After going out in 29 on Saturday in the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open, Haotong Li had to be wondering if it was “his week” as we often like to say when a player appears to be unstoppable. But with the likes of Justin Rose, Alexander Levy and Thorbjorn Olesen right behind him, it was far from a done deal.
Then he arrived at the par-4 10th tee at Regnum Carya, where missed the fairway and faced a flyer lie into a tucked right pin on his approach shot. The shot he pulled off next was so ridiculous you have to see it to believe it:
When shots that have no business going in start to go in, it might just be “his week” after all. And as you heard the commentator say, that was his fourth (!) hole out from off the green this week, and his second eagle, the first coming on the par-5 12th in his opening round.
Li finished with a third-round 63, putting him alone at the top of the board at 17 under 196, three clear of Levy and Rose and four ahead of Olesen. A victory on Sunday in Turkey would be Li’s third on the European Tour, an incredible accomplishment for a guy that just turned 23 this past August. We’ve already ushered in the Cameron Champ era, but let’s not forget about other young studs like Li. The Chinese prodigy finished in solo third less than two years ago at the Open Championship, then was briefly in the mix following a first-round 69 at last year’s Masters, ultimately finishing T-32. Even if he doesn’t win this week, his first 54 holes serve as a reminder that he deserves mention among the top young players in the sport.