Sixteen-year-old Oliver Fisher is only three wins away from becoming the youngest winner of the British amateur championship - and with it earning himself a place in next month's Open at St Andrews and next April's US Masters.
The Essex golfer, holder of the Nick Faldo Junior Series title and playing with the former world No 1's signature on his bag, produced a brilliant fightback at Royal Birkdale yesterday to reach the quarter-finals.
Fisher, 15 months younger than record-holder John Beharrell in an event whose history dates back to 1885, was three down to highly-rated Scot, Richie Ramsay, after eight holes.
Asked how it felt to be in the last eight on his debut, the plus- three handicapper, who takes GCSE examinations next week, said: "All right - but it'll be better if I win."
Having finished runnerup in the English stroke play championship this season, the odds on him taking over from Justin Rose as the youngest Walker Cup cap are coming down all the time.
He had beaten Coventry's Matthew Cryer two and one in round three and his win over Ramsay, who recently added the Irish stroke play crown to the Scottish title he lifted last year, was watched by an impressed cup captain Garth McGimpsey.
Although the Aberdeen player three-putted the ninth, 12th and 17th, Fisher had three successive birdies from the 15th and played a brilliant chip at the last for the half he needed.
Peter McEvoy, chairman of selectors for the match against the Americans in Chicago in August, spoke to Fisher during the day but that was to explain he did not say a quote attributed to him in a national newspaper. "Age is no barrier but I shall be surprised if he's in the side for Chicago," was the quote. But McEvoy pointed out that he said only the first part of that and that Fisher is very much a contender.
Fisher's victory, of course, came on the very hole where Rose became a household name in 1998, holing a pitch shot to finish fourth in the Open when only 17.
Fisher's quarter-final opponent, 36- year- old Welshman Nigel Edwards, gave Britain and Ireland their unprecedented third successive victory two years ago. The golf coordinator for the Welsh Golfing Union defeated Australian Marc Leishman two and one and then Finn Heikki Mantyla by seven and six.
The 44-year-old Gary Wolstenholme, champion in 1991 and 2003, and 1997 winner Craig Watson lost in the fourth round.
Wolstenholme went down two and one to Brabazon Trophy holder Lloyd Saltman while Watson was beaten on the last by fellow Scot John Gallagher, who plays all his shots with left hand below right.
Saltman said: "A lot of guys don't get on with Gary, but I do. Yes I was longer off the tee but his woods are like lasers and you've got to have respect for somebody like that. He is a fantastic golfer. I knew it was going to be tough and it was."
Wolstenholme said: "Lloyd is exactly what we need in the Walker Cup - a very good game and happy-go-lucky."
Three Scots remain in the bottom half of the draw. Gallagher next meets Moray's Bryan Fotheringham while Saltman meets another Walker Cup squad member in Belfast's Darren Crowe.
Lytham Trophy winner Gary Lockerbie, of Penrith, plays former European amateur champion Brikan McElhinney, from the North West club near Londonderry.