McIlroy’s ace start

World’s top golfer scored his first hole in one, adding extra joy to the Abu Dhabi tournament

Rory McIlroy celebrates his 162m hole-in-one on the par three hole during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Photo: Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images
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A hole in one is a career highlight for any golfer, be they a professional or a weekend hacker, but the ace scored by Rory McIlroy during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday must be doubly gratifying. For a start, it was the first of his professional career and doing so was one of his goals for 2015 that he had scribbled down on an airline boarding card.

Putting a tick beside the goal just 16 days into the new year must have been enjoyable, but to do so at Abu Dhabi just adds icing to the cake. This was the tournament at which a couple of years ago he announced a career-defining sponsorship deal with Nike. But in keeping with golf’s capricious nature, his form immediately slumped before he roared back to winning ways last year.

Spectators already savour this tournament as a way to get close to the stars and enjoy the best of the Abu Dhabi lifestyle. To also see the world number one golfer score an ace is a rare treat to be savoured.