The 54-year-old former world champion rolled back the years at the World Snooker Academy to book his place on the plane to China for September's tournament proper.
Fellow veteran Jimmy White fell at the final qualifying hurdle though, dropping to a 5-1 defeat to Jamie Jones, while former world number two Ken Doherty also dropped out of contention with a 5-4 loss to Marcus Campbell.
But Dominic Dale thrashed Anthony McGill 5-0 to secure his place in Shaghai, while Ryan Day, Peter Ebdon and Mark Davis were also winners on the final day of qualifying.
The 16 winners in Sheffield will be joined by the world's top 16 players - a list headed by Mark Selby and Judd Trump - in China.
The Shanghai Masters, a major ranking event, runs from September 17 to 23.
Round four results:
Jamie Cope 5-4 Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
Tom Ford 5-1 Nigel Bond
Mark King 5-3 Aditya Mehta
Dominic Dale 5-0 Anthony McGill
Jamie Jones 5-1 Jimmy White
Ryan Day 5-4 Jamie Burnett
Michael Holt 3-5 Robert Milkins
Peter Ebdon 5-4 David Grace
Mark Davis 5-0 David Gilbert
Andrew Higginson 0-5 Steve Davis
Joe Perry 5-4 Barry Pinches
Fergal O'Brien 5-0 Rod Lawler
Marcus Campbell 5-4 Ken Doherty
Anthony Hamilton 3-5 Jimmy Robertson
Marco Fu 5-4 Mark Joyce
Barry Hawkins 5-4 Dave Harold