By Brian Keogh
Rory McIlroy can’t wait to go head to head with pal Ollie Fisher in Portugal this week.
The Holywood ace, 17, is on top of the world following his play-off win at the Sherry Cup in Spain on Saturday.
Now he has Fisher, 18, in his sights when he tees it up in this week’s €1.25 million Estoril Open de Portugal at Quinta da Marinha
The English Walker Cup ace, 18, grabbed his European Tour card last year after a brilliant amateur career .
And pal McIlroy is looking forward to testing his game against the talented Essex lad in a pro event
He said: "I am really looking forward to getting to see Ollie Fisher again and I am playing a practice round with him tomorrow.
"I haven't seen him since October really so it will be great to tee it up with him."
Fisher became the third youngest player to earn his card at the European Tour Qualifying School Finals at San Roque last November.
Since he hit the pro ranks he has earned €59,237 from eight starts, missing just two cuts.
And while he is being hailed as Europe’s next big star, McIlroy believes he can be just as good.
McIlroy said: "He is a different type of player. He’s played Walker Cup and I haven’t. But he is no better than any aspect of his game than I am."
Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie and Gary Murphy will lead the Irish challenge in Portugal.
And McGinley is desperate to get back to winning ways as soon as possible as he sits a lowly 96th in the latest World Golf Ranking and 114th on the Order of Merit.
He said: "It will be nice to play a tournament without battling jet lag for a change.
"I shot nine under par in the TCL Classic on a 7,200 yard golf course with quite heavy rough and finished 34th!
"It was a so called weak field and co-sanctioned with the Asian tour, the cut was 5 under par and it just goes to show and prove how good the standard of golf is rising, not just in Europe but in Asia too.
"I feel like I played decently but didn’t do it for four days which is now necessary in order for a top finish and contention to win tournaments."