Atherstone's Paul Broadhurst won his first major title at the Senior Open at Carnoustie as Miguel Angel Jimenez's form collapsed in Sunday's final round
Paul, 50, who won the Scottish Senior Open last year, started four shots behind overnight leader Jimenez.
But he led the Spaniard by a shot heading down the 18th and parred it for a round of 68 as Jimenez had a double bogey which dropped him to joint-third.
American Scott McCarron surged into a one-shot lead but ended up in second.
Paul, whose best Open finish is a tie for 12th in both 1990, when he shot a joint-Open record of 63 at St Andrews, and 2007 at Carnoustie, now qualifies for next year's 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
He has also secured an exemption for next year's lucrative Champions Tour, where he has already won a tournament to accompany six previous wins on the European Tour and two on the European Seniors Tour.
'We have got three years to sort my game out'
"It's incredible to be honest. I never dreamed this would ever happen," the former Ryder Cup player from Atherstone, Warwickshire, told BBC Scotland.
"It is seriously beyond my wildest dreams. It hasn't really sunk in yet."
Broadhurst's last events on the main European Tour were in 2012. He has spent the last few years playing PGA Midlands tournaments, mostly Pro-Ams.
"I had a decision to make; either stop playing and perhaps go into teaching or find a job - I was only 45-46," he explained.
"But I decided I wanted to carry on playing. I was working with Tim Rouse, the pro at Northants County Golf Club, and he has turned my game around really.
"That was my remit when we first met - 'I want to be playing well when I get to 50 - we have got three years to sort my game out'. So a massive thank-you to him. Without his help, this wouldn't have happened."