By Alex Moss
23 JUNE 2017 • 11:58PM
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez enjoyed a dream debut on the PDC European Tour as the 16-year-old defeated Ritchie Edhouse 6-2 in the first round of the Austrian Darts Open this evening.
The youngest of three Rodriguez brothers competing in the seventh European Tour event of the year, Rusty-Jake came through the Host Nation Qualifiers last night along with elder siblings Rowby-John and Roxy-James.
After seeing his older brothers both bow out of the tournament, Rusty-Jake hit five 180s as he came back from 2-1 down to beat Edhouse 6-2, to the delight of the Multiversum crowd.
The teenager took out two 100 finishes as he reeled off five straight legs to win on his European Tour debut, and he will now face Kim Huybrechts in the second round tomorrow.
Earlier in the evening, former World Youth Championship runner-up Rowby-John lost out to Germany’s Martin Schindler 6-4, while Roxy-James was comfortably beaten 6-1 by Welsh qualifier Jonny Clayton.
But joining Rusty-Jake in the second round were two other Host Nation Qualifiers, as two-time World Championship participant Zoran Lerchbacher knocked out Lee Bryant 6-4, to set up a clash with Mervyn King on Saturday.
While Austria’s Christian Kallinger, making his first European Tour appearance for four years, saw off Wayne Jones 6-3 to advance to a last 32 meeting with top seed Michael van Gerwen.
Former Austrian Darts Open champion Vincent van der Voort posted the highest average on the opening day of 101.86 in a 6-3 win over Tony Newell, who took out checkouts of 144 and 125 in defeat in Vienna.
Rising star Rob Cross, a three-time quarter-finalist already on the European Tour in 2017, battled back from 4-2 down to defeat Andy Jenkins 6-4, and he will now face Jelle Klaasen in the second round.
Welshman Jamie Lewis edged out Belgium ace Dimitri Van den Bergh in a last-leg decider 6-5 to move through to take on Joe Cullen tomorrow.
Chris Dobey brushed aside David Pallett 6-1 to progress to a second round meeting with Stephen Bunting, while John Henderson’s reward for beating Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-2 is a clash with another Dutchman, with recent European Tour finalist Benito van de Pas waiting in the last 32.
Dutchman Vincent van der Meer won the battle of the European Tour debutants in the opening match of the tournament, as he hit three 180s in a 6-3 triumph over Adrian Gray.
Chris Quantock fought back from 2-0 down to edge past Paul Rowley 6-4, as he set up an encounter with Gibraltar Darts Trophy winner Michael Smith tomorrow.
Scottish qualifier Jamie Bain impressed with a 99 average as he defeated Christian Kist 6-1, while the inaugural Austrian Darts Open champion Justin Pipe missed a match dart in a 6-5 defeat to Germany’s Rene Eidams.
Eidams had come from 5-3 down to claim victory, which is how Belgium’s Ronny Huybrechts progressed on the opening day, as he battled back to defeat James Wilson in a last-leg decider to set up a clash with Austrian number one Mensur Suljovic on Saturday.
Polish qualifier Krzysztof Ratajski also paid the price for missing a match dart as he lost out to Finland’s Kim Viljanen 6-5, with the PDCNB qualifier’s reward a meeting with second seed Peter Wright tomorrow.
2017 Austrian Darts Open
Multiversum Schwechat, Vienna
Friday June 22
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Adrian Gray 3-6 Vincent van der Meer
Chris Quantock 6-4 Paul Rowley
Jamie Bain 6-1 Christian Kist
Lee Bryant 4-6 Zoran Lerchbacher
Rene Eidams 6-5 Justin Pipe
Ronny Huybrechts 6-5 James Wilson
Krzysztof Ratajski 5-6 Kim Viljanen
Wayne Jones 3-6 Christian Kallinger
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
John Henderson 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Rowby-John Rodriguez 4-6 Martin Schindler
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Tony Newell
Chris Dobey 6-1 David Pallett
Dimitri Van den Bergh 5-6 Jamie Lewis
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Roxy-James Rodriguez
Rob Cross 6-4 Andy Jenkins
Rusty-Jake Rodriguez 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Pictures: PDC Europe