MICHAEL VAN GERWEN got the defence of his Austrian Darts Open title off to the perfect start with a thumping victory over Jonny Clayton as the second round came to a close at the Multiversum in Schwechat, Vienna on Saturday.
The 27-year-old posted a tournament-high 109.98 average and landed four maximums as he won all six legs to whitewash Welshman Clayton.
As a sign of intent the Dutchman fired six perfect darts on his way to a ten-darter for the opening leg and a break of throw.
From then on he continued his domination and fired another 11-darter in the fifth leg before completing his victory, notching six doubles from nine attempts in the process.
It was, though, a disappointing day for the Austrian contingent on home soil, with all three competitors crashing out of the £115,000 PDC European Tour event.
In the day’s opening game, 2016 World Championship quarter-finalist Alan Norris sent former World Youth Championship finalist Rowby-John Rodriguez packing with a dominant 6-1 victory.
Host Nation Qualifier Zoran Lerchbacher was the next to fall, crushed by the impressive Jelle Klaasen in a 6-0 thumping.
And there was yet more Austrian disappointment to follow as number nine seed Mensur Suljovic slipped to an agonizing 6-5 defeat to Australia's Kyle Anderson.
The pairing both held their throw throughout the match, with Anderson the more impressive as he landed a ten-darter in the third and 40 per cent on the doubles to silence the home crowd.
Phil Taylor marked a happy return to European Tour action with an impressive 6-1 victory over Steve West.
Dave Chisnall, who has made six European Tour finals in his career including the last two events, kicked off his campaign with a 6-2 victory over former Austrian Darts Open runner-up Jamie Caven.
Equally impressive was Peter Wright as the number two seed blew away Jermaine Wattimena 6-2, whilst 22-year-old Benito van de Pas thumped Josh Payne 6-1, but third seed Michael Smith was pushed all the way before he edged out Mark Frost 6-5 to squeeze into the third round.
Earlier in the day, seeded players were scattered as Robert Thornton, Simon Whitlock and Gerwyn Price all exited the competition.
Thornton missed tops for the match as Nigel Heydon (pictured above) recovered from 5-3 down to win 6-5 and land a tournament high 164 checkout along the way.
Whitlock was dumped out 6-3 as Ron Meulenkamp’s impressive run continued, with the Dutch left-hander reaching the last 16 of a European Tour event for the first time.
And in a remarkable moment, Price - who was leading Steve Beaton 3-2 at the time - burst a 173 score by hitting a 177 and never recovered, allowing the 52-year-old to clinch four consecutive legs to claim a 6-3 victory.
Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts carried on his impressive form from the Betway World Cup of Darts with a 6-1 destruction of youngster Chris Dobey.
Elsewhere, Stephen Bunting thwarted James Richardson 6-3, Terry Jenkins fired a ten-darter on his way to a 6-4 victory over Belgian Dimitri Van den Bergh and Ian White beat Simon Stevenson by the same scoreline to bring an end to the Plymouth qualifier's European Tour debut.
The £115,000 PDC European Tour event concludes on Sunday, with the third round games taking place in the afternoon before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the evening.
Full results from today's action can be found below...
Austrian Darts Open
Saturday June 11
Alan Norris 6-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Stephen Bunting 6-3 James Richardson
Terry Jenkins 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Nigel Heydon 6-5 Robert Thornton
Ian White 6-4 Simon Stevenson
Ron Meulenkamp 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Steve Beaton 6-3 Gerwyn Price
Kim Huybrechts 6-1 Chris Dobey
Dave Chisnall 6-2 Jamie Caven
Jelle Klaasen 6-0 Zoran Lerchbacher
Peter Wright 6-1 Jermaine Wattimena
Michael van Gerwen 6-0 Jonny Clayton
Phil Taylor 6-1 Steve West
Kyle Anderson 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
Benito van de Pas 6-1 Josh Payne
Michael Smith 6-5 Mark Frost
Sunday June 12
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Michael van Gerwen v Steve Beaton
Jelle Klaasen v Kyle Anderson
Kim Huybrechts v Phil Taylor
Dave Chisnall v Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright v Alan Norris
Benito van de Pas v Terry Jenkins
Ian White v Nigel Heydon
Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
van Gerwen/Beaton v Klaasen/Anderson
Huybrechts/Taylor v Chisnall/Bunting
Wright/Norris v van de Pas/Jenkins
White/Heydon v Smith/Meulenkamp
All games are the best of 11 legs