Li Haotong got his week off to a winning start with a dramatic victory in the Hero Challenge in Dubai.
The third and final Hero Challenge of the European Tour’s 2017 season, streamed exclusively live on Twitter and broadcast on Sky Sports, introduced another exciting new concept, with players competing in a target competition to a floating green off the Nasimi Beach in the iconic Atlantis, The Palm Resort.
Eight European Tour stars – current Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood and World Number Five Jon Rahm, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Li Haotong, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter - took on the head-to-head challenge.
Faced with a specially-created platform tee and a floating target in the Arabian Gulf, the players peppered the pin as atmospheric pyrotechnics and smoke added to the entertainment, with their target illuminated by a spectacular runway of lights in the water.
Ian Poulter beat Fleetwood with the last of his ten shots, Alex Noren hit an impressive 105 points in dispatching Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters got the better of Rafa Cabrera Bello in a play-off, and Li Haotong defeated Jon Rahm.
In the semi finals Noren again scored high to beat the flip-flopped Ian Poulter and Li Haotong beat Thomas Pieters to progress through before Li overcame Noren in a sensational final shootout.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Li. “Really enjoyed that playing against such great players. It was great fun.”
The event kicked off the DP World Tour Championship Beach Party, the annual curtain raiser to the season finale.