2004 Las Vegas Desert Classic
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The 2004 Las Vegas Desert Classic, promoted at the time as the Las Vegas Desert Classic III, was the third year that the Professional Darts Corporation held a major darts tournament in the United States. It was held between 30 June and July 4, 2004.
The tournament was held at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada and was broadcast in the UK by Sky Sports. The layout of the playing hall had been modified from the previous year, and attracted larger crowds.
Featured the last 32 and was not televised. Phil Taylor had the highest average in the best of 3 sets matches of 100.6 and coverage began live on Sky Sports with Round Two, the last 16 on Thursday 1 July.
The first match featured Kevin Painter against Peter Manley. Manley was erratic in the first set which went to Painter, who then went on to beat Manley 3-0 including checkouts of 143, 124 and 102. Painter averaged of 94.5.
The last American in the tournament, Darin Young (who was World Soft Tip Darts Champion) had beaten Lionel Sams in the first round and faced "Hawaii 501" - Wayne Mardle. The first two sets were close, but Mardle went through comfortably 3-0.
John Part also had a comfortable win against Adrian Gray and in the early stages of the match he was averaging 111.33. It was a 3-0 win for Part who also checked out 161 and a 164.
Alan Warriner faced Phil Taylor and started well. "The Ice Man" was two legs up in the first set only for Taylor to level at 2-2 before Warriner took the deciding leg. Taylor won the next two sets and started the fourth with a 147 checkout. Although Warriner won the next leg, Taylor pulled away to win the match.
The battle of two former World Champions saw Richie Burnett beat Dennis Priestley - the Welshman had to hit a 117 checkout to tie the match at 1-1, which was possibly the turning point and Burnett went on to win 3-1.
John Part overcame Richie Burnett 3-1 in a match that wasn't necessarily reflected by the scoreline. Burnett came close to winning the first set having levelled it with a 137 finish. But Part won the decider. Even as Part looked to be coasting to victory at 2-0 in both sets and legs, Burnett put on a fightback to win 3 consecutive legs. Part held him off in the end for a 3-1 win.
Vegas-loving Wayne Mardle, took the first set against Ronnie Baxter - averaging 101 to Baxter's 94.30. Mardle then appeared to slow the game down which possibly affected both players. Baxter was possibly affected the most as he lost 0-3.
Steve Coote put up a valiant battle against Phil Taylor. The first set went to the deciding leg, and Coote held a 2-1 lead in the second - but Taylor always had the better of his opponent when it mattered and won the match 3-0.
Dennis Smith had been suffering from toothache throughout the tournament and combined with an in-form Kevin Painter was too much for "Smiffy" winning 3-1
Part was dogged by a failure to hit his doubles against Mardle in the semi. Neither player was outstanding, yet Mardle raced to a 3-0 lead. Despite a mini-fightback from the Canadian to win the 4th set, it was Mardle who went to the final a 4-1 winner.
Kevin Painter v Phil Taylor was a repeat of the World Final from January. Taylor started the better, with a 114 winning the first set. Painter levelled and both players traded blows to stay level at 2-2. Taylor then surged to win the fifth and sixth sets to claim his place in the final.
Taylor and Mardle had exchanged some verbal battles in the run-up to the match. The match started with Taylor in fine form, a first set average of 104 gave him the set 3 legs to 1. Taylor also took the second and started the third set with a 10 dart leg - his average now at 103.0. Mardle fought back to win the next two legs, but after Mardle missed darts to close the gap to 2 sets to 1, Taylor stretched the lead to 3-0.
"Hawaii 501" began to hit back. He took the fourth set by 3 legs to 1 with a 12 dart leg for the set. Close again in the next set and Taylor checked out a 135 to go 2 legs to 1 up and then the next leg for the set and a 4 sets to 1 lead.
Mardle then began an amazing comeback. He took the sixth set to make it 2-4 and despite being 2 legs behind in the seventh set - three consecutive legs made it 3-4. His surge continued as he tied the match at 4-4 and the ninth set went to the deciding leg. Taylor kept his match average at 101 and won that crucial deciding leg for a 5-4 set lead and was then able to win the 10th set to clinch the title.
- Winner: £15,000
- Runner-Up: £7,500
- Semi Finalists: £5,000
- Quarter Finalists: £3,500
- Last 16: £2,000
- Last 32: £1,350
best of 3 sets best of 5 legs
- Adrian Lewis - Phil Taylor 0 - 2
- Richie Burnett - Colin Lloyd 2 - 1
- Paul Lim - Peter Manley 0 - 2
- Dennis Priestley - Roland Scholten 2 - 1
- Steve Coote - Bye
- Mark Dudbridge - Alan Warriner 1 - 2
- Bob Anderson - Andy Jenkins 0 - 2
- Lionel Sams - Darin Young 1 - 2
- Darren Webster - Gerry Convery 0 - 2
- Wes Newton - Wayne Mardle 1 - 2
- Adrian Gray - Bruce Cottrell 2 - 0
- John Kuczynski - Denis Ovens 1 - 2
- Steve Beaton - Ronnie Baxter 0 - 2
- Paul Williams - Dennis Smith 0 - 2
- James Wade - Kevin Painter 1 - 2
- Alex Roy - John Part 1 - 2
best of 5 sets best of 5 legs
- Kevin Painter - Peter Manley 3 - 0
- Ronnie Baxter - Denis Ovens 3 - 2
- Darin Young - Wayne Mardle 0 - 3
- John Part - Adrian Gray 3 - 0
- Phil Taylor - Alan Warriner 3 - 1
- Steve Coote - Andy Jenkins 3 - 2
- Richie Burnett - Dennis Priestley 3 - 1
- Dennis Smith - Gerry Convery 3 - 1
best of 5 sets best of 5 legs
- John Part - Richie Burnett 3 - 1
- Ronnie Baxter - Wayne Mardle 0 - 3
- Steve Coote - Phil Taylor 0 - 3
- Dennis Smith - Kevin Painter 1 - 3
best of 7 sets best of 5 legs
- Kevin Painter - Phil Taylor 2 - 4
- John Part - Wayne Mardle 1 - 4
best of 11 sets best of 5 legs
- Phil Taylor - Wayne Mardle 6 - 4
best of 7 legs
- Trina Gulliver - Gayl King 4 - 1
- Stacey Bromberg - Carolyn Mars 4 - 1
best of 11 legs
- Trina Gulliver - Stacey Bromberg 6 - 5