Published: Oct 05, 2011 3:14 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 05, 2011 6:30 AM EDT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy will be aiming to better his third place finish in 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 YE 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.

He said it is a challenging course and he will need to be on top of his game "especially iron play this week considering the tough par threes we will have to play."