Rory McIlroy has made 12 birdies in two days yet finds himself in a five-way share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Kolon Korea Open.
The Ulsterman hit a two under 69 at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club to share top spot on five under par with YE Yang, Rickie Fowler, veteran Korean Mo Joong-kyung and Australia’s Bronson La’Cassie.
Mo, 40, carded five birdies and eagle in a five-under-par 66 as La’Cassie fired a 67 that included a missed six foot birdie putt on the 18th that could have given the Australian the outright lead.
Starting on the back nine, McIlroy went to the turn in level par when he mixed birdies at the 12th, 14th and 18th with bogeys at the 13th, 15th and 16th.
But he came back in 34 thanks to back to back birdies at the par three fourth and par-five fifth.
Just over four years since he turned professional, world No 3 McIlroy arrived in Korea hoping to break a run of three consecutive top-threes with what would be his fourth win in the paid ranks.
“It was a good round. I felt it could have been lower, but I played solid golf and holed some nice putts,” said McIlroy, who finished third in 2009.
“It’s a good start to the tournament and I have put myself in a good position going into the weekend.”
Kolon Korea Open, Par 71, 7225 Yards Woo Jeong Hills Country Club (am=denotes amateur):
137 - Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68-69, YE Yang (KOR) 67-70, Mo Joong-kyung (KOR) 71-66, Rickie Fowler (USA) 67-70, Bronson La’Cassie (AUS) 70-67.
140 - Kim Meen-Whee (KOR) 69-71.
141 - Hong Soon-sang (KOR) 68-73, Noh Seung-yul (KOR) 72-69, Lee Soo-min (am, KOR) 68-73.
142 - John Huh (USA) 69-73, Andrew Tschudin (AUS) 69-73.
143 - Zhang Xinjun (CHN) 69-74, Lee Boo-young (KOR) 71-72, Stephen Allan (AUS) 71-72, David Oh (USA) 70-73.
144 - Yoon Jung-ho (KOR) 72-72, Park Sang-hyun (KOR) 73-71, Kim Dae-hyun (KOR) 73-71, Scott Arnold (AUS) 73-71, Choi Jin-ho (KOR) 73-71, Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 73-71.
145 - Kim Do-hoon 753 (KOR) 75-70, Lee Kyoung-hoon (KOR) 74-71, Lee Seong-ho (KOR) 74-71, Hwang In-choon (KOR) 75-70, Jung Jae-hoon (KOR) 72-73, Joo Heung-chol (KOR) 71-74, Lee Jin-won (KOR) 75-70, Kim Seung-hyuk (KOR) 72-73.