McIlroy in hunt despite making big splash twice

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The Independent Online

Rickie Fowler and YE Yang claimed a share of the first-round lead on four under par at the Korea Open yesterday after the pair posted opening 67s, but Rory McIlroy lies just one shot off the pace.

McIlroy, the US Open Champion , posted seven birdies in his round of 68 at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club but also found the water twice. "I felt like I played well," he said. "I started nicely and I was three-under through nine holes, but I had a bad couple of holes on the back nine at 10 and 11 with a bogey and a double bogey.

"I did well from there to birdie four of the next six holes to get back to four-under, but then I was disappointed to bogey the last. The shot on 11 was just a bad shot, while on 18 the wind grabbed it. I was aggressive, but I want to play aggressively."

The world No 1, Luke Donald, began the defence of his Madrid Masters title with a four-under 68 but was the highest scorer in his threeball yesterday.

Two uncharacteristic blemishes cost Donald a share of the early lead as he finished two strokes behind playing partner Edoardo Molinari and a shot adrift of the other man in the group, big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros. An error of judgement caused Donald to bogey his ninth hole, the 18th, when his three-iron approach fell short and his ball finished in the lake and he missed a three-foot birdie attempt on his penultimate hole.

"The 18th played a little longer in than I thought and my three-iron didn't quite get there," Donald said. "And the greens, which are very undulating, can be very difficult if you don't hit them in the right spots."

European money-list leader Donald is looking to mop up a £144,000 first prize to accelerate away from his rivals.