Four-time Major winning Rory McIlroy could not have been more pleased for long-time good friend Oliver Fisher in becoming the first player in the history of the European Tour to finally break the sub-60 barrier by shooting a 59 on day two of the Portugal Masters at the Dom Pedro Victoria Course in Villamoura.
It was only two weeks ago McIlroy went close to joining some eight players on the PGA Tour to have shot better than 60 in signing for a 62 on the opening day of the BMW Championship in Philadelphia.
McIlroy became of aware of Fisher’s drive towards a 59 via the 12-man European Ryder Cup team ‘Group Text’ in place and with many of his Versailles team-mates up early in Atlanta, ahead of day two of the Tour Championship, to watch the action unfold on The Algarve.
“I probably caught his last five holes and it was an awesome performance, and it was a nice way to start the day,”said McIlroy following his round of 68 at East Lake.
“It was great and I am really pleased for him while he hit such a great putt on 18 that could have seen him shoot a 58.
“I guess someone one day was going to be the first to shoot a 59 but then it was like there was this stigma attached to it as it was the European Tour so now the barrier is broken.
“I had a chance two weeks ago, as you up there at the BMW in Philadelphia, but it’s tough to get over the line.
“So, Oli displayed a lot of mental toughness to keep together knowing that it’s never been done before on the European Tour.
“What would be great now is if he went onto to win the tournament as I would love Oli to win the Portugal Masters.
“He would deserve victory as he’s worked hard and he’s persevered.”
And in signing the praise of Fisher, McIlroy revealed the extent of his friendship who is some 15-months older than McIlroy.
“We first met each other at the 2003 European Young Masters in Augsberg, Germany and we became friends then and have been great friends ever since.
“We also travelled to Australia together with both our father’s for six weeks where we played some of the bigger amateur tournaments in Australia.
“We both received invitations into the Australian Masters while I qualified for the Aussie Open so we’ve had some really good times together.”
Both McIlroy and Fisher are well in the hunt to claim titles on both sides of the Atlantic this weekend.