China’s Li Haotong produced a brilliant final round to become the second successive home winner of the Volvo China Open.
Li carded a flawless 64 at Topwin Golf and Country Club to finish on 22 under par and become the second Chinese player to win a European Tour event on home soil, following in the footsteps of 2015 champion Wu Ashun.
The 20-year-old began the day two shots off the lead which was held by Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard.
He birdied the third, fifth and seventh holes but Aguilar had taken charge and stretched his advantage by a shot thanks to birdies at the first, third, fifth and seventh as Bjerregaard posted only one birdie at the third to slip off the pace.
However, Li birdied the eighth, 10th and 11th to draw level for the first time and – although Aguilar also birdied the 11th to edge back in front – Li made the most of a stroke of good fortune on the 15th, where his wayward drive bounced out of thick rough and finished on a cart path, entitling him to a free drop.
From there the world No 237 produced a superb pitch to four feet and holed the birdie putt, while in the group behind, Aguilar saw his own birdie putt from similar distance on the same hole catch the edge of the cup and stay out.
The decisive moment came in dramatic fashion on the 16th as Aguilar completely mis-hit his tee shot and found the water 30 yards short of the green, the resulting double bogey dropping him two shots behind.
And moments later Li tapped in from two feet for birdie on the 17th to effectively seal victory, although he only became aware of his three-shot lead when he looked at the leaderboard – at some length and in apparent disbelief – as he assessed his approach to the par-five 18th.
“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!” he said.
The victory was a big relief for Li, who lost out in a play-off at the Shenzhen International last year and missed the cut at Genzon Golf Club last week.
“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.”
Aguilar, who had led since a 65 in the second round on Friday, had to settle for a closing 69 and outright second on 19 under.
England’s Richard Bland (66), Germany’s Marcel Siem (66) and Bjerregaard, whose round never really got going as he signed for a 70, were a shot further back in third.
source : http://www.skysports.com/golf/news/12176/10265520/li-hao-tong-charges-to-china-open-title-as-felipe-aguilar-stumbles