New Zealand's most promising male golfer has taken the next step in his career, with Daniel Hillier turning pro.
After a stellar amateur career, Hillier, 21, has been given an immediate invitation to join some of the world's best golfers on the European Tour - starting with this weekend's KLM Open in Amsterdam - and will face off with the likes of Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed.
Rising as high as 13th in the world amateur rankings, Hillier has signed a deal with UK-based Sport Circle management, seeing him jet off to begin life as a pro.
"I'd been tapped on the shoulder by a management company, so all the pieces came together at the right time," Hillier told 1 NEWS.
"It's all happened so quickly, I don't think I've had time to digest it."
Aside from his obvious ability, Hillier also has the support of one of the game's all-time greats - four-time Major winner Ernie Els convincing him to turn pro at this year's US Open.
"He flicked me a message to say 'Congratulations and welcome to the family, and if you ever wanna have a round that'd be really cool'."
It's not just the "Big Easy" that sees Hillier's potential either.
"He was a special young man as soon as we laid eyes on him," NZ Golf high performance director Gregg Thorpe told 1 NEWS.
"He could certainly play golf, but I think as a human the behaviours that underpinned his skills were there too."
Hillier is close to signing apparel and equipment deals, before his first event as a professional begins this weekend.