The swing completed years of work to return the sport to the Olympic lineup, a place it had not enjoyed since Canada’s George Lyon won the 1904 St. Louis Olympics title.
World number 288 Da Silva, 44, shook hands with first-group playing partners Graham DeLaet of Canada and An Byeong-Hun of South Korea before being left alone on the tee. After a couple of practice swings, he walked up and fired his historic shot.
A field of 60 will compete over 72 holes of stroke play for a gold medal and berths in all four 2017 major championships, with the final round on Sunday over the 6,245-yard, par-71 layout designed by Gil Hanse alongside a nature park.
Burrowing owls, capybaras — the world’s largest rodents — alligator-like caimans and even a nine-foot crocodile can be found along the course, although they typically shy away from players.
The field includes six major winners — current British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, England’s Justin Rose and reigning Masters champion Danny Willett, two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson of the United States and Germany’s Martin Kaymer.