Murphy, who qualified for the event by winning the Gibraltar Cup last season, had never won a match in Coventry in his previous appearances. But coming through Group 2 with victories over Mark King and Michael White, before beating current China Championship winner Luca Brecel, who beat Murphy to lift that title, in the semi-finals.
O’Sullivan who has dominated this tournament and its previous incarnation as the Premier League, made the final last season before losing to John Higgins. The Chigwell player beat Neil Robertson, before whitewashing his old foe Higgins 6-0 in the group stages, before beating German Masters winner Anthony Hamilton 6-2 in the semi-finals.
The final, started well for O’Sullivan, going into a 2-0 lead, before Murphy got a foothold and turn it around to lead, only for O’Sullivan to draw parity before the first turn of the final came. Down to the colours at 4-4, Murphy managed to clear after an O’Sullivan error to go into the break 5-4 up.
The last time this pair clashed in a final was in the Premier League, when Murphy beat his rival to the title – one of the few times, O’Sullivan was beaten in a tournament he dominated since 2005.
It was looking good for Murphy again, when on resumption in the evening session, he capitalised after O’Sullivan had fouled the blue whilst going into the pack, to leave Murphy a chance to make a big break. Taking the next three, O’Sullivan was 8-4 down and managed to claw the last back before the mid-session interval.
Any hopes of O’Sullivan forcing a comeback appeared over when Murphy made a 71 to leave him needing one more to lift the title. But O’Sullivan started to get a run of the balls and this, with breaks of 108 and 68, left him right back in at 9-8 down.
The sold-out final, thought they may be seeing a final-frame shootout, when O’Sullivan seemed to be on the verge of clearing up the colours. But a missed yellow to middle pocket, gave Murphy a chance to hold his nerve and clear the colours to win it on the final black.
A delighted Murphy pocketed a cheque for £100,000 to add the Champion of Champions title to his Masters, UK and World Championship title success of 2005.
The tour moves back to China this week, with the Shanghai Masters taking place.