BARNSLEY, England — Canadian Jeff Smith, who won his way back to the pro darts tour last month, made it to the final in his first event.
The 44-year-old from Saint John, N.B., lost 8-4 to former world champion Gary Anderson at the Players Championship 1 on Saturday.
Anderson raced into a 6-2 lead before Smith, who was competing in his first Players Championship event since 2013, fought back to 6-4. Anderson did not buckle, however, winning his first PDC ranking title since the 2018 World Matchplay.
Smith won his tour card last month at the 2020 PDC Qualifying Schools in Wigan.
"Great first day on the new job," tweeted Smith.
"Reaching a @OfficialPDC final on my first event is insane ... Just happy to be here doing what I love," he added.
Saturday's event was the first of 30 Players Championship events in 2020.
Smith, whose nickname is The Silencer, was runner-up at the 2016 BDO World Darts Championship on a rival circuit to the PDC. He also represented Canada at the 2013 World Cup.
Anderson, who nickname is The Flying Scotsman, won the PDC World Championship in 2015 and 2016.
Smith is the only Canadian competing on the PDC circuit in 2020.
Dawson Murschell's eligibility expired at the end of 2019 and the 24-year-old from Medicine Hat, Alta., has opted to remain in Canada this year and focus on the North American circuit.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2020.
The Canadian Press