Shaun Murphy won the 2023 Tour Championship with a 10-7 victory over Kyren Wilson on Sunday in Hull.
The Magician retrieved a 4-0 deficit early on and ultimately took control of the affair after pinching a couple of tight mid-match frames.
Success adds to Murphy’s earlier glory in this year’s Players Championship, and with the £150,000 champion’s cheque it ensures his return to the top four in the world rankings.
An eleventh career ranking trophy in total, it takes his tally beyond that of legend Jimmy White and into tenth on the all-time list on his own.
The outcome could have been very different, with Wilson left to rue missed opportunities to stamp his authority on the affair.
Like he had done in his quarter-final and semi-final encounters, the Kettering cueist raced into an early 4-0 lead thanks to a barrage of big breaks that included runs of 111, 108, 84, and 62.
But Murphy responded after the mid-session interval with a trio of frame-winning contributions of his own.
The Welsh Open runner-up then clinched a pivotal eighth frame on the black to restore parity following the afternoon bout of play.
There was a terrific atmosphere inside the Bonus Arena when the players returned for the evening session later on.
A couple of half-century breaks either side of a century from Murphy saw Wilson twice edge his nose in front again.
The 31 year-old should have subsequently made it 7-5, but an unexpected missed red gifted Murphy the chance of another reprieve.
With a second black-ball escape under his belt, the latter kicked on and a 115 helped him into an 8-6 lead.
A deflated Wilson, who at times didn’t get a good run of the balls, finally had some luck when a fluked red helped him stop the rot in frame 15.
But Murphy wasn’t to be denied, and after a 95 break he sealed the 10-7 victory in the next frame.
The Englishman, who is based in Dublin, will head to the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre later this month as one of the favourites.
It has been a frequently unpredictable 2022/23 season in terms of tournament winners, but Murphy has hit form at an opportune time.
Whether he can sustain that for another two-week slog in Sheffield remains to be seen, but right now his confidence will arguably be at the highest it’s ever been.
For Wilson, it was yet another case of ‘what-if’ in a big final as he fell just short of capturing a prestigious title yet again.
Previous near misses in the finals of the World Championship, the Masters, and the Champion of Champions indicate that he’s getting into the right positions but failing to produce when it matters most in the bigger moments.
Murphy certainly produced, fighting back from behind in all three of his Tour Championship matches and looking like one of the world’s best players at present.
Featured photo credit: WST