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His wedge shot landed next to the pin on the par-4 and spun into the hole to kick-start his tournament, which he started as overwhelming favourite following a strong run of form throughout the summer.
Watch McIlroy's eagle:
Rory McIlroy take a bow 👏👏pic.twitter.com/Ek6iTonXHRSeptember 15, 2022
The Northern Irishman makes his first start in Italy as a pro this week at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, venue for the 2023 Ryder Cup.
McIlroy is set to be one of the leaders on Luke Donald's side in Rome next year, and is one of a few big European names to be scouting out the course this week along with Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland.
"It was really important to be here," McIlroy said. "Every other European Ryder Cup venue I've played, I've played before, whether it be in tournaments or I just wanted to get some prep.
"I wanted to get an early look at the golf course. I knew that I wouldn't be able to come back here next May and play because of the schedule and everything else, so this is my one opportunity to play. I wanted to be here. I wanted to come and have a look at the golf course and feel like I've got a little bit of a head start on everyone else in terms of The Ryder Cup for 2023.
"But it's not just about that. Look, it's great to play the golf course and great to play in competition, but I'm here to try to win a golf tournament, too. So trying to kill two birds with one stone this week."
McIlroy currently ranks 2nd in the world following his successful title defence at the Canadian Open in June, T5th at the US Open, 3rd at the 150th Open, FedEx Cup glory and a T2nd at last week's BMW PGA Championship.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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