Donegal’s Thomas Kearney will make his PGA Tour debut in Texas today hoping to finally overshadow a couple of boyhood wins over superstar Rory McIlroy.

The Ballyliffin starlet, 26, has been handed a dream sponsor’s invitation to tee it up alongside the likes of Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia in the Texas Valero Open.

And he’s determined to take advantage and earn some bragging right for something more than his wins over a 13 year old Rory McIlroy.

Kearney said: “I played Rory twice in the Fred Daly Trophy when he was only 13 and I killed him at that time.

“I think I beat him 7 and 6 at Ballyliffin and 6 and 5 at Holywood. My Dad is really proud of that now that Rory is doing so well. 

“But I’ve told my Dad that I will try to give him something else to shout about on a bigger stage.”

A graduate of the University of Texas, San Antonio resident Kearney is hoping to take advantage of his sponsor’s invitation by making his mark in his adopted home town.

He said: “My plan this season is to try and come through the Monday qualifiers for Nationwide Tour events. 

“I qualified for one last year in my first try and I believe my game is good enough to compete and win at this level.

“I picked up the H1N1 virus earlier this year and I was out for a while with pneumonia. But I’m feeling 100 percent again and I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of what is a massive opportunity.”

On the European Tour, Paul McGinley leads a group of five Irish players in the Iberdrola Open Cala Millor in Mallorca.

The Dubliner is joined by Damien McGrane, Qualifying School graduates Simon Thornton and Gary Murphy, and Challenge Tour regular Colm Moriarty.