SEOUL, South Korea – U.S. Open champion Rory Mcilroy will be aiming to better his third place of 2009 when he tees off in the Korea Kolon Open at Woo Jeong Country Hills Club in Cheonan on Thursday.
To take the trophy, the Northern Irish star will not only have to defeat defending champion and local hero Y.E. Yang in his own backyard, he will have to fend off a strong challenge from other Korean, Australian and Chinese rivals at the OneAsia event.
McIlroy arrived in Korea after finishing second in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Sunday.
“I am excited to be back for the first time since 2009. I went close last time and finished third, so it would be nice to come back and do better,” McIlroy said.
“I remember the course, but the thing I remember most is that the par 3s are tough, especially on the back nine. All aspects of your game have to be in shape every week, but especially iron play this week considering the tough par 3s we will have to play.”
Yang, the only Asian player to win a major after defeating Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship in 2009, is always well-supported in his homeland and thrilled fans by taking the 2010 title.
“I have good memories of the course from last year. I enjoy this tournament and I know that Korean fans look forward to this week,” said Yang.
“Rory is a good player and I am looking forward to playing against him this week. I lost to him at the U.S. Open so I would like to beat him, but he is the highest ranked player in the field this week.”
American Rickie Fowler is another of the high-profile contenders.