Willstrop nearly clinched the crown in the deciding game
Britain's James Willstrop came close to winning the men's title at the British Open only to be thwarted by Australia's David Palmer in the final game.
Willstrop had looked to be on the way out as fifth seed Palmer claimed the first two games of the final 11-9 11-9.
But Pontefract's Willstrop found his form in the third to win it 11-8 and took the fourth 11-6.
Willstrop had a match point at 10-9 in the decider, but Palmer survived and went on to win 13-11 in 112 minutes.
It was the Boston-based 31-year-old's fourth British title.
"I wasn't sure I could make it. I just wanted to test myself at this level again," he said. "But it sure feels great to have done it."
Meanwhile, British hopes of a first women's title at the British Open for 17 years were dashed when Jenny Duncalf went down in straight games Nicol David.
Malaysia's world number one saw off the 25-year-old fifth seed 9-1 10-8 9-0 to secure her third title in four years.
Duncalf, from Harrogate, came back from 7-2 down in the second game to within a point of levelling the match.
But David, eager to reclaim the trophy she lost last year, rallied to save the game-ball and went on to in 40 minutes.