MUNICH ( Associated Press) – Less than a year after retiring from golf, Li Haotong secured the third win of his career and first since 2018 at the BMW International Open on Sunday.
After defeating Thomas Peters with a 40-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Lee fell to the ground with a loud swell of joy and relief. It was a huge change from 2021, when he cut only two European Tour events throughout the year and considered leaving the sport behind.
“Ten months ago… I literally decided to quit golf. Somehow, it’s hard to describe where I am now,” Lee said. “I didn’t know I could win this playoff. Luckily, things happened again for me. ,
Lee had led the tournament since a course record-equalling round of 10-under 62 on the first day. However, his 2-under 70 Sunday was his worst performance of the tournament and Lee looked to have blown his chance when a bogey on day 15 left him in a three-way tie with Peters and Ryan Fox.
The fifth symbol of Lee’s struggle was No. 6, where he bogeyed after the eagle in his last three rounds.
Lee recovered with birdies on 16 and 17 but missed a birdie putt that could have won the tournament on the final hole.
Lee then won the playoff for the first time in his career with a birdie as Peters failed to sink a 10-foot putt.
The tournament took place amid rising tensions over players signing with the Saudi-backed LIV series.
Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour refrained from issuing an indefinite suspension from all its competitions even though players took part in the lucrative inaugural LIV tournament in England this month, but it issued a fine on Friday and suspended them from three tournaments. done. Co-sanctioned with the PGA, including the Scottish Open.
Ten golfers playing the first LIV event were on the field in Munich, Pablo Larazabal at his best, finishing five strokes off the lead, and Louis Osthuizen one stroke further back.
Two-time major winner Martin Kemmer played this week and said warnings of a European tour of future punishment for golfers who continue with the LIV will not deter them from playing the Saudi-run tournament.
“I will play all LIV tournaments until the end of the year and see how the restrictions look again,” Kemmer said in comments reported by Germany’s DPA agency. “You don’t like getting some sort of ban every week because you’ve played a tournament elsewhere.”