Emotional Haotong Li holes MONSTER play-off putt to win BMW International Open in Munich
Haotong Li holed a memorable 50ft putt in a tense play-off with Thomas Pieters to win the BMW International Open in Munich.
Chinese golf star Li lead the way throughout the four days, but a strong finish from the Belgium Pieters in the final round on Sunday pushed both players into a play-off after finish 22-under par.
Li was left with a mammoth putt which he holed infront of a euphoric crowd putting pressure on Pieters to hole his putt to extend the play-off.
The Belgium golfer missed the opportunity leaving Li emotional, who considered giving up professional golf just 10 months ago, lost for words.
An emotional Li said at the press conference: “I never thought that one day I would have a trophy in my hands again. It’s a dream come true.
“Thomas (Pieters) played great all day. My putter wasn’t as hot as yesterday. Golf, this is golf. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes not. I’m just so happy to finish on 18 like that.
“Somehow I thought that I would make that putt. I don’t know how I made that stroke, how the ball went in the hole, because at the end of the day the greens were very bumpy. You just never know.
“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. I didn’t realise I could be that emotional. Maybe just because I never thought golf could be that tough. Through a lot of tough times, I realised how good that feeling is to play good again.
“I thought I’d make the short putt (in regulation). But I hit it a little bit hard. That was so close, it was a great putt. I hit a lot of great putts today.
“(On 16) it felt great, walking off with a three. You can’t say anything about that. I holed some great putts to keep the momentum.
“I got driver yips. I couldn’t hit driver. As soon as I held the club on the tee box I thought it would go both ways or I would lose a ball. I used to carry six balls, but then I carried a thousand just in case because I lost so many balls. It’s so hard to describe that feeling. I’ve never had that before and I didn’t know how to deal with it. But I managed to get through that.
“I worked with Jamie Mulligan for six months in America before I thought I was going to quit. After that I pretty much felt my swing by myself.
“I felt that before I was f***ing around too much. I didn’t realise how good that position, when I was in the Top 50 for two years every week, I didn’t realise how good that time was. Right now it feels like I deserve this more because I’ve played well again.
“(Zhi) is incredible. I met him at the Tour event at London Golf Club. I shot 80-80 and felt like it was time to do something else. I went back to China, played a national event and shot 17 under and thought I could probably play golf. After that, Dunhill was the first event with him on the bag. I called him two weeks before the event and said let’s try to play some golf and hopefully make the cut. That was the beginning. I throw so much shit on him. He’s the only guy who can take all that kind of stuff and still treat me like family. It’s the best.
“If you told me three years ago I’d be playing The Open I’d think ‘yeah, that’s normal for me’. I’ve been in those events every year. Right now, I’ve earned this spot. How amazing I can play a Major again. Before I never realised that feeling, a guy from Q-School all the way to playing Majors. Right now, I feel this. It’s great to go through these experiences.”