Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm said winning the South African Open was a 'dream come true.'
Storm pipped world number two Rory McIlroy in a play-off to take the title - his Second European Tour title and the first since he won the French Open in 2007.
Storm was given a reprieve when Patrick Reed failed to play enough events to join the Tour and he made the most of his second coming in Johannesburg.
Starting the day three shots clear of the world number two, he almost buckled under the heat as McIlroy made five birdies in a final-round 68.
But the Northern Irishman's bogey on the par-three 17th teed up a play-off which the Hartlepool man took.
Storm, who is still an honorary member of Hartlepool Golf Club, said: "I am speechless. It's been incredible and I can't quite believe it."
Storm added: "This is a dream come true, especially after what happened to me last year with my card and everything. I really took a lot from that experience and told myself to try and grasp the opportunity of getting my livelihood back with both hands and I have done that this week.
"It's an unbelievable feeling. I hung in there today and didn't play my best stuff but I knew if I could hang in there that I might get my chance and thankfully it came.
"It really means everything to me to be in the winner's circle again. "I have been to hell and back to be honest with you. It's been an absolute rollercoaster over the last year and a half - especially the end of last year.
"There was pressure today but not the same pressure as trying to keep your European Tour card. That's real pressure and something I don't want to feel for a long time."
Storm picked up £143,000 as a result of the victory.