McIlroy hits first pro hole-in-one to close on Kaymer

Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:51am EST
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By Matt Smith

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy sunk his first professional hole-in-one in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship second round on Friday as the four-times major winner mounted another late surge to close within two strokes of leader Martyn Kaymer.

The German, teeing off early, shot a flawless 67 for an aggregate 13-under score of 131, piling the pressure on McIlroy who arrived on the first tee under a blistering midday sun.

The Northern Irishman, starting on five under, seemed unperturbed, making birdies on the first two holes, but the 25-year-old bogeyed the sixth to slip seven strokes behind Kaymer.

McIlroy sunk further birdies at 10 and 11 before missing simple putts to pick up further shots on the next two holes.

The world number one's luck was to turn on the par-three 15th, however, as he lofted a nine-iron tee shot 177 yards into the hole.

“It definitely made up for the two previous holes,” McIlroy told reporters. “It was straight downwind. The 12th hole was playing sort of similar, I hit a nine iron there and pitched 194 so I knew it was a pretty good number.

"I had been playing well, but had not been putting so good, so that took the putter out of it.”

McIlroy fluffed a 12-foot birdie chance on 16 by inches, holding his face in frustration.   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the third hole during the Abu Dhabi Golf championship January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah