MICHAEL van Gerwen won his third European Tour title of 2017 with a brilliant 6-5 defeat of St Helens’ Michael Smith in Sunday’s Austrian Darts Open final.

World Champion Van Gerwen claimed the £25,000 title in dramatic fashion against Smith.

Former World Youth Champion Smith was bidding to follow up last month’s Gibraltar Darts Trophy triumph with his second win of the year, and led Van Gerwen during a thrilling final.

The St Helens ace opened up a 2-0 lead, punishing his rival’s miss at tops in the opening leg before breaking with a 13-darter which featured a 180.

Van Gerwen hit back to level, but Smith took out 86 on the bull to lead 3-2 and then brought the Austrian crowd to its feet with a magnificent 170 checkout for a 4-3 advantage.

Van Gerwen, though, hit back once more as a 14-darter squared the game before finishing double 18 for a 13-darter to break.

Smith took out 70 in leg ten to force a decider, but Van Gerwen was first to a finish and took out 100 on tops for a 12-darter as he secured his 17th career European Tour win.

“This means a lot to me,” said Van Gerwen, who had warmed up for the event with a visit to Rapid Vienna football club on Friday. “I came here to win and I’m glad I could do that, but I played well, especially today.

“Michael is getting back in form, he is a fantastic player and he kept me under pressure. The 170 finish was great and he put me under a lot of pressure, but I was really glad to win.”

Four-time European Tour winner Smith had missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish during his quarter-final win over Mervyn King during another memorable day for the 26-year-old.

Having defeated Chris Quantock in round two on Saturday, he also saw off Jelle Klaasen in the third round on Sunday afternoon and was a 6-4 semi-final winner against Joe Cullen.

Smith admitted: “I tried so much to keep him under pressure. Michael’s number one for a reason and he deserves it.”