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.”
“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)