Li: Chinese players closing gap to elite

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, October 31, 2019
Adjust font size:
Team Asia's Li Haotong (L) reacts during the EurAsia Cup 2018 at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Jan. 14, 2018. Team Europe won 14-10. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)

While Li Haotong reckons Chinese golfers are gaining ground on the world's elite, he believes they could accelerate the process by testing themselves on a wider variety of global courses.

World No 54 Li has led China's charge on the world stage ever since his breakthrough third-place finish at the 2017 British Open.

The 24-year-old is among seven Chinese players hoping to upstage the likes of top-10 superstars Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele at this week's WGC HSBC Champions tournament at Sheshan International in Shanghai.

Li believes he and his compatriots could soon find themselves among the main attractions at the major tournaments.

"I think the locals have played very well in recent years and the gap has been narrowed between them and the best players in the world," said Li.

"The skills levels are mostly the same, but I think they have got to get some more experience playing different types of courses around the world.

"It is true that the Chinese players have been playing well recently, so I think if they continue to play this way they can break through. As for myself, there's loads of world ranking points on offer this week so a good finish is really important."

Li was looking forward to entertaining the galleries at Sheshan, but has braced himself for a tougher test than previous years.

"It is definitely a very good feeling playing in front of the home crowd and fans. It is a privilege for me as a Chinese player to be playing at home," he said.

"The course is definitely more challenging this year. The rough is thicker and the greens are faster."

Li will make history in December when he becomes the first Chinese to play in the President's Cup-for Ernie Els' International Team against Tiger Woods' United States squad at Royal Melbourne in Australia.

And the native of Hunan province, who is 23rd on the European Tour's money list, is excited at the prospect of teeing up in the prestigious event.

"The President's Cup is obviously a big event and I am looking forward to playing well there," he said.

"The strength of the International Team is really good and Royal Melbourne is one of the best and most difficult golf courses in the world, with a lot of unpredictability. But I am sure the International Team can capitalize on that."

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from