Anthony Hamilton came from 4-3 down to beat Mitchell Mann in a decider to ensure his return as defending champion to the German Masters next month.
The popular event in Berlin is one of only two ranking tournaments on the calendar that requires more than one qualifying round to be staged away from the main venue.
That meant that there was a genuine chance that Hamilton, who captured his maiden ranking title at the age of 45 with a superb triumph last February at the Tempodrom, might have failed to experience the feeling of being announced into the arena as the reigning champion.
But the “Sheriff”, who has been struggling for top form for much of this campaign, dug deep in the final two frames with breaks of 76 and 67 to squeeze past his fellow Englishman.
Last week’s Scottish Open champion Neil Robertson crashed out, though, with an unexpected 5-3 defeat to Tom Ford.
Robertson, after a long spell out of form, returned to the winners’ enclosure on Sunday with a tight victory in Glasgow’s Home Nations final, but could not round off the year perfectly as he fell to England’s Ford.
The majority of the other seeds in action on the final day of snooker in 2017 all managed to make it through.
Judd Trump was the man most in danger of missing out but scored a hat-trick of centuries to pip Chinese teenager Yuan Sijun 5-4.
Trump can reflect on what was a strong year for him in the support events on the tour, with five finals and two tournament successes to boast over, but a disappointing one in terms of his limp performances in the majors.
Ding Junhui enjoyed a more routine outing at the Metrodome in Barnsley as the 2014 champion comfortably dispatched Nigel Bond 5-1.
Riga Masters champion Ryan Day repeated the scoreline against John Astley while fellow Welshman Mark Williams accounted for Matthew Stevens with a 5-3 win.
Ricky Walden continued his improved streak of late with a 5-2 defeat of rookie Ashley Hugill, Joe Perry hammered Thor Chuan Leong in a whitewash, and David Gilbert ousted Mike Dunn thanks to a high break of 105.
Meanwhile, Chinese quartet Liang Wenbo, Xiao Guodong, Mei Xiwen, and Niu Zhuang all progressed to the last 32 but countrymen Wang Yuchen and Zhao Xintong were prevented from going any further by Mark Joyce and Hammad Miah respectively.
Jack Liwowski compiled five half century breaks in beating Stuart Carrington 5-3 while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh ignored a docked frame for arriving late by edging Mark King in a decider.
Elsewhere, veterans Fergal O’Brien, Alan McManus, and Graeme Dott all earned victories – the latter coming from 3-0 down to deny fellow former world champion Peter Ebdon 5-4.
Among the others to qualify were Michael Georgiou, Matthew Selt, and Gary Wilson.
That rounds off a frenetic year in the sport with the players now set for a well-earned Christmas break.
Next week, we’ll be taking a look back at 2017 with a series of review articles, including two quizzes, the year’s highs and lows, the most read stories over the last 12 months, and SnookerHQ’s player of the year.
Pingback: QUIZ! Snooker Tournament Winners in 2017 – SnookerHQ
Pingback: Snooker's Shock Winners - What Happened Next? - SnookerHQ