The trio of 1992 turned professionals; Higgins, Williams and O’Sullivan have all had success this season on the tour, with the latter dominating the calendar with victories.

It was O’Sullivan, who Higgins beat en-route to the final in Newport. Amazingly, Higgins first got to the final of the Welsh Open 23 years ago in 1995 losing to Steve Davis.

Higgins victory over Kent’s Barry Hawkins brought with it his 30th ranking title of his career and produced some high quality break building. Inside the opening 4 frames the Wishaw professional knocked in breaks of 138 and 141 to level up at 2-2.

Hawkins, who has had personal problems off the table, really came back to form at this Home Nations tournament, looking like the player who won the Grand Prix last season. He came back at Higgins after the break with a 130 as the duo went into the evening session all square at 4-4.

The quality for the capacity crowd continued on the resumption, with some tight frames edging to Higgins before Hawkins fired in another 2 centuries to stay in the final.

The big frame was at 7-6 to Higgins, as Hawkins fighting his way to level again, with just pink and black on the table, a bout of shot and attacking strokeplay followed before Higgins got the nod, to go 8-6 up. Although Hawkins took the next, Higgins wrapped up the final victory 9-7 with a 64.

“It is special for me to win the Welsh Open five times,” Higgins said afterwards, as he took home a cheque for £70,000.

Elsewhere, Welshman, Ryan Day took the Gibraltar Open title with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Cao Yupeng in the final.

With holder, Shaun Murphy staying at home with a neck injury, and only 4 of the top 16 deciding to take part, a chance was on offer for one of the lower seeds to do well.

Day, who had never won a world ranking title before this season, has now taken 2 this season, having won the opening tournament of the season – the Riga Masters in June.

An invitational tournament takes place this week with the Romania Masters, before the last big UK tournament – The Players Championship – the week after, featuring the top 16 on the 1 year list.