Players as accomplished as Rory McIlroy rarely have notable firsts late into their careers but the Northern Irishman crossed another milestone on Thursday by carding his first hole-in-one on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship.
McIlroy’s tee shot at the par-three 214-yard eighth landed on the green and rolled directly into the hole. The 34-year-old threw both arms in the air and high-fived his caddie and playing partners Tom Kim and Viktor Hovland.
According to the PGA Tour, the four-time major winner had previously played 3,253 par-three holes on the circuit. It was McIlroy’s second ace in competition having made one in Abu Dhabi on the DP World Tour in 2015.
“As hole-in-ones go, I’ve had them in the past where it has been an okay shot and you get a little lucky (but) that was the best shot of the day that I hit, and it’s obviously a bonus for it to go into the hole,” McIlroy said.
“It was really cool. I played pretty averagely up until that point but I birdied the next couple of holes after that and it sort of got me into the tournament a bit.”
Rory McIlroy was playing his first round since his latest bid to end a nine-year major drought fell short at last week’s U.S. Open, where he finished one shot back of Wyndham Clark.
McIlroy, who finished with a two-under-par 68 for the round, eight shots behind leader Denny McCarthy, did not keep the ball as a memento.
“I threw it away to someone,” he said. “I’m not sentimental, I don’t care. I’d rather have trophies than golf balls.”