Jordan Brown says all the sacrifices he has made are worth it as he prepares for the Welsh Open final.
He faces Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Celtic Manor resort in Sunday's final.
The world number 81 pulled off an outstanding 6-1 win over Stephen Maguire in the final.
The experienced O'Sullivan won by the same margin against home favourite Mark Williams on the other side of the draw.
33-year-old Brown - who has never been past a quarter-final in a ranking event - spoke of how far he had come to reach this point.
Talking after his semi-final win on Saturday, the Antrim native said he has experienced a 'crazy' journey.
"It is crazy to think of the journey that I have had. To be in a ranking tournament final is just incredible.
"Three years ago I was working in a petrol station and serving customers, getting up at 5:30 and 6:30 every morning."
Showing his intent against Maguire in their last four clash, Brown opened with a superb 135 break in the first frame.
"It was very important to stamp my authority early," he remarked on his positive start.
"I showed Stevie that I was ready to play. The 135-break just settled me right down.
"I was pleased to carry it right through the whole match."
“I’ve been putting the hours in on the practice table. Maybe I was just going in to pot balls in the club before. It is more intense now and I am treating it more like a match occasion. That means something. It is easy to pot balls, but there is a lot more to it than that."
The added bonus of reaching the final means that the Northern Ireland man is also assured of a place in next week's Players Championship.
“It means everything to be in the Players Championship.
All of the sacrifices and hard work have led me to this moment. It is very satisfying because I’ve always had the inner belief to compete with the top players.
"To be in the mix next week will be amazing.”