Italian powerhouse Emanuele Canonica has been the European Tour's biggest hitter four times but last night he finally achieved what he wanted more than anything - a tournament victory.
Canonica, twice a runner-up in 230 previous events stretching back to 1989 and thinking of giving up at the end of last year, came from two behind to win the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
And then the 34-year-old from Turin, at five feet four inches the smallest player on the circuit by half an inch from Ian Woosnam, revealed that former Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli was among those who had persuaded him to keep going.
Asked what he might have done instead, Canonica said: "Maybe some pro-ams in Italy and some teaching, but my wife and a lot of friends told me to try a couple more years."
He shot a closing 71 yesterday for a seven-under-par total of 281 and a two-stroke victory over English pair Barry Lane and David Lynn, Welshman Bradley Dredge and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, the overnight leader.
Only 106th on the order of merit and 353rd in the world, Canonica earned £233,330, the biggest pay-day of his career.
"It's been a long wait, but today I reached my dream," he added.
Tiger Woods's former coach Butch Harmon also played a part as Canonica spent a month with him in Las Vegas during the winter.
Lynn, Lane and Dredge all failed to birdie the par-five last hole, allowing Canonica the luxury of being able to hit an iron off the tee at the dangerous 533-yard hole.
The key moment for him came on the 543-yard 16th. Having bogeyed the 13th and 14th, his second shot carried the water hazard by only a yard, but from there he pitched to five feet and made the birdie putt.
Since turning professional in 1991, Canonica had to make six trips to the European Tour qualifying school, but he showed his talent at the 1996 Dunhill Cup when he gained a notable victory over Phil Mickelson.
Five years ago in Germany, he came from behind to overhaul overnight leader Tiger Woods - only a few have done that in the career of the world No 1 - but Lee Westwood played one of the rounds of his life to win the title.
And it took Sergio Garcia to deny him at the 2002 Spanish Open as his search for a maiden victory went on.
Colsaerts opened the door yesterday with two bogeys in his first five holes, and although he twice got back on terms on the back nine, the 22-year-old Belgian's hopes of a first win himself nose-dived with a hat-trick of bogeys from the 13th.
He matched playing partner Canonica's birdie at the 16th, but although two closing pars left him in a four-way tie for second, the £93,137 cheque should see him regain his tour card at the end of the season.
Lynn shot 69, Lane 70 and Dredge 72, but they were never able to get on terms.
"I was trying to finish like I did yesterday - three-under for the last three - but I've got to be happy," said Stoke-on-Trent based Lynn.
"I've been churning out solid results all year, but this is my best finish and I'll now try and take this form on."
Paul Casey fell back to level- par with a closing double-bogey seven, but he did at least make his first halfway cut in six tournaments and will take heart from that as he heads to the USPGA Championship next week. It was a sense of anti-climax for Atherstone's Steve Webster who had reached halfway as joint-leader.
Italian Open champion Webster, so looking forward to his USPGA debut, had to settle for a tied eighth finish on three-under. After a 74 on Saturday, he had moved to seven-under yesterday with three early birdies but then bogeyed five out of six holes from the seventh to wreck his chances. He finished with a 73.
Paul Broadhurst and Jonathan Lomas were both a shot further back. Broadhurst, from Atherstone, also shot a 73, with a double-bogey at the sixth and a bogey at the ninth sandwiching birdies at the seventh and 12th, while Hill Valley's Lomas carded a final round level-par 72 with three birdies, a double bogey and bogey.
Tettenhall's Peter Baker recorded the best final round of the Midland contingent, with his six birdie, four bogey rally of 70 pushing him to three-over for a share of 37th.
Matthew Morris, from Belbroughton, followed three 73s with a 75 for a six-over 294, though he signed off in style with a birdie at the 18th.