Rory McIlroy clearly delighted a heavily pregnant woman with a bizarre autograph moments after a disappointing ‘no frills’ first day appearance at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
McIlroy was level par coming down the last on the ‘harder’ South Course when he found a back bunker with his second shot at the par-5 18th.
He then superbly splashed out to some four feet and delighted packed grandstands by holing the putt in an eventual one-under par 71.
It left McIlroy trailing a whopping nine shots behind victorious Ryder Cup team-mate Jon Rahm who snatched two eagles on the easier South Course and leads the tournament by a shot thanks to a blistering 10-under par 62 as he seeks a second Torrey Pines title having making eagle on the final hole two years ago to sensationally capture the title.
The 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open winner, with his visiting grandmother from Spain watching on, eagled his opening hole, the par-5 10th, and also the eighth hole of his round while the Spaniard also managed seven birdies including birdieing his 14th to 17th holes, with his only bogey at his 12th.
McIlroy found 9 of 14 fairways in his first competitive round at Torrey Pines but needed 32 putts over the 18 holes and there was no post-round interview with McIlroy avoiding all requests for autographs except for one.
Waiting behind the metal barricade in front of the Torrey Pines Pro Shop that overlooks the practice putting green was a heavily pregnant woman named Bethany who revealed she was due to give birth in around a fortnight and also that she was one of McIlroy’s biggest fans.
Then in one of the more bizarre autographs McIlroy has signed, he reached over to sign his name on the top that Bethany was wearing and then headed straight for the sanctity of the locker room.
“Rory’s one of my favourite golfers ever and it was great of him to give me an autograph,” said Bethany. “I am due to have a girl so unfortunately I won’t be able to call her Rory but it were to be boy maybe, well … “
Sadly, Seamus Power’s horror new season run continues with the West Waterford golfer posting a four-over par 76 on the same course Rahm shot his 62.
Power, who has missed six of seven cuts as a full Tour player for a first time in his career, could manage just three birdies but horribly also seven bogeys including three in a row mid-round.