Stuart Bingham won the first ranking tournament of his career after staging a superb comeback to stun Mark Williams in a thrilling final of the Australian Goldfields Open.
Bingham’s bid for a maiden triumph looked to have been sunk as world number one Williams battled back from 3-1 down to lead 8-5 in the best-of-17 final at the Bendigo Stadium in Victoria.
However, the 35-year-old refused to concede defeat and, aided by breaks of 41, 69 and 76, levelled the scores before winning a tense deciding frame to take the title.
Earlier, Bingham could hardly have asked for a better start to the match as he took the opening frame with a 139 break – the third highest of the tournament after Williams‘ scores of 142 and 140 in the quarter-finals.
Williams hit back with a break of 89 in the second frame, but Bingham soon found himself 3-1 ahead after coming out on top in two scrappy frames in which the highest break from either player was 33.
At that stage Bingham would have been delighted with the way his first ranking final was going, but Williams, the two-time world champion, fought back with breaks of 85, 57 and 84 to move into a narrow lead.
The final frame of the first session saw Bingham recover to level the scores at 4-4, despite a 52 from Williams.
Williams continued his good form immediately after the interval and breaks of 52, 32 and 71 saw the Welshman rattle off three successive frames to move 7-4 ahead.
Bingham responded by claiming a low-scoring 12th frame 51-10 to stop the rot, but Williams produced a break of 68 in the next to move into an 8-5 lead and within touching distance of victory.
It was a victory Williams would never taste though as Bingham fought his way back into the final before securing an historic triumph in the deciding frame, a break of 47 helping the Englishman win 80-34.