Anthony Hamilton produced a stunning fightback to overcome Ali Carter 9-6 and claim the first ranking title of his career at the German Masters in Berlin on Sunday.
The 45-year-old battled back from 5-2 down to win seven of the last eight frames and secure a first major trophy in 26 years as a professional.
Hamilton, whose last major final appearance came in the 2002 China Open, becomes the oldest winner of a ranking tournament for 28 years and climbs almost 30 places to 37th in the order of merit.
“Dreams are made of this stuff,” said an elated Hamiton. “It’s been a fantastic week and I just can’t ask for any more than this.
“It was one good week I had in Manchester [at the English Open] last October that gave me confidence.
“Ali was granite up to 5-2 but the ball run changed tonight.
“He is probably one of the best cueists in our game and it certainly wasn’t fun playing him today!”
Hamilton had come through a late-night tussle with Stuart Bingham in Saturday’s Semi-Finals, and it was Carter who looked the fresher of the two in the afternoon as he raced to the opening three frames.
Nottingham ace Hamilton crucially got himself off the mark in frame four and dominated the fifth to reduce the deficit to 3-2 at a packed Tempodrom.
Carter than turned on the style with a superb clearance of 100, before adding a break of 54 in frame seven to extend his lead.
Hamilton, though, grabbed himself a lifeline with a 56 break to ensure he trailed just 5-3 following the completion of the afternoon session.
The former British Open runner-up then kick-started the comeback by comfortably taking frame nine, before powering in a sublime break of 118 to draw level.
Successive breaks of 73 and 74 saw Hamilton charge clear at 7-5, and while ‘The Captain’ looked to be on course to stop the rot, he broke down on 53 in frame 13, allowing his opponent to capitalise with a clinical break of 70.
Carter did manage to stem the flow by claiming the fourteenth frame to nil, but only for Hamilton to polish off the victory in the next with a nerveless contribution of 57.
“Anthony played really well tonight – he deserves it,” conceded Carter, who won this event in 2013. “He’s had a tough draw all week and I’m delighted for him.
“It’s onwards and upwards. It’s a positive week, I’m disappointed but there’s another tournament next week and I’ll have another go.”
Hamilton was in jeopardy of losing his professional Tour Card at the back end of last season before doing enough to retain his place on the circuit via the European Order of Merit.
His resurgent run began in last October’s English Open – where he reached the Quarter-Finals, before going on to reach the Semi-Finals of the Northern Ireland Open a month later.