Rory McIlroy at Kolon Korea Open 2013: Daily Scores and Leaderboard Analysis
Rory McIlroy returned to golfing action at the Korea Open this week, having been away from competition for the past four weeks.
After an up-and-down weekend, the former No. 1 player in the world thrived on the event's final day to finish tied for second place. Considering he started the fourth round 10 strokes off the lead, this seemed like nothing short of a miracle.
His overall score of three strokes under par put him only one shot behind Kang Sung-hoon for the title.
Each day featured plenty of drama for the two-time major champion, so read along for a full round-by-round breakdown of McIlroy's tournament.
Day 4, -3 (67)
Rory McIlroy had an incredible surge on the final day of the Kolon Korea Open to finish tied for second place, one stroke behind eventual winner Kang Sung-hoon.
This seemed to be a clear example of a player relaxing after seemingly falling out of contention. The superstar fell 10 strokes back after an awful Round 3 when he shot four strokes over par.
However, he turned things around on Sunday with five birdies and only a single bogey to move near the top of the leaderboard and put pressure on the rest of the field.
According to BBC Sport, McIlroy actually expected even more from his performance:
I could have shot anything, absolutely anything.
I only missed two greens and had so many chances, but it was like the story of yesterday - I just didn't hole enough putts. I created so many more chances today that it could have been 61, 62. It just wasn't to be.
While it is hard to blame him for being upset when coming all the way back to second place and losing by one, it would have been much easier without the awful performance on the previous day. Unfortunately, the collapse on the back nine gave him little chance of winning.
This has been a common theme throughout the season, as McIlroy continually would post one bad round in tournaments to destroy his score. He incredibly had eight rounds of 75 or more in 2013.
The good news is that he proved with his final round in Korea that he can turn it around to put himself back in contention. Now all he needs is consistency to get back to winning the way he did in 2012.
Day 3, +1 (75)
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After getting himself back into contention on Day 2, McIlroy dropped right out of proceedings with a third-round 75 to finish the day on one over and falling to 13th on the leaderboard.
Nothing seemed to go right for the former world No.1 as he hit three bogeys and one double on his way round the course.
It started relatively well, with McIlroy one under for the round after five holes, but a double bogey on the 10th then brought about two more bogeys over the next four holes as he battled further derailment towards the end of the day.
Speaking to Sky Sports, McIlroy outlined his disappointment with the way he played:
A frustrating day, because I was in contention after two days and if you shoot a solid score today you're right in there. I've just got to go out there tomorrow and shoot the best score that I can.
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 missed a few short ones for pars in the middle and end of the round. That's really what it was.
The Northern Irishman was understandably the big draw going into the tournament, and his play over the first two days seemed to indicate he would challenge for victory.
Now, however, it seems the final day will be about retaining some pride in his performance.
Day 2, -3 (69)
Rory McIlroy is positioned nicely to launch an assault on the leaders at the Kolon Korea Open, having finished Day 2 on three-under, two strokes off the pace.
McIlroy is tied-fifth with four players ahead of him, led by Hong Soon-sang who holds the outright advantage on five-under.
Not everything was positive for the former world No. 1, who still lacked a degree of control to his game as he mixed seven birdies with five bogeys.
McIlroy wasn't entirely satisfied with his round of 69, as reported by Sky Sports:
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.
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 Northern Irishman actually drove the ball much better than in recent outings, but paid for some inaccurate approach play like his effort at the ninth—his final hole of the day.
Starting at the 10th, McIlroy instantly registered a birdie but then threatened to capitulate as he recorded four bogeys in five holes from the 12th.
He managed to steady the ship at the 18th and then accelerated on the front nine, making four birdies before his disappointing climax.
Nevertheless, sitting two strokes off the leader, he will expect to challenge over the remainder of the tournament.
Day 1, -1 (70)
After a double bogey on the par-three 13th, McIlroy finished with three birdies in five holes to leave himself within three shots of the lead after a one-under par round of 70.
McIlroy's day got off to a poor start with a bogey on the fourth, although he pulled back to level-par two holes later and maintained that score until encountering problems on 13.
The Northern Irishman found water from the tee, dropping two shots for his error. However, his late surge moved him quickly up the leaderboard to finish Day 1 in a tie for 12th place.
Post-round, per Sky Sports, McIlroy told reporters of his troubles on 13:
I just wasn't very comfortable with the tee shot. I took a long time to get settled over it and then just didn't make a very good swing.
It was tough, some of the pin positions out there today were brutal, just cut on slopes and very hard to get close to them and when you did get close to them you left yourself very tricky putts.
I felt I was a little rusty after the four weeks off, but I battled back nicely and to end up under par for the day wasn't too bad.