SOUTHPORT, England – Playing in his first Open Championship, China’s Haotong Li scorched the closing nine at Royal Birkdale on Sunday with a 5-under 31 that included four consecutive birdies to finish his round.
Li finished at 6 under par to grab the clubhouse lead with front-runner Jordan Spieth still playing his opening nine.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Li, who posted a day’s best 63.
Li said he planned to watch the remainder of the event on television and said the turnaround occurred at the eighth hole when he started “holing everything.”
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“The birdies on 8 and 9 really freed him up,” said Ernie Els, who played with Li on Sunday. “Then he made an unbelievable save on 10, 11. He didn’t miss a putt. The par on 17, he came out of a fairway bunker. He did everything he could.”
A day earlier, Branden Grace became the first player to shoot 62 in a men’s major. Li’s Sunday 63 was the 32nd time a 63 had been shot in a major championship.
(For a complete breakdown of Li’s statistics all week visit TheOpen.com)