Li Haotong Eyes Dubai Return after Emotional DP World Tour Rankings Rise

Published June 28th, 2022 - 11:10 GMT
Li Haotong (Photo: supplied)
Li Haotong (Photo: supplied)

Former Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic champion Li Haotong considered quitting golf ten months ago but looks set for a triumphant return to the Emirate instead after soaring up the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, following his dramatic BMW International Open victory.

The 26-year-old Chinese star crumbled onto his haunches in emotional disbelief on Golfclub München Eichenried’s 18th green after sealing his third DP World Tour title wire-to-wire.

Li secured victory by holing an improbable 40-plus footer for birdie to pip Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship titleholder Thomas Pieters on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off in Germany.

The €340,000 payday and 460 ranking points haul saw Li climb 38 places to 17th in the DP World Tour Rankings, comfortably inside the top 50 cut off for the Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 17-20.

It ended a title drought dating back to Li’s epic 2018 Dubai Desert Classic win, by a stroke, over Rory McIlroy at Emirates Golf Club. But Sunday was even more emotional for the man from Hunan who first sprung to prominence with his victory at the DP World Tour’s 2016 Volvo China Open.

“No one knows how much I have gone through over the last couple of years. Ten months ago I nearly decided to not play golf. I thought I couldn’t play golf again.

“Ten months later, right now, holding a trophy. If someone told me ten months ago I would win again, I wouldn’t believe that.”

Pieters birdied the final hole to sign for a closing 67 and finish tied with Li (70) on 22-under-par. The Belgian had a chance to extend the play-off but his tricky ten foot putt for birdie slid by. The Abu Dhabi champion’s consolation was a two place jump in the Rankings, up to fourth.

Kiwi Ryan Fox, who battled illness over the closing 36 holes in Munich for scores of 71-67, claimed solo third on 20-under-par. The reigning Ras Al Khaimah Classic champion holds steady in seventh place in the DP World Tour Rankings following his sixth DP World Tour top-10 this season.

 

The DP World Tour rolls on to Mount Juliet Estate for the $6 million Horizon Irish Open this week where Aussie Lucas Herbert, a former winner of the Dubai Desert Classic himself, is the defending champion. Herbert will no doubt have a longer-term eye on getting in to the field for November’s DP World Tour Championship. The 26-year-old Victorian, who claimed the 2020 Dubai Desert Classic in a playoff, is currently 67th in the DP World Tour Rankings.

The June 30-July 3 Horizon Irish Open ignites an exciting three-week UK swing leading into the 150th Open Championship on the famous Old Course at St. Andrews (July 14-17). Following the Irish Open, a stellar list of the world’s best players head to Renaissance Club for the Genesis Scottish Open from July 7-10 – the first ever co-sanctioned event with the PGA TOUR.


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