McIlroy for Portuguese Open

By Brian Keogh

Pro golf just can't get enough of Rory McIlroy.

The amateur ace this week landed an invitation to play this month's €1.25 million Portuguese Open at Quinta da Marinha.

But the Holywood hothsot, 17, says he will not be tempted to play in the Irish Open at Adare Manor as he prepares to nail down his place in September's Walker Cup team before turning to the paid ranks.

He said: "The Portuguese Open is perfect for me because it falls right between the Grey Goose Cup (Sherry Cup) and the West of Ireland.

"It's a great chance for me to get more experience under my belt but it's going to be my last pro event until the Barclays Scottish Open and then The Open at Carnoustie.

"If I was lucky enough to get an invite for the Irish Open I would definitely turn it down. I have the Brabazon Trophy that week and I don't want to give the Walker Cup selectors an excuse not to pick me."

World No 2 amateur McIlroy has played nine professional events so far in his career, making four cuts.

Just last month, he turned a few heads when he broke par in the first three rounds of the Dubai Desert Classic before fading to 52nd place behind the likes of Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods.

The 72 hole Grey Goose Cup at Sotogrande is one of the great amateur events on the calendar while McIlroy's fellow Ulsterman Ronan Rafferty took the Portuguese Open title in 1992.

The Holywood star is eagerly awaited at Rosses Point this Easter, where he will bid for a hat-trick of West of Ireland Amateur Open titles.

The last man to pull off that feat was the legendary JB Carr from 1960-62.