Rory McIlroy was tipped to shine this year and so far he has not disappointed.

The Irishman, who first raised eyebrows at the 2007 Open at Carnoustie where he had an impressive opening round and finished with the silver medal, has climbed into the world's top 20, bagged his first European Tour title and won the inaugural The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month award.

Not bad for a 19-year-old.

Next on McIlroy's radar is a quarter-final at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, where he will take on former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy having seen off South Africa's Tim Clark - the man who knocked out Tiger Woods - and US Ryder Cup star Hunter Mahan.

McIlroy admitted to feeling a tinge of disappointment at being denied a clash with Woods on the world number one's comeback from a serious knee injury, saying: 'It would have been great to play him, but maybe another time.

'He has been a hero of mine for the past I don't know how many years.'

The signs 2009 could be McIlroy's year were evident in November, when he finished second at the UBS Hong Kong Open and became the youngest player ever to break into the world's top 50.

He tied for third at the South African Open which earned him qualification for April's Masters, a major he has a realistic chance of winning given his consistent red-hot form over the last few months.

'To get to play at Augusta in my second season, making the top 50 in the world...I'm over the moon,' he said at the end of 2008.

Just 16 months into his professional career, McIlory clinched his maiden European Tour win at the Dubai Desert Classic at the beginning of February, holding his nerve to sink a three-foot putt for par at the last, sealing a final-round two-under-par 70 to finish one shot ahead of Justin Rose.

Showing a calm maturity which belies his young age, McIlroy is not getting carried away with his recent success.

'I will have to reassess my goals, but I will just go out every week and try and get myself into contention going into the back nine on Sunday and that's my goal every week,' he said.

'Your success only makes you more motivated to do better. I have become a very good player, but I still have a lot of years to progress and I just want to keep improving.'