Rory McIlroy summed up his comeback performance as “pretty good so far” after the second round of the Kolon Korea Open finished with the Northern Irishman two shots off the lead.
The world No 6, who is playing his first tournament after a month-long break, is in a tie for fifth on three under par having shot a two-under 69 on day two at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club course near Cheonan that could have been even better had he not bogeyed on the ninth, his last. McIlroy had a topsy-turvy opening nine, with two birdies and a bogey coming in his first four holes before dropping a shot on three holes in a row from 14 to 16. However, the former world No 1 bounced back to score five birdies in the next 10 holes.
“[It’s going] pretty good so far,” McIlroy said afterwards. “There was a few sloppy shots, or sloppily played holes. I made the bogeys on the back nine [his first 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.
“After that stretch [of bogeys] 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.”
Asked about his strategy for day three, the 24-year-old added: “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.”
The four players ahead of McIlroy are all South Korean, with Hong Soon-Sang carding a bogey-free three-under-par 68 to top the leaderboard. He is on five under overall, one stroke ahead of compatriots Kang Sung-hoon, Kim Hyung-tae and Hwang In-choon, while tied fifth with McIlroy are two more home favourites – Yu Gyoung-yoon and first-round leader Jang Ik-jae.