Ronnie O’Sullivan compiled a hat-trick of centuries en route to a 5-2 victory over amateur George Pragnall in the German Masters qualifiers in Wigan.
His runs of 117, 106 and 104, coming in three successive frames, takes his tons total up to 773 – only two behind the record currently held by Stephen Hendry.
O’Sullivan, who in the last couple of months has won both the Champion of Champions and the UK Championship titles, could achieve the inevitable feat in his last 64 tie with Aditya Mehta on Friday.
However, other than those who are present at Robin Park, most onlookers and fans of the sport will no doubt be hoping he saves the milestone moment for the Alexandra Palace in London, when The Masters kicks off at the start of January.
The publicity it would gain there would far outweigh the press it would build upon its fulfillment this week – much as how Neil Robertson’s century of centuries created a media frenzy at the last World Championship.
The Australian, meanwhile, needed one of those big breaks again as he knocked in a timely 135 in the deciding frame of his 5-4 win over Mitchell Mann.
Most of the higher ranked players managed to escape an early exit and maintain their ambitions of playing at the venue in early February but, as ever, there were a couple of major casualties.
Ali Carter lost a second consecutive deciding frame thriller, following up his first round exit in York with a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Sam Baird.
In a high-scoring affair that boasted a break of over 50, including a century each, in every frame bar one, Carter will feel unlucky to have not recorded his first victory since memorably capturing the General Cup trophy upon the return from his battle of cancer in October.
Fellow top 16 seed Robert Milkins also stumbled, with amateur Ashley Carty taking advantage to emerge with a 5-2 win while Oliver Lines continued his impressive rookie season with a 5-1 triumph over the ever inconsistent Jack Lisowski.
The other notable names are safely through to today’s final qualifying stage, though, with Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, Marco Fu and John Higgins all winners on the second day of action.
Both Ken Doherty and David Morris also advanced with the former coming from behind to overcome Australian Vinnie Calabrese 5-3 and set up an intriguing repeat of the 1998 Crucible final with Higgins.
Morris saw off Duane Jones comfortably enough with a 5-1 scoreline but will face a step up in class next as he takes on Lisbon Open champion Stephen Maguire.