Andrew Higginson won the first professional title of his 16-year career by beating John Higgins 4-1 in the final of Players Tour Championship event five.
The 33-year-old from Widnes, ranked 23rd in the world, won seven matches at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, culminating in a fine display against Betfred.com World Champion Higgins.
Higginson, whose previous career highlight was reaching the final of the Welsh Open in 2007, where he lost 9-8 to Neil Robertson, takes home the trophy and £10,000 first prize.
Pots on blue and pink saw Higginson win a scrappy opening frame, and he started the next with a break of 63, only for Higgins to take it with a trademark 73 clearance. But Higginson bounced back to win the third with a 78, then dominated frame four for a 3-1 lead.
Wishaw’s Higgins, who has not won a title since his victory at the Crucible last May, compiled a run of 55 in frame five, and later had a clear chance to win it, but missed the black at 56-41. Higginson seized his chance with a break of 28 which proved enough.
“I’m thrilled to bits,” said Higginson. “Even though it’s not one of the big ranking tournaments, there were 200 players in it including all the big names, so to be the last man standing is a great achievement. Especially to beat John, the World Champion and best all round player in the game, in the final. He wasn’t at his best but I’ll still take it.
“I was practising the day before coming to Sheffield and hitting the ball better than I have done for years. Over the two days here I’ve made so many good breaks, not centuries but 60s and 70s which are enough to win frames.”
The result pushes Higginson to the fringes of the top 16, with one more PTC event to come, in Poland next week, before the seeding list is revised. The top 16 at that point will earn an automatic spot in the UK Championship and The Masters.
“Getting into the top 16 is one of my main goals,” added Higginson. “There are six or seven other players fighting for it and I had to win this to give myself a chance. I’m in the mix now and we’ll see how it goes next week. But if I don’t make it this time then at least I’m getting close to it.”
The PTC is a series of 12 short events, with the top 24 players in the final Order of Merit to qualify for the Grand Finals in March, providing they have played in three domestic and three European events. PTC6, at the Arena Ursynow in Warsaw, starts on Thursday.