Less than half a centimetre separated Paul Lim from another sensational nine-darter at a world championship, 27 years after the Singaporean achieved global fame for the perfect leg at the 1990 edition.
Scotland's two-time world champion Gary Anderson may have beaten Lim 4-1 (3-0, 3-0, 1-3, 3-0, 3-2) in the second round of the World Darts Championship in London on Friday but Lim's near-miss was the main talking point.
After losing the first five legs, the 63-year-old Lim sprung into life. He racked up 177 and 180 (the maximum score for a round of three darts) before another two triple 20s set him up for a perfect leg; using only nine darts, the fewest possible, to check out from 501 points. But his attempt at the double 12 fell narrowly outside.
Distracted by the miss, Lim missed his next six attempts on the same target as Anderson regrouped to win the second set and take a 2-0 lead.
Lim's poor finishing-he checked out just five times in 23 attempts compared to Anderson's 13 in 36 - cost him not just another historic nine-darter and the £20,000 (S$36,000) bonus that comes with it, but also the match at Alexandra Palace.
Lim told The Sunday Times yesterday: "I'm disappointed and I'm going to have nightmares later because had I made that, I would have another slice of history by becoming the first to complete two nine-darters in both the BDO (British Darts Organisation) and PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) World Championships.
"I was not nervous but I didn't settle down fast enough and I didn't give myself any flow when I missed all those doubles (finishes).
HOW HE WAS UNDONE AT THE NINTH DART
TURN ONE: 177
TURN TWO: 180
TURN THREE: 132
"But overall I'm pleased with how I played in a tough tournament. I beat one former world champion and lost to another. I'll definitely be back next year."
The veteran has certainly enjoyed an Indian summer. In June, he teamed up with compatriot Harith Lim to shock top seeds Anderson and Peter Wright 5-2 in the first round of the World Cup before being eliminated in the quarter-finals.
On Monday, Paul stunned 2008 world champion Mark Webster 3-2 in the first round of the £1.8 million world championship.
The 47-year-old Anderson, ranked second in the world by Darts Database, 441 places higher than Lim, paid his opponent a glowing tribute in his post-match interview.
He said: "If Paul had got the nine-darter it would have been the best Christmas present ever.
"I could have stayed up there all night playing Paul Lim at darts. It was very hard for me tonight because I was playing one of my heroes. I was like a kid in a candy shop.
"When people say, what a lovely bloke, what a gem of a bloke, that's Paul Lim. He's an absolute legend. Would I give the same respect to the players I play nowadays? No.
"Just watching him throw darts, 63 years old and he's still got it."
Lim earned £18,500 for his efforts and the knowledge he still has what it takes to compete against the best.
"It's an honour for Gary to say such nice things about me, and I will continue playing," he said.
"The PDC will have an Asian tour next year, and that's great for Asian players like me, and I'm looking forward to play in that before trying for another world championship.
" I'm heading back to Hong Kong and then to California to celebrate Christmas with my family. I have a soft-tip darts tournament in Taiwan next month, and I hope to go to Singapore in February."