Defending champion Y.E. Yang shot a four-under 67 Thursday to claim a share of the lead with Rickie Fowler after the first round of the Kolon Korea Open on the OneAsia Tour.
In front of his local fans, Yang sank a birdie putt on the final hole at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club. Fowler bogeyed the same hole.
KOLON KOREA OPEN
2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang won the 2010 Korea Open by overcoming a 10-shot deficit in the final round.
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy was a stroke behind in a three-way tie for third with Hong Soon-sang and Lee Soo-min.
McIlroy, who finished third at the 2009 tournament, birdied the opening hole and missed a chance to take a share of the lead with a bogey on No. 18.
U.S. Open Champion McIlroy carded seven birdies in his round of 68, but also found the water twice in an eventful first 18 holes as the Northern Irishman finished in a tie for third.
"I felt like I played well. I started nicely and I was 3 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," he said. "I did well from there to birdie four of the next six holes to get back to 4 under, but then I was disappointed to bogey the last.
"But overall, it is a good start and something to build on," he added. "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."
Fowler, meanwhile, carded six birdies and two bogeys to set the early pace before he was matched by defending champion Yang.
"I played well and drove the ball well which is important," said Fowler. "I made a few birdies, but unfortunately I didn't play the par fives as well as I had hoped and played them two over, so that is something to obviously look to improve.
"I hit poor drives on those holes and on this course you have to drive the ball well to score," he added. "The score would have been really low if I had played them better, but it is something to improve on."