HOME FAVOURITES Rowby-John Rodriguez and Zoran Lerchbacher kicked off their 2016 Austrian Darts Open in the perfect manner with first round victories at the Multiversum in Scwechat, Vienna on Friday.
Former World Youth Championship finalist Rodriguez, 22, made light work of European Tour debutant Steve McNally in a 6-1 thumping to set up a second round clash against World Championship quarter-finalist Alan Norris.
After taking the opening leg, Rodriguez showed his intent with a 97 checkout in the second for a break of throw and a 2-0 lead. From then on, the youngster never looked back and raced into 4-0 lead.
UK Qualifier McNally finally got underway with a tidy 76 checkout in the fifth leg, but there was no stopping the Austrian as he claimed the next two for a 6-1 victory.
It wasn't quite as straightforward for another Host Nation Qualifier as Lerchbacher overcame Jeffrey de Zwaan in a narrow 6-4 victory to the delight of the home crowd.
Having thrown first, the pair traded blows for the first nine legs to leave the 44-year-old 5-4 ahead, and the Austrian claimed a crucial and decisive break in the tenth as he landed tops for the win and a passage to the second round.
However, there was disappointment for Austria's Roxy-James Rodriguez - the elder brother of Rowby-John - as he lost 6-4 to Nigel Heydon, whilst 18-year-old debutant Nico Mandl was comfortably seen off 6-1 by Jonny Clayton.
Steve West produced the performance of the day as he fired six maximums and a 101 average as he beat Mervyn King 6-3, and will now face Phil Taylor in the second round as he makes his return to European Tour action for the first time in two years.
There were also strong performances from Steve Beaton and Jamie Caven, who knocked out former Austrian Darts Open winners Vincent van der Voort and Justin Pipe respectively, while left-hander Ron Meulenkamp overcame fellow Dutchman Jeffrey de Graaf 6-3.
Elsewhere, there was a dream debut for Simon Stevenson as he came through a tough battle with James Wilson 6-5 to reach the second round.
After trading the first eight legs, Plymouth's Stevenson claimed a crucial break to move 5-4 ahead only to allow Wilson to return the favour, but an 80 checkout to break once more in the decider saw the Devonshire star over the line.
Chris Dobey continued his strong form on the European Tour as he eased past Darron Brown, and James Richardson produced some scintillating darts in a 6-2 victory over former Lakeside Champion Christian Kist.
Another man in top form at the moment is Josh Payne, and he showed no signs of letting up with an impressive 6-3 victory over Wes Newton.
Mark Frost displayed some masterful finishing as he hit six out of six on the doubles to beat Mike Zuydwijk, whilst Australia's Kyle Anderson edged out Ross Smith 6-4 in a ferocious battle.
Belgian Dimitri Van Den Bergh also progressed to the second round with a 6-1 victory over Wayne Jones and Jermaine Wattimena saw off Brendan Dolan 6-3 to set up a clash with Peter Wright.
The £115,000 tournament continues on Saturday, with the top 16 ranked players entering the competition as defending champion Michael van Gerwen takes on Wales' Clayton.
Full results from day one can be found below...
Austrian Darts Open
Friday June 10
Jermaine Wattimena 6-3 Brendan Dolan
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Wayne Jones
Simon Stevenson 6-5 James Wilson
Chris Dobey 6-3 Darron Brown
Nigel Heydon 6-4 Roxy-James Rodriguez
James Richardson 6-2 Christian Kist
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-1 Steve McNally
Mark Frost 6-2 Mike Zuydwijk
Jamie Caven 6-1 Justin Pipe
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Jeffrey de Graaf
Josh Payne 6-3 Wes Newton
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Nico Mandl
Steve Beaton 6-1 Vincent van der Voort
Steve West 6-3 Mervyn King
Zoran Lerchbacher 6-4 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Kyle Anderson 6-4 Ross Smith