Rory McIlroy lies three behind leader at Korea Open

Rory McIlroy lies three shots off the lead after posting a one-under-par first round of 70 at the Korea Open.

Northern Ireland's world number six carded four birdies, a bogey and a double bogey and is tied for 12th spot.

McIlroy, 24, is taking part in his first event since failing to qualify for last month's PGA Tour Championship.

Korean Jang Ik-jae leads the field on four under, with Kang Sung-hoon, Yoon Jung-ho, Han Min-kyu and American Eric Mina tied for second on three under.

McIlroy in 2013

  • In January the then-world number one announces multi-million pound deal to switch clubs manufacturer to Nike
  • Misses cut in first event of year in Abu Dhabi
  • Walks off course during a dismal second round at the Honda Classic in Florida in March
  • Best finish of the season, taking the runner-up spot at Texas Open in early April
  • Does not contend at Masters or US Open before missing cut at the Open Championship
  • Shares eighth place at US PGA Championship in August
  • Fails to qualify for the 30-man field in the PGA Tour's final play-off event in September

Former world number one McIlroy tied for third at the Korea Open in 2009 and was the runner-up in 2011 behind American Rickie Fowler.

With no opponents of Fowler's calibre this week, McIlroy is by far the highest-ranked player in the field at the £625,000 event.

McIlroy recently confirmed that he is setting up his own management company after splitting with Horizon Sports.

He will hope to gain some confidence ahead of the upcoming series of lucrative events, which start with next week's £4.35m BMW Masters in Shanghai.

His hectic schedule will squeeze in another million-dollar payday in an exhibition match against Tiger Woods at Mission Hills on the southern island of Hainan, before he flies the 1,100 miles back to Shanghai for the WGC-HSBC Champions event.

After a stunning 2012 season which included his second major victory - the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island - McIlroy has failed to register a win in 2013.