Ken Doherty pulled off a remarkable recovery to bring five barren years to an end with victory in the Malta Cup in Portomaso on Sunday night.
Doherty came from 8-5 down to edge John Higgins 9-8 to capture his first ranking title since he landed the 2001 Thailand Masters.
The Dubliner led 5-2 but Higgins, who won the Saga Masters at Wembley last month, reeled off six successive frames to lead 8-5.
However, Higgins missed a red with a chance to win 9-5 and Doherty roared back to win four in a row and pocket the £18,000 first prize.
"I was dead and buried at 8-5 down because John was playing really well and I thought I'd blown it," said Doherty, the 1997 world champion.
"I told myself to stick in there and the break I made in the last frame was one of my best ever because I was potting balls from everywhere.
"To beat someone like John, who's the man in form, from 8-5 down in a major final is fantastic."
Doherty, successful in his three most recent meetings with Higgins but 12-6 adrift in their career head to heads, began confidently with a 67 break but lost the second frame on the blue before falling 2-1 in arrears.
Higgins became guilty of several key unforced errors as the opening session turned into a nightmare for the world number six.
Having opened the scoring in frame four with 37, he uncharacteristically misjudged a safety shot. Doherty pounced with a 65 break to draw level at 2-2 and following the mid-session interval added contributions of 55 and 105 to move 4-2 ahead.
But the frame that damaged the morale of Higgins most was the seventh. Leading 56-5 he jawed a straightforward red and Doherty stepped in with an outstanding 70 clearance to widen the gap.
Doherty had a chance to steal the first frame on the resumption when he fought back from 61-0 down but failed to double the pink.
Having closed to 5-3, Higgins then put together a run of 55 in the ninth on the way to reducing Doherty's lead to a single frame.
And Higgins then took control with a run of 90 to make it 5-5 before he shaded the 40 minute 11th frame after a long safety battle on the colours.
Buoyed by this, he raised his game to compile quickfire breaks of 114 and 96 to extend his advantage to 8-5.
Higgins looked certain to extend his winning run to seven successive frames in the 14th but unexpectedly broke down on 43 and Doherty clinched it on the blue to throw himself a lifeline.
A 61 gave Doherty greater hope as he closed to 8-7 before winning a scrappy 16th to take the contest its full distance.
He had to pot several difficult balls in the decider but put together 63 to clinch the title, the sixth ranking crown of his career, which moves him up to fourth in the provisional rankings.
"It's about time I won another one. I'd forgotten what it felt like to lift up a trophy," Doherty said.
"This means more than any title I've ever won apart from the World Championship because I've beaten the man in form.
"When I was 8-5 down it looked like I was on the way home but I'm a fighting Irishman and I dug deep."
Higgins could not explain how he had let victory slip from his grasp after performing so well in the middle of the match.
"It was a crazy, crazy game," he said. "I'm completely numb. This probably won't hit home for a couple of days.
"But I didn't deserve to win after the performances I put in this week. I wouldn't have been a worthy winner."