in his opener, before fighting back from 4-3 down to deny former Lakeside Champion Scott Mitchell, surviving a match dart in each of the last two legs.
The two-time Development Tour title winner continued his progress with wins over Irish duo Ciaran Teehan and Keith Rooney, firing in a 14-dart hold to edge out Rooney.
Kirk survived further match darts in his last 16 victory over Connor Scutt, before rallying from 4-2 adrift to dump out former World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton in the quarter-finals.
The Derbyshire-born darter then produced further comeback heroics in his semi-final clash against Wesley Plaisier, battling back from 4-3 down to triumph, having earlier raced into a 3-0 lead.
This set up a showdown against Challenge Tour Order of Merit leader Jansen in Sunday’s showpiece, as the enigmatic Dutchman moved through to his third final in as many days in Milton Keynes.
However, Kirk – a semi-finalist in Saturday’s Event Four – captured his third PDC title with another valiant display, converting a 110 checkout to wrap up a 5-3 success.
This lifts Kirk up to third on the Challenge Tour Order of Merit, although Jansen boasts a £1,250 lead over Switzerland’s Stefan Bellmont at the summit after his exploits across the weekend.
Having followed up his Event Two success by reaching Saturday’s Event Three decider, Jansen continued his sparkling form on Sunday, averaging 99 to dispatch Charlie Martin, before whitewashing Belgium’s Brian Raman.
The Dutchman also averaged 96 in victory over Grant Brown, and he later overcame Lithuania’s former World Championship quarter-finalist Darius Labanauskas in the last four.
It was also a memorable day for Jenson Walker, who landed the first nine-darter on the Winmau Challenge Tour this year, achieving perfection during his third round win against Shane McGuirk.
The 2024 Winmau Challenge Tour continues from March 15-17, as Events 6-10 take place at Halle 39, Hildesheim.
The top two players from the final 2024 Challenge Tour Order of Merit will secure a PDC Tour Card for 2025/26 and a place in the 2024/25 Paddy Power World Darts Championship.
2024 Winmau Challenge Tour
Sunday January 21
Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Darius Labanauskas 5-3 Reece Colley
Danny Jansen 5-3 Jimmy van Schie
Wesley Plaisier 5-2 Ron Meulenkamp
Aden Kirk 5-4 Andy Hamilton
Danny Jansen 5-2 Darius Labanauskas
Aden Kirk 5-4 Wesley Plaisier
Aden Kirk 5-3 Danny Jansen