In Profile: Devon Petersen
South African thrower Devon Petersen is far from a household name, yet despite his relatively low profile, the 33-year old extrovert commands a sizeable fanbase. His iconic walk-on dances and passionate celebrations have helped him attract a number of new followers, and they'll be hoping to see the Cape Town-born player can start to move up the PDC Order of Merit in the coming months.
Record at Majors
Petersen has a fairly modest record in major tournaments, although his last 16 appearance at the 2019 World Championships was undoubtedly a career highlight. He eventually bowed out to Nathan Aspinall, despite taking a 2-0 lead in the tie. He went 67% on his doubles in the first two sets, yet he wasn't able to sustain the challenge, eventually going down 4-3. Despite the disappointing outcome, the Bradford-based thrower clearly made an impression on the Alexandra Palace crowd, and there is little shame in losing to one of the best new players on the PDC circuit.
He also reached the quarter-final of the UK Open back in 2015 and has twice made it through to the same stage, whilst representing his homeland in the World Cup of Darts. As South Africa's first professional darts player, he's hoping that his country's 2019 victory over Northern Ireland will help spearhead the growth of the sport in the southern hemisphere.
Other Notable Results
Earlier this year, Petersen reached his first PDC semi-final beating both Stephen Bunting and Rob Cross at the Players Championship 5 at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan. He caught the eye with a stunning average of 111.8 during his 6-3 victory against Dutchman Niels Zonneveld, although he wasn't able to produce the same high level of performance against eventual winner Peter Wright. The Scot went on to beat Gerwyn Price in the final, securing his 30th PDC title, as well as maintaining his blistering start to 2020. As of April 6th, Snakebite is 13/2 second-favourite with Betway to make it back-to-back titles in North London at the beginning of 2021, and unsurprisingly he proved far too good for the ever-improving Petersen back in late-February.
Petersen was also recently victorious in the PDC's inaugural Darts at Home tournament which took place at the beginning of April.
Change of Arrows
Although he had been relatively happy with his performances on the PDC tour, Petersen opted for a change of darts at the beginning of the calendar year, and the switch has coincided with an upturn in results. He began life using a set of darts that were given to him by Phil Taylor back in 2009, however, after trialling a number of potential options, he eventually plumped for a set made by Japanese firm Trinidad. He suggested that the softer tip has helped elevate his game, and he feels far more comfortable since making the trade. Many players on the PDC Tour have switched their darts in recent years with the aforementioned world champion Peter Wright being just one of the many high profile competitors who have benefited from a change of tungsten.
Since making the switch, Petersen's performances have improved and he will be hoping to take that form into future tournaments. He admits that he feels at home on the stage, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the charismatic South African reach his first PDC tour final within the next twelve months. There are likely to be plenty of opportunities on the PDC calendar once the sport recommences later this year, and many are expecting the 33-year old to improve significantly on last year's underwhelming display in North London.
Petersen also views himself as an 'entrepreneur' and is keen to increase his profile within the sport. Although he'd prefer to be remembered for his all-action displays at the oche, the African Warrior is largely famed for his bombastic dance moves, which are sound-tracked by Shakira's 'Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)'. The song was originally released in 2010 ahead of the FIFA World Cup and is one of the more memorable walk-on anthems on the circuit.
The world number 56 is also keen to expand the game in the southern hemisphere, especially in his native South Africa. He has already used some of his winnings to help fund the sport at grass roots level, and is hoping that his recent success can help inspire the next generation to follow in his footsteps.