‘I just don’t like this course,’ says China number one Li Haotong while declaring he can still win Hong Kong Open
The 22-year-old is three-under after two days and well positioned heading into the weekend despite his frustration
He is right in the mix at the UBS Hong Kong Open after two days, but Li Haotong declared on Friday he’s not enjoying being here and he doesn’t like the Fanling course.
However, after rounds of 68 and 69 saw China’s number one player sitting at three under after two days, he has no doubt he can still win a tournament the majority of players have raved about.
“I just don’t like this course,” said a clearly agitated Li just moments after finishing. “[But I hope to] win the event.”
“Not really” was the 22-year-old’s response when asked if he is enjoying playing in Hong Kong, while it was a simple “Yeah” in response to whether he thinks he can win.
And win he certainly can, with day one leader SSP Chawrasia still within reach despite carding a four-under-par 66 to retain the lead at nine under.
He is six shots in front of Li and there are a host of others in contention, but as Li showed with his final-round 63 when he surged into third place at The Open in July, he’s no stranger to going low.
Overall, Li’s one-under-par 69 on the second day was solid enough, with a near miss for birdie on his final hole the obvious cause for his frustration.
After spearing his approach shot to within six feet on the par-four 10th, Li’s putt lipped out to ensure he finished his round with just two birdies to go with a bogey.
“The whole day I have been putting like that so I’m a little bit disappointed but some days are just like that,” he said.
Li said he feels no pressure playing in Hong Kong as China’s number one player and he is comfortable with where he stands heading into the weekend.
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“I’m very happy,” he said. “I’ve played decent and like I have said before, I just want to make the cut first and see what is going on on the weekend.”
Li has been partnered with superstars Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia on the opening two days, with a flock of adoring fans following their every move on course.
While the galleries have been made up predominantly of Hong Kong and mainland supporters, Li is quick to brush off the suggestion they are here to see him.
“It’s more like support for Sergio and Rosey actually, but I’m enjoying that,” he said.
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Garcia was another player not overly happy with his round, saying he has “played terrible the last two days” after walking off with a round of 71 to leave him on par overall.
Garcia parred every hole but the ninth in a consistent if not brilliant round, while Rose shot a second-round 69 on a roller-coaster ride that included a double bogey, three bogeys and six birdies to leave him three-under overall.