Rory McIlroy hones in on top two thanks to hole-in-one

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Rory McIlroy hones in on top two thanks to hole-in-one

McIlroy’s day was then rounded off nicely with another birdie at the last to leave him within reach of the two golfers above him, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters on 12-under and — of course — Kaymer.

By Alex Leach (senior Reporter)

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Published: Sat 17 Jan 2015, 12:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:15 PM

Rory McIlroy moved to within two shots of outright leader Martin Kaymer. — Reuters

Rory McIlroy moved to within two shots of outright leader Martin Kaymer. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Rory McIlroy moved to within two shots of outright leader Martin Kaymer at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday with a six-under par 66 that included his first-ever hole-in-one as a pro. The world number one birdied his first two holes on both the front and the back nine, either side of a bogey on the par-four sixth.

However, the undoubted highlight of his second round came at the par-three 15th, where he hit a 9-iron 177 yards and the ball went up and down in one fell swoop.

McIlroy’s day was then rounded off nicely with another birdie at the last to leave him within reach of the two golfers above him, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters on 12-under and — of course — Kaymer. “It was a perfect number (177), straight downwind and I had a 9-iron,” McIlroy reflected on yet another career milestone.

“The 12th hole was playing similarly and I hit 9-iron there and pitched 194, so I knew it was a pretty good number. As soon as it left the tee, it looked like it had a chance and it took a nice little hop to the right. It’s my first one ever as a pro.

“It’s nice to make a hole-in-one, but I wanted to make sure I was concentrating on the final three holes and not let that overshadow what I was actually trying to do out there, which was to get as close to the lead as possible. It’s a great position to be in heading into the weekend.”

McIlroy will tee off this afternoon (Saturday) in the final group alongside three-time champion Kaymer and Pieters and he knows it will be a challenge to catch the former given his form and pedigree around the National Course here.

“It’s always tough giving Martin a two-shot advantage over 36 holes around this place, but I’ll try my best,” he said. “He’s obviously playing very well and I feel like I’m playing good as well, so let’s see if I can put some pressure on him.

“Martin has got a phenomenal record around here and I couldn’t think of a better way to start the season than to test myself against one of the best players in the world and a two-time major winner who plays this course really well. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”



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