Sensational 138 checkout lands local lad Luke first televised title
Luke Humphries said he played the "greatest game" of his career as he beat Gerwyn Price in the final of the World Grand Prix to claim his first ever televised title.
The 28-year-old, who grew up in Newbury, produced an unforgettable 138 checkout to seal victory in Leicester on Sunday, pocketing a cool £120,000 and moving up to a record-high fourth in the world rankings.
Since losing in the final of the 2021 UK Open, Cool Hand Luke has made sustained progress up the world rankings, winning five European Tour titles and consolidating his stage experience in the process.
Despite his upwards trajectory, a big money televised triumph had continued to elude Humphries, who was beaten in the semi-finals of the World Matchplay and World Series earlier in the year.
However, he ended his wait at the weekend, overcoming outspoken Welshman Price 5-2 in a thrilling final.
"I've imagined this moment for my whole career - it's very emotional," admitted Humphries, who averaged 93.30 in the double-start format in the final.
"Regardless of anything else I've done in my career, that was the greatest game I've ever played in my life.
"That 138 is probably one of the best shots I've ever seen in my career, let alone [to win] the title. If I didn't hit that, we go off to the break and Gezzy feels that he's back in the game.
"I couldn't have picked a better ending for my first major title. I think a lot of people wrote me off tonight, they thought Gezzy would steamroll me, but I've got a bit of bottle about me, I have got the ability to play well.
"As much as I played well, that was a great final and I think Gezzy played his part there. He was a massive part of such a great game and credit goes to him."
Price, who averaged 91, took the first set before Humphries, who struggled with his starting doubles, could register a game.
However, the Englishman came storming back to win the next three sets and race into a 3-1 lead. Price reduced the deficit with a 117 checkout but Cool Hand Luke responded again, winning the deciding leg in the sixth set before sealing a 5-2 win with an unforgettable 138 checkout.
An emotional Humphries, who became a father for the first time in October, dedicated his first major title to his dad, who was in the audience, and said he now feels there's even more to come ahead of the illustrious World Championship in December.
He said: "I think I've proved to myself now that I have got it.
"I think this is the first in a lot [of titles] that will come over the years, but we're in an era where there's so many great players and these are hard to come by.
"I dedicate this to my dad, because without him I wouldn't be here right now. It's been 13, 14 years since I first picked up a dart and now I'm a major champion.
"I've worked extremely hard in the last few years, lost a lot of weight, battled many things in my head to get to this point and it makes it all worth it having this trophy."