DP World Tour
Jun 27th, 2022
Emotional win for Li at BMW International Open
Playoff victory gives man from China first victory in four years
Photography: Getty Images
The 26-year-old held a three-stroke lead over Pieters at the start of the final day at Golfclub München Eichenried and had a putt on the 18th green in regulation to win the title, but lipped out from 11 feet, tapping in for a par and signing for a two-under par 70 and 22 under par total.
In the play-off on the par five 18th hole, Pieters, who carded a five-under-par final round 67, found a green-side bunker with his second shot, while Li's approach went over the green. After Pieters had chipped to ten feet, Li thinned his third shot, leaving the prospect of holing a 40-footer just to stay in the contest.
But Li produced a moment of magic as he holed his putt for birdie, with Pieters pushing his effort past the hole, giving Li his first victory in more than four years as he was overcome with emotion in front of the packed galleries in Munich.
"Hard work does pay off. To be fair, there’s a little story behind today. Ten months ago I met my friend Zhi (Yang), who is my caddie now. That first week I said to him ‘Dude, I don’t want to play golf anymore’ I probably needed to do something else,"said an emotional Li.
"It’s him always outside, always taking care of me. I give so much s*** to him, get so mad at him so often, struggling, he was with me through the dark times, all the time. Just so many guys I need to thank. My parents, my mom, my dad, my sister, family, my sponsors, you guys, the boys. I can’t say enough."
Li also secured a place at The 150th Open at St Andrews next month after moving up to 17th on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, securing one of five spots for those not otherwise exempt inside the top 20 on the season-long standings after the BMW International Open.
Ryan Fox's superb run of form continued as he finished in solo third on 20 under par while Finland's Sami Välimäki finished fourth on 18 under.