Rory McIlroy had a bad day on the greens as he made just one birdie in a third round 75 and trails Korea’s Kim Hyung-tae by 10 shots heading into the final round of the OneAsia Tour’s Kolon Korea Open.
Just two shots off the pace at halfway, the world No 6’s four over par effort left him tied for 13th on one over par. Scoreboard
Kim Hyung-tae carded an immaculate, five under par 66 to take a commanding four stroke lead over second round leader Hong Soon-sang (71) on nine under par.
But it was anything but immaculate for McIlroy, who made just one birdie in his round at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club near Seoul.
That came at the par-five fourth but he immediately bogeyed the fifth and missed several birdie chances to turn in level par 36.
On the back nine it was an even bigger struggle and after a double bogey six at the 10th - he was in the trees right, chipped out left handed and then missed a three footer - he dropped further shots at the 11th (water with his approach) and 14th in a homeward nine of 39.
“It was weird,” McIlroy said. “I actually started the round really well — I gave myself birdie chances on the first five holes, but missed a few of those.
“I picked one up at five, but gave it straight back with a three putt, and from there it was a bit of a struggle really. I didn’t birdie the par-five eighth so turned at even — which wasn’t so bad — but then got on a bad little run on the back nine.
“I double-bogeyed 10, bogey 11, bogey 13 and couldn’t really get it back after that. I just think the story of the day is that I missed a lot of putts, missed a lot of chances for birdies at the start of the round and then mixed a few short ones for pars in the middle and end of the round. That’s really what it was.
“So yeah, a frustrating day because I was in contention after two days and if you shoot a solid score today you’re right in there tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there tomorrow and shoot the best score that I can.”
Asked if his chance of victory had gone, McIlroy replied: “It depends. Last time here I shot 64 last round so it would need something probably similar or a little better to have a chance so that’s what I’ll try and do tomorrow.”
On his putting, he added: “It’s a struggle, especially where they’ve put some of the pin positions. It’s tough to get yourself to commit to a certain line because you’ll hit a few and they’ll go through the break, and some turn more than others. It’s just tough to commit to the line you choose.”
The Korea event is the first of five season-ending tournaments for McIlroy, who has yet to win this year and struggled to find any consistency.
“I wanted to come here and play, it’s nothing about trying to build confidence or anything like that. I just wanted to come and play and it’s a nice little run that I’m on — a few weeks in Asia — and it’s nice to start here.
“I guess more than anything else I wanted to shake the rust off this week and try and get into contention — and obviously try to win. It would be nice to shoot a good one tomorrow and get a bit of confidence from that going into the next couple of weeks in China.”