Jason Day valiantly fought off a spirited fightback from Victor Dubuisson in the final of the World Match Play to seal his maiden WGC title at the fifth extra hole at Dove Mountain, Arizona.
The Australian, who earlier beat Rickie Fowler 3&2 in the days first semi-final, eventually wrapped up victory in the longest-ever championship match on the drivable par-four 15th with a fine up-and-down birdie after Dubuisson had come back from two down with two to play to force a sudden-death playoff.
Fowler had earlier saw off Els at the 19th hole in the third and fourth place playoff.
The drama did not end in regulation play in the final, either, as twice the 23-year-old Frenchman - who beat Els by one hole in the other semi-final - played two outrageous chip shots from in amongst the Tucson cacti to stay alive in the tournament.
However, with the Arizonian sun quickly disappearing behind Dove Mountain, Day kept his composure and eventually prevailed when he nervelessly flew his chip shot at the pin - leaving him a four-foot putt for victory after Dubuisson's 32-foot birdie putt failed to find the cup.
With his first WGC win, the Australian moves up to a career-high fourth in the World Rankings and looks set to contend for a maiden major title this season after recovering admirably from the loss of eight relatives in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan last year.
"I kept telling myself I wanted it more than anything in the world," he said afterwards.
"I've had a lot of consistent finishes in the big events, and I kept telling myself I've got to keep working hard and work, work, work smart. As long as I don't give up and keep pushing through, it will happen again," he added.
The emergence of Dubuisson as a gritty, determined matchplay player will have been a huge positive for 2014 Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley after the young star all but sealed his place on the European team following his second-place finish. His performance was all the more impressive given the fact it was his first appearance at a WGC event.
Dubuisson - now ranked 23rd in the world after only four years as a professional - first emerged at the end of last season during the European Tour's Final Series when he saw off the likes of Tiger Woods to win the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open.
And after another assured performance in an intense environment, the Frenchman now stands 536,935 points ahead of Denmark's Thomas Bjorn at the top of the Ryder Cup points list.
Had he have prevailed over Day in the final, he would've become the first Frenchman to ever win on the PGA Tour - a feat he will surely achieve later in his career after being granted Special Temporary membership with his runner-up finish.
The dramatic finish to the tournament will have provided PGA Tour chiefs with the perfect remedy to critics of the tournament, which has struggled to attract large galleries in seasons past due to the nature of the Sunday format.
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