Li lets chance at history slip away
Costly triple bogey drops him out of contention
November 02, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Haotong Li's approach yields birdie putt at WGC-HSBC Champions
The spectators were becoming giddy.
Haotong Li had started the third round of the World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions with a serious flourish, and China dared to dream about their first ever WGC win.
Five birdies in his opening six holes on Saturday at Sheshan International Golf Club had Li soaring all the way to the lead at 13 under in his home country, much to the delight of the large galleries.
After opening the tournament with an 8-under 64 to lead the way, Li had stalled on Friday with an even-par 72. But the ground he lost had been reclaimed, and you couldn’t find a bigger smile on the golf course than the one on the two-time European Tour winner's face.
A couple hours later, however, that face was ashen. There would only be one more birdie in his last 12 holes, and with it, five bogeys and a triple bogey. A 74 meant Li would finish at 6 under and is now a distant nine shots off the lead with a round to play.
The killer blow was the triple bogey that came on the par-4 13th. While he had already started his descent with two bogeys prior, it was a huge mistake from a greenside bunker that effectively ended his thoughts of victory.
Facing a relatively innocuous shot from the sand, Li caught all ball and airmailed the green into a penalty area. After a drop and a chip, plus a putt that lipped out, all of his earlier good work had been wiped away.
Haotong Li picked his bunker shot on the 13th hole clean, and his ball found the water.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 2, 2019
Sitting T4 and two shots back at the time, he finished with a triple bogey, which dropped him 5 shots off the lead.
He is currently -8 and T10 at WGC-HSBC Champions. pic.twitter.com/cCIJYIZzDp
Li will look to finish strong on Sunday and continue his decent WGC form of late. He has finished inside the top 20 of the last four WGCs.
After wrapping up his European Tour season with three more events, the 25-year-old will be part of the International Team at the Presidents Cup Dec 12-15 at Royal Melbourne, becoming the first player to represent mainland China in the event's history.