RORY McILROY’S wife surprised him following his latest win by showcasing all his trophies in a gleaming new cabinet.
After his first-round showing at the DP Tour World Championship, Erica might have to find more space this weekend.
The world No 2 opened up with a sizzling eight-under-par 64 including what he called “possibly the best shot of my career” — a stunning 291-yard three wood on the par-five 18th that finished just five feet from the flag.
McIlroy’s eagle meant he carded his lowest score in 37 rounds at the famous Earth course, where he has won twice and posted four other top-five finishes.
He will tee it up this morning a shot behind Mike Lorenzo-Vera of France but no one is in any doubt who is the man to beat this week.
Four-time Major champion McIlroy, 30, said: “That shot I hit on 18 was just perfect. I had 270 to the front of the green, 291 to the flag, and I absolutely flushed it.
“It was a great yardage for my three wood but you still have to button it to get it all he way back to that flag. It was definitely the best shot I’ve hit all year, possibly the best shot of my career.
“I know how well I was playing coming in here, especially after winning my last event.
“Since The Open I’ve played some of the best golf on my career, and I played great to win the HSBC Champions in China.
“It is always good to win another World Golf Championship event, and I had a lovely surprise when I got back to our new house in Florida.
“We moved in about two months ago, and the games room was the last one to be finished. When I left for China the trophy cabinet hadn’t been built.
“But Erica had taken all my trophies out of storage, where they’ve been for the last 18 months, and they were all up on the wall in the new cabinet.
“It was the first time in ages I’d seen the Claret Jug, the US Open trophy, and all that stuff.
“I like to have them out so in a reflective moment, I can go and have a look at all I’ve achieved on the golf course over the last few years.
“It’s also a motivational thing, thinking this is what I can do — and I want more of it. I haven’t thought about getting an extension built for the cabinet — but I’d like to be in the position where I need one.”
McIlroy was not the only player to swoop in for an eagle. Tommy Fleetwood got off to the perfect start in his bid to chase down Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger as he sank his second shot from 153 yards with a nine iron at the opening hole.
Incredibly, that was his FOURTH eagle in 11 holes, after bagging three of them in his final-round 65 when he won the Nedbank Challenge event last weekend.
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UNLUCKY FOR SOME
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Austrian Wiesberger battled back to two under thanks to three birdies in his final seven holes although he still trails Fleetwood by three shots.
The Englishman, 28, said: “Obviously I got off to the perfect start, and then added a birdie at the second so I was flying at that point.
“I cooled off a bit later but I’ve put myself right in there.”