HOME favourites Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld both overcame scares to win through to the second round of the Dutch Darts Masters on Friday, as the European Tour event in Veldhoven kicked off.
Van Gerwen, the world number two, bounced back from Thursday's defeat in the Championship League Darts Winners Group final to Phil Taylor by edging to a narrow victory over Vincent van der Voort in their first round clash in the £100,000 event.
Van der Voort had won through Thursday night's qualifier before finding out that he would be facing his practice partner and room-mate, and van Gerwen laid aside their friendship by opening with legs of 13 and 14 darts to lead 2-0.
Van der Voort replied to level, hitting a 14-darter of his own, and though van Gerwen took out 96 and a 13-darter to lead 4-2, the Purmerend thrower again hit back to level, taking out 80 to square the match at four-all.
Van der Voort then took the ninth to lead, but van Gerwen forced a deciding leg on double eight before winning a dramatic decider on tops, after his opponent hit a 180 only to miss the bull, double eight and double four to claim victory himself.
Five-time World Champion van Barneveld also had to endure some nervous moments before seeing off Andrew Gilding 6-3 in their encounter.
Gilding led 1-0 and also levelled the game at two-all, only to miss three darts to lead in the fifth leg as van Barneveld hit the front.
The Den Haag favourite then finished a 14-darter in moving 5-2 up, and though Gilding took the eighth leg, van Barneveld showed his killer instinct by hitting a 180 and a 121 finish in a 12-darter to secure victory.
Dutch youngster Gino Vos joined the duo in winning through to the second round on home soil at the NH Hotel Koningshof, defeating Richie Burnett 6-4 as he held off the Welsh ace's fightback from 5-1 down to claim a last 32 spot.
Home hope Jelle Klaasen was edged out 6-5 by Ross Smith, who now goes on to face van Gerwen, while Jerry Hendriks was defeated 6-2 by Colin Lloyd and debutant Davy Verkooijen lost 6-2 to Andy Hamilton.
Belgium's Kim Huybrechts, who lives around 45 minutes from the Veldhoven venue, impressed with a 102.80 average in his 6-2 win over Dean Winstanley, and he is joined in the last 32 by brother Ronny, who whitewashed former World Youth Champion Arron Monk with a fine performance.
Defending Dutch Darts Masters champion Simon Whitlock began his bid to retain the £20,000 title with a 6-1 win over Darren Johnson, pulling clear with legs of 13, 14 and 11 darts to progress to the second round.
Both Adrian Lewis and Wes Newton averaged 101 and dropped only one leg apiece in their excellent victories over Germany's Michael Hurtz and Mark Dudbridge respectively, as they secured second round places.
Peter Wright was another player to impress, as he hit a 160 finish in coming from 3-1 down against John Bowles to take a 6-3 triumph, earning him a Saturday night clash with van Barneveld in Veldhoven.
Paul Nicholson, last year's Dutch Darts Masters runner-up, began his bid this time around with a 6-4 win over Peter Hudson, while Gary Anderson overcame German Andree Welge 6-4 and Jamie Caven enjoyed a 6-2 win against Austrian World Cup ace Maik Langendorf.
Three-time World Champion John Part, who won March's UK Masters European Tour event, was the highest-profile casualty as he went down 6-3 to Northern Ireland's Campbell Jackson, who now plays Swindon's Mark Cox, another player to knock out a seed with his 6-1 defeat of Andy Smith.
Another former World Champion, Steve Beaton, went out to an emerging Northern Irish prospect as he lost 6-4 to Daryl Gurney, while world number nine Justin Pipe was eliminated in a deciding leg by Finland's Jarkko Komula.
Brendan Dolan and Michael Mansell completed a quartet of Northern Irish stars in the second round with their wins over qualifiers Davyd Venken and Tonci Restovic respectively, while Shropshire youngster David Pallett enjoyed a 6-4 victory against Mark Walsh.
World number five James Wade was a 6-4 winner against James Richardson, while fellow left-hander Mark Webster prevailed in a deciding leg against German qualifier Jyhan Artut.
Dave Chisnall, another European Tour winner this year, began his bid for another title with a whitewash of German teenager Max Hopp, while Kevin Painter, Ronnie Baxter and Ian White dropped only one leg in their victories.
Joe Cullen knocked out Terry Jenkins with a 6-1 scoreline, with Michael Barnard and Mervyn King and Michael Barnard were 6-3 winners against Dan Russell and Stuart Kellett respectively.
Dutch Darts Masters - European Tour Event Eight
October 25-27, NH Hotel Koningshof
Friday October 25
Colin Lloyd 6-2 Jerry Hendriks
Justin Pipe 5-6 Jarkko Komula
Tonci Restovic 3-6 Michael Mansell
Kevin Painter 6-1 Steve Hine
James Wade 6-4 James Richardson
Jelle Klaasen 5-6 Ross Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Max Hopp
Mervyn King 6-3 Dan Russell
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Davyd Venken
Stuart Kellett 3-6 Michael Barnard
Wayne Jones 6-1 Paul Barham
Arron Monk 0-6 Ronny Huybrechts
Ronnie Baxter 6-1 Dave Ladley
Mark Walsh 4-6 David Pallett
Andy Smith 1-6 Mark Cox
Mark Webster 6-5 Jyhan Artut
Adrian Lewis 6-1 Michael Hurtz
Paul Nicholson 6-2 Peter Hudson
Andy Hamilton 6-2 Davy Verkooijen
Wes Newton 6-1 Mark Dudbridge
Raymond van Barneveld 6-3 Andrew Gilding
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
John Part 3-6 Campbell Jackson
Simon Whitlock 6-1 Darren Johnson
Ian White 6-1 Mark Lawrence
Gary Anderson 6-4 Andree Welge
Richie Burnett 4-6 Gino Vos
Jamie Caven 6-2 Maik Langendorf
Terry Jenkins 1-6 Joe Cullen
Steve Beaton 4-6 Daryl Gurney
Peter Wright 6-3 John Bowles
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Dean Winstanley