Hole in one for Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi

Rory McIlroy made his first career hole in one
Rory McIlroy made his first career hole in one

Rory McIlroy shot his first career hole in one on Friday at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - but was still two shots behind leader, Martin Kaymer.

Kaymer, winner of this tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011, made 10 birdies and a couple of bogeys on Thursday to surge to the summit, and he continued his fine form on day two.

The German was one shot clear of Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, who missed the chance to stay tied for first place after a bogey on his final hole of the day.

World number one McIlroy - who carded a 66 - climbed five places to third, thanks in part to the first tournament hole in one of his professional career on the par-three 15th.

The Northern Irishman also carded five birdies and a bogey to register 66 and go 11 under for the event.

McIlroy’s playing partner Rickie Fowler did not enjoy as much luck as the reigning Open and PGA champion. The American had a triple bogey after finding the deep rough on the eighth before two more bogeys on the back nine left him on two under, just above the projected cut.

McIlroy found himself in a good position after his first ever hole in one from 177 yards on the 15th was added to his five birdies, with a bogey on the sixth the only blot on his copybook.

“I felt really good. I went to the range yesterday and worked on a couple of things and drove the ball much better today, which you need to round here,” he said. “Ball-striking wise, I couldn’t really fault it.

“I was playing really well from tee to green. I felt like I was hitting some good putts as well, but they just weren’t dropping.

“Overall I’m not going to complain with a 66 as it’s a great position to be in going into the weekend.”

Speaking about the hole in one, McIlroy added: “It definitely made up for the previous two holes. It was a perfect number, a straight downwind 177. As soon as it left the bat it looked like it had a chance. It’s my first one ever in competition as a pro, and obviously beers are on me tonight.”