Watch: Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland hit improbable shots from dirt at Tour Champ

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When your shot lands in the trees, it can be detrimental to your scorecard. But during Round 1 of the Tour Championship, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland fared better than most players do from the fairway – or as Cam Smith did at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude. 

On the par-4 fourth, McIlroy’s tee shot traveled 316 yards and sliced right, landing in the dirt. However, the four-time major champion didn’t sweat it. With 166 yards to the hole, his shot soared on a perfect line and kicked up enough past the bunker, rolling 10 inches from the hole. 

Shortly after McIlroy’s near heroics, Hovland said, “hold my beer” on the par-4 fifth. The 23-year-old hit a long drive 334 yards left, which also fell in the dirt beside the trees. But that didn’t phase Hovland. Amongst the crowd, he lofted his 128-yard shot over a tree and holed out for eagle. 


Full-field scores from the Tour Championship


Hovland, who started at 3 under due to the staggard scoring, climbed up to third place after tallying a 31 with three birdies on East Lake’s front-nine.