(CNN) -- It's not the biggest tournament in the world but Rory McIlroy will take a win anywhere he can get it and the former No. 1 is in contention through two rounds at the Korea Open.
The Northern Irishman carded a two-under-par 69 at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Cheonan near Seoul to leave him tied for fifth and two shots behind Hong Soon-sang entering the weekend.
In a field dominated by South Korean players, McIlroy is the lone player from outside the Asian country in the top 12.
His round was far from straightforward, however.
Starting on the 10th hole, McIlroy bogeyed the 14th, 15th and 16th before hitting five birdies in his next 10 holes, according to the OneAsia Tour's website. He concluded with a bogey on the ninth.
"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," McIlroy was quoted as saying by the website. "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."
McIlroy is seeking his first win this year after changing his golf clubs and cutting ties with his management company.
Recent reports also suggested he split with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, although the former tennis No. 1 said this week the two are still together.
McIlroy's strategy for Saturday?
"Just to keep playing the way I am, stay patient," he said. "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."
Hong, outside the top 500 in the world rankings, didn't drop a shot en route to his 68 and leads three of his countrymen by a shot.