Teenager Ashley Carty faces the biggest match of his fledgling snooker career tonight at the Welsh Open in Cardiff.
For the Rotherham amateur plays world No 11 Marco Fu in his third round match, with the possible prize a last 16 meeting with five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
He has already pocketed £2,500 in prize money – the biggest pay-day of his rookie career – but that will double to £5,000 if he beats Fu.
Carty juggles his snooker and a sports coaching job with PTC Sports – who also sponsor him – but he has high hopes of breaking into the professional ranks.
“The chance to play Ronnie would be great,” said Carty, who also reached the last 32 of this season’s German Masters.
“It’s been the best week of my snooker career by a long way.
“Marco Fu has been struggling over the last few years, not winning as many tournaments as he used to. Hopefully I can cause another upset.”
Some big names have already fallen in Cardiff, including former world champion Shaun Murphy, while yesterday Sheffield-based Ding Junhui – the world No 3 – crashed out at the first-round stage, losing to little-known Lee Walker 4-1.
Victory this evening in Cardiff would extend a memorable week for Carty, who qualified for the China Open on Sunday.
He beat snooker legend Jimmy White in the qualfying rounds at Barnsley Metrodome, before heading south to Wales.
The schedule in Cardiff meant Carty had to play his first two rounds on Monday, but cruised through with impressive wins over experienced duo Michael Holt (4-2) – the Nottingham player is 24th in the world rankings – and London Alfie Burden (4-0). Carty added: “It was a good day on Monday, beating Michael gave me a lot of confidence going into the evening match.
“I know on my day I am capable of beating anyone.”
Leeds cueman Peter Lines failed to reach the second round, losing 4-1 to Michael Gerogiou.
Keighley’s Chris Melling beat veteran Nigel Bond, before a second-round 4-0 defeat to Michael White last night.
Dronfield’s Oliver Brown, 20, edged out Mike Dunn 4-3, before returning last night to shock Welshman Ryan Day in a 4-1 win.
World champion Mark Selby reached the last 32 with a 4-2 win over Marcus Campbell.
It was a similar scoreline for Stuart Bingham, as he saw off Robin Hull, and Stephen Maguire in beating Liam Highfield.
Former world champion John Higgins cruised to a 4-0 victory against Alex Borg.