Gary Anderson claimed his first ranking victory for over two years with a thrilling 6-5 defeat of Justin Pipe in the German Darts Championship final on Sunday night.
The Scot, whose last title came in a Players Championship in Holland in September 2011, made an ideal start to 2014 by taking the £20,000 European Tour title at Halle 39 in Hildesheim.
Anderson had kicked off his challenge in the 48-player tournament with a brilliant second round whitewash of Irish debutant Glenn Spearing, where he averaged 108.65, before he enjoyed 6-4 wins over Wayne Jones, Ian White and Ronnie Baxter in reaching the final.
There, he enjoyed a see-saw contest with Pipe, who led 1-0 before hitting back from 2-1 down to win three successive legs as a 135 finish put him 4-2 up.
Anderson replied with a 14-dart leg, only for Pipe to take out a 13-darter as he moved to the brink of victory at 5-3 - but Anderson landed a 180 in the ninth as a 12-darter kept his hopes alive.
The tenth leg saw the tension hit both players as Pipe missed the bull for a 164 finish for the title and was also off-target with two darts at double eight as Anderson hit double one to force a deciding leg.
Pipe kicked off the final leg with a 180, but paid for three more missed match darts - with one at double 12 and two at double six going begging - to allow Anderson in to finish double ten for glory.
“It’s been a long time coming but I’m delighted,” said Anderson. “I’ve put a lot of hard work in since the World Championship and it’s paying off for me.
“My first game was really good and I had some other great moments during the weekend. Maybe I got a bit lucky in the final and rode my luck a little bit, but it’s great to win.
“It’s a good start to the year and I’m determined to do well this year. I’ve dropped out of the top 16 and I want to get back in there and keep climing back into the top eight again.”
The next event on the European Tour is the Dutch Masters on February 14-16.