Rory McIlroy is lurking just two strokes behind world No 539 Hong Soon-sang with two rounds to go in the OneAsia Tour’s Kolon Korea Open near Seoul.
The world No 6, who is the only player in the world’s top 200 in the field at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club south of the capital, had seven birdies and five bogeys in a rollercoaster 69 to move into a three-way tie for fifth on three under par. Scoring
“Pretty good so far,” McIlroy said after closing out his round with a bogey five at the ninth. “There were a few sloppy shots, or sloppily played holes.
“I made three bogeys on the back nine (his front nine) which wasn’t great but most of the other stuff was actually pretty solid. I hit some good shots and made some good birdies so it was good.
“I’m driving the ball very well and for the most part my iron play is pretty good, but I definitely missed a few opportunities out there.
“I definitely could have been a few shots better, but I’m in a good position going into the weekend and that’s all you can ask for.”
McIlroy opened with a birdie three at the 10th, bogeyed the 12th and birdied the 221 yards 13th before dropping three shots in a row at the 14th, 15th and 16th.
He birdied the par-five 18th for the second day running and then picked up another four birdies after the turn at the second, fifth, seventh and eighth before dropping a shot at his final hole.
Pleased to come back from two over par after just seven holes, McIlroy said: “I bounced back well after the double bogey yesterday on 13 and after that stretch today on the back nine I turned it around and played the last 10 holes in four under, so it was a pretty good effort.
“I was a little disappointed to bogey the last there, but it was good for the most part.”
As for his hopes for the next two days, McIlroy said: “Just to keep playing the way I am, stay patient. I don’t need to go out there and be overly aggressive, but I just want to get myself into a good position for Sunday if possible.”
Hong shot a bogey-free three-under-par 68 on Friday to snatch a one-stroke lead over world No 562 Kim Hyung-tae (66), world No 605 Hwang In-choon (68) and world No 445 Sung-hoon Kang on five under par.
After 36 holes
137 - HONG Soon-sang (KOR) 69-68.
138 - HWANG In-choon (KOR) 70-68, KIM Hyung-tae 404 (KOR) 72-66, KANG Sung-hoon (KOR) 68-70.
139 - JANG Ik-jae (KOR) 67-72, Rory McILROY (NIR) 70-69, YU Gyoung-yoon (KOR) 71-68.
140 - MAENG Dong-seop (KOR) 70-70.
141 - LEE Sang-hee (KOR) 72-69, MO Joong-kyung (KOR) 72-69, YOON Jung-ho (KOR) 68-73, RYU Hyun-woo (KOR) 69-72.
142 - HAN Min-kyu (KOR) 68-74, LEE Soo-min* (KOR) 72-70, KANG Ji-man (KOR) 71-71, KIM Dae-sub (KOR) 69-73, KIM Geon-ha (KOR) 74-68, Michael LONG (NZL) 72-70.
143 - Ryan YIP (CAN) 69-74, Eric MINA (USA) 68-75, CHOI Joon-woo (KOR) 72-71, HAM Jeong-woo* (KOR) 69-74, PARK Jae-kyung (KOR) 71-72.
144 - KIM Seung-hyuk (KOR) 70-74, LEE Chang-woo* (KOR) 73-71, PARK Hyun-bin (KOR) 71-73, PARK Ju-hyuk (KOR) 70-74.
145 - KWON Sung-yeol (KOR) 69-76, Simon YATES (SCO) 70-75, SUK Jong-yul (KOR) 73-72, Richard T LEE (CAN) 71-74, KIM Dae-hyun (KOR) 72-73, PARK Il-hwan (KOR) 77-68, Ryan CARTER (USA) 74-71.
146 - Lucas LEE (BRA) 71-75, JUNG Ji-ho (KOR) 72-74, KIM Woo-hyun (KOR) 77-69, HUR In-hoi (KOR) 71-75, HAN Seong-man (KOR) 70-76.
147 - KIM Wi-joong (KOR) 75-72, LEE Jung-hwan (KOR) 75-72, LEE Ki-sang (KOR) 72-75, PARK Hyo-won (KOR) 74-73, PARK Sang-hyun (KOR) 74-73, MOON Kyong-jun (KOR) 73-74, SONG Jin-oh (KOR) 75-72, LEE Dae-jun (KOR) 75-72, PARK Sang-eon (KOR) 72-75, KIM Woo-chan (KOR) 77-70.
148 - BYUN Jin-jae (KOR) 73-75, Rhein GIBSON (AUS) 75-73, PARK Sung-kug (KOR) 74-74, KIM Seng Yong (KOR) 74-74, HONG Chang-kyu (USA) 72-76, KIM Do-hoon 753 (KOR) 72-76, KANG Kyung-nam (KOR) 73-75, BANG Doo-hwan (KOR) 78-70, SONG Young-han (KOR) 74-74, KIM Bong-sub (KOR) 74-74, SHIN Yong-jin (KOR) 77-71.
149 - YUN Sung-ho* (KOR) 77-72, YOON Se-jun (USA) 75-74, JOO Heung-chol (KOR) 77-72, KIM Jin-kyung (KOR) 73-76, KIM Nam-hun* (KOR) 77-72, KIM Young-kyu (KOR) 76-73, Jason KANG (USA) 76-73.
150 - BAE Sung-chul (KOR) 72-78, LEE In-woo (KOR) 74-76, KIM Meen-whee (KOR) 77-73, LEE Dong-min (KOR) 77-73, Akinori TANI (JPN) 74-76, LEE Jung-oh (KOR) 76-74.
151 - PARK Eun-shin (KOR) 75-76, KIM Tae-hoon (KOR) 73-78, BAEK Joo-yeob (KOR) 76-75, PARK Jun-won (KOR) 74-77, Jamie ARNOLD (AUS) 73-78, Garrett SAPP (USA) 75-76, Michael CHOI (AUS) 76-75, LIM Seung-eun (KOR) 76-75, SHIN Hyuk-chul (KOR) 77-74.
152 - KIM Byung-jun (KOR) 75-77, KANG Wook-soon (KOR) 75-77, LEE Sang-yeop* (KOR) 78-74, LEE Tae-kyu (KOR) 80-72, Glenn JOYNER (AUS) 82-70, KIM Hui-soo (KOR) 78-74.
153 - KIM Jae-ho (KOR) 73-80, PARK Sung-hyuk (KOR) 79-74.
154 - LEE Seong-ho (KOR) 78-76, John Young KIM (USA) 75-79, MUN Do-yeob (KOR) 78-76, Martin KIM (ARG) 77-77, KIM Jun-kyum (KOR) 80-74, KIM Hong-taek (KOR) 77-77.
155 - WON Doo-kyun (KOR) 79-76, KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 80-75, KIM Bi-o (KOR) 80-75.
156 - LEE Dong-ha (KOR) 79-77, Wisut ARTJANAWAT (THA) 78-78, Pravee VISALKIT (THA) 81-75, PARK Jun-sub (KOR) 83-73, KIM Tae-woo* (KOR) 82-74.
157 - IM Jae-woo (KOR) 79-78.
158 - YANG Ji-woong* (KOR) 78-80, BAE Hee-chan (KOR) 84-74.
159 - Somsak KAOPRATUM (THA) 78-81, BAE Yoon-ho (KOR) 87-72.
160 - KIM Gyu-bin* (KOR) 82-78.
161 - LEE Ji-hoon (KOR) 79-82.
173 - HUANG Tao (TPE) 88-85.
Ret/WD CHUNG Joon (KOR) retired, , LIM Hyun-seok,(KOR) - withdrew.