Phil Taylor admitted his relief after erasing memories of last year’s first-round defeat in the Sky Poker World Grand Prix with a 2-0 win over Ronnie Baxter in Dublin last night.
Taylor suffered a straight sets loss to qualifier Adrian Gray a year ago but notched the tournament’s highest average so far this year with 96.72 in a fine display.
Taylor managed four 180s en route to victory and hit six darts of a potential nine-darter as he moved into the last 16.
“I’m relieved and very pleased to get through that,” said Taylor. “Last year I was crying behind the stage after the first round, this year I’m smiling.
“I can relax a bit now because the format’s a bit longer. Every player in the first round is nervous and I was no different.”
Dubliner Jacko Barry enjoyed a final-leg 2-1 victory over Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan and will meet world champion John Part in the second round. Part beat Chris Mason 2-0 tonight.
Mark Walsh and Andy Hamilton produced 2-1 wins over Steve Beaton and Andy Smith respectively.