PHIL TAYLOR claimed his fourth PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic title with a 13-7 win over James Wade at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

The 13-time World Champion took the £20,000 title with a clinical display to defeat the world number three.

Taylor kicked off the tournament by averaging almost 109 against Kevin Painter, and romped to an 11-2 semi-final win over Roland Scholten earlier on Sunday, hitting 11 of 13 attempts at a double in a ruthless display.

He then despatched Wade 13-7, taking a 4-0 lead early in the game before Wade pulled back to 5-3, including a 101 finish and a 14-darter to break Taylor’s throw.

Taylor, though, took five of the next six to punish a sloppy mid-game display from Wade, who sparked back into life with a 126 checkout, finishing on the bullseye, to reduce the arrears to 10-5.

Legs of 14 and 13 darts from Taylor, including a 100 checkout, put him to the brink of victory before Wade fired in two maximums in an 11-darter just to stay in the game.

Wade also took the next leg to pull back to 12-7, but Taylor was in no mood to allow a further comeback, firing in a maximum in an 11-darter to take the victory.

“It’s very special for me,” said Taylor, who previously won the title in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

“I’m delighted with how I’ve played this week. I’ve worked hard and my form is reflecting that.

“I was hitting my doubles early in the final but then I started missing and he came back.

“I think James’ semi-final against Peter Manley took a lot of him and I had to put him under pressure as soon as I could.”

Taylor’s win was his third over Wade in a major final, following his victories in the 2006 Stan James World Matchplay and May’s Whyte & Mackay Premier League decider.

“James is a cracking young player and he’ll keep getting better and better,” added Taylor.

“He has a big future ahead of himself, he’s a fantastic player and he’ll do a lot in this game – after I’ve retired!”

Taylor will celebrate by spending a week with pop star Robbie Williams in Los Angeles before returning to prepare for the Stan James World Matchplay, which begins on Sunday 20 July.

“Robbie invited me to stay with him in Los Angeles and I’m heading over to see him,” said Taylor. “Robbie’s got a dartboard up at home which he had sent from the UK and I’ll be practising while I’m there.

“The World Matchplay’s a special event for me, I’ve won it eight times and I love the Winter Gardens in Blackpool so I’ll be going all out to get the trophy back.”

Wade came up a game short in his bid for a fourth major title inside 12 months, but the 25-year-old admitted: “The last year has been a massive learning curve for me.

“After a tough semi-final against Peter Manley I had nothing left to give in the final and I was gassed out.

“I made the most of a few misses from to stay in the game but it wasn’t enough for me.

“Phil again showed why he’s the best player in the world and I’ve finished in second place to him again, so I’ve got to try harder.”

PHIL TAYLOR 11-2 ROLAND SCHOLTEN

PHIL TAYLOR stormed into the final of the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with a ruthless 11-2 demolition of Roland Scholten.

The three-time Desert Classic champion remains on course for a fourth title in Las Vegas following a brilliant display of finishing to end Scholten’s hopes.

Taylor hit 11 of 13 attempts at a double to book his place in the decider, leaving Scholten unable to claw back into the contest.

Scholten had chances early on, missing the bullseye in the opening leg for a 161 finish and two darts at double 12 in the fourth as Taylor took an early 3-1 cushion.

A second 106 finish of the game saw Taylor move further ahead, and a missed double nine from Scholten allowed him to move 5-1 up on double top.

Taylor then hit the double at the first attempt in taking the next five legs to move to the brink of victory, before Scholten took out double top to stay in the game.

But a missed bullseye in the next allowed Taylor in, and he made no mistake on double 12 to march into the final.

“I hope Peter Manley was watching in the practice room – I might steal his ‘One Dart’ nickname,” said Taylor.

“Roland didn’t find his distance today and was moving around the oche, but even at 10-1 he was trying to come back at me.”

JAMES WADE 11-8 PETER MANLEY

JAMES WADE set up a final against Phil Taylor at the PartyPoker.net Las Vegas Desert Classic with an 11-8 victory over Peter Manley.

Wade reached his first Desert Classic decider in clinical fashion, coming from 8-6 down with five successive legs to edge a thriller.

Manley, the 2003 champion, played his part in a superb contest, leading 2-0, 4-3 and 8-6 only for some crucial doubles to cost him dear late on.

Manley had won through to the semi-finals with some superb finishing during the event, living up to his ‘One Dart’ nickname, and took out double 18 and double top to lead 2-0 against Wade.

The world number three replied well, taking out double 14, then a 12-darter to break Manley’s throw and double 12 to lead 3-2,.

He kicked off leg six with a third maximum in as many legs, only for Manley to level on double ten and edge himself back in front at 4-3 after Wade missed double top.

Wade took the next two to move 5-4 up, but Manley won four of the next five to leave the youngster rattled.

He regained his composure to break Manley’s throw in leg 15, and levelled on double 12 before a key break put him back in front, with Manley missing his doubles before Wade landed double two.

Manley’s range on double top deserted him at a key moment, though, with Wade moving to the brink of victory on double ten and then sealing his place in the final after further misses from Manley.

“Peter’s a great player, he has been around for years and done everything in the game so it’s a lovely feeling to beat him,” said Wade.

“He played good darts but I played better than him at the end.”

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