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Hard work paying off for Li Haotong as he seeks to continue revival

Hard work paying off for Li Haotong as he seeks to continue revival

Li Haotong admits he contemplated the prospect of walking away from golf but his performances so far this year have proven to him he is good enough to still compete with the best on the DP World Tour.

The Chinese, a three-time winner on the DP World Tour, finished 238th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex last season as he made the cut in just two of his 20 starts.

Having begun the year outside the top 500 on the Official World Golf Ranking, the 28-year-old has quickly climbed to 355 with back-to-back top 20s in Dubai as he reaps the benefit of working on his game over recent weeks.

“I was trying super hard, I played every single day during the winter time,” he said. “So many people behind me, parents, friends, telling me how good I am, reminding me I can do this.

“I’ve been thinking that if I had worked this hard and still couldn’t make anything I would find something else to do.

“But the results tell me I can keep going. It’s good to be here and playing golf, it’s such a nice thing to do.”

Li has struggled with his form in the past during his career, revealing he came close to quitting the game towards the end of 2021 before enjoying a successful campaign in 2022 that saw him end a four-year wait for his third DP World Tour title at the BMW International Open.

Buoyed by his showing so far in the United Arab Emirates, Li is hopeful he can maintain that optimism into this week’s Ras Al Khaimah Championship.

He finished in a tie for third at this event in 2022 and is excited to once again be teeing it up at Al Hamra Golf Club after missing last year’s edition.

“Definitely from those two weeks (in Dubai) I gained a lot of confidence," he added. "And now I’m just making myself more and more comfortable.

“I’m looking forward to playing this week, I have great memories from two years ago, I finished third here. It’s going to be good.”

As part of the work Li put into rediscovering his form, he has made a swing change and changed equipment with the support of leading South African coach Jamie Gough, a key figure in the careers of Ryan Fox, Ewen Ferguson and Matthieu Pavon among others.

“I thought about my swing, with my driver especially, usually I put my hands forward and to the left, but now they are more in the middle, which is more playable," he reflected.

“I’ve been working with my coach Jamie and my mental coach, Andy. He’s helped me through a lot of things, taking the pressure off.

“Overall, just trying to make me comfortable and happy as a human being.

“The new clubs suit my eye, I actually didn’t change much. I just worked a lot with them in the winter. They are new, but it’s new stuff for me.”

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