Sunday, 01 May 2016
Day 4 Highlights - Volvo China Open

Li Haotong delighted the home fans at Topwin Golf and Country Club as he fired a closing bogey-free 64 to become the second consecutive Chinese winner of the Volvo China Open.

The 20 year old began the day two shots behind Felipe Aguilar and Lucas Bjerregaard but with a large home gallery cheering on his every shot, he reeled in the Chilean and held a share of the lead as he stood on the 17th tee.

Li birdied the penultimate hole to get 22 under and when Aguilar - playing in the group behind - put his tee-shot on the 16th into the water, a par up the last was enough to give Li a three-shot victory and a first European Tour title.

The win makes China the first country to have players win the event in successive years after Wu Ashun's triumph last campaign and also gives the world's most populous nation a record fourth victory, one more than Australia and England.

For Li, it is a breakthrough win for a player who lost out in a play-off at the Shenzhen International last year and followed that with a sixth-placed finish in the 2015 edition of this event.

He missed the cut at Genzon Golf Club last week and was delighted to kick-start a season that had so far been disappointing on both sides of the Atlantic.

"The start of this year has given me a lot of hard times," he said. "Even though I worked hard I still played badly, especially last week. I worked hard there and couldn't control my ball.

I just tried to relax myself and I'm really really happy to hold the trophy here - Li Haotong

Li appeared not to realise he had the lead until he was on the 18th fairway and he admitted he was grateful to his caddy for reining in the aggressive approach that had served him so well all week.

"When I had my tee-shot, I walked to my second shot there and I was thinking I need to go hybrid to get to the front edge to give me an easy chip to there but my caddy said, 'Haotong, you're already three shots in the lead, you've just got to lay up and make par to win'. So thanks to him!"

Aguilar held a two-shot lead at the turn with excellent approach play producing birdies on the first, third, fifth and seventh while Li also turned in 32, with big drives making light work of the seventh and eighth and adding to gains on the third and fifth.

The advantage was wiped out as Li holed from the fringe on the tenth and produced a lovely chip on the 11th but Aguilar responded with a nerveless ten-foot putt on the same hole.

Li put his tee-shot on the 15th on the cart path but got close from his free drop to get back into a share and an approach to three feet on the 17th - coupled with Aguilar's double-bogey on the 16th - meant a safe play up the par five last sealed the win.

Aguilar parred the 17th and 18th to sign for a 69 and finish second,  a shot clear of Bjerregaard, Richard Bland and Marcel Siem.

Dane Bjerregaard struggled to find his touch on the greens as he closed with a 70, while England's Bland and German Siem both recorded final rounds of 66.

Peter Hanson, Scott Hend and Richie Ramsay were then at 17 under, a shot clear of David Lipsky, Alex Noren, Borja Virto Astudillo and Fabrizio Zanotti.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LI, HaotongCHN18-22
2AGUILAR, FelipeCHI18-19
T3BLAND, RichardENG18-18
T3SIEM, MarcelGER18-18
T3BJERREGAARD, LucasDEN18-18
T6HEND, ScottAUS18-17

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