Salem Radio Network News Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sports

Li last at U.S. Open, but values the experience

By Larry Fine

ERIN, Wisconsin (Reuters) – Young Chinese Li Haotong wrapped up his first taste of major championship golf with a 12-over-par 84 to stand last early in Sunday’s U.S. Open final round, but said he valued the experience.

The 21-year-old Li had closed strongly in the second round to post a two-under 70 at Erin Hills and become China’s first player to make the cut at a U.S. Open. But he struggled in the final two rounds.

“It means a lot, first time play in a major and make the cut,” Li told Reuters after signing his final-round scorecard. “I think that’s good enough for my career as the first time.

“I have a lot of hard times in a major. I get a lot of experience in the last couple of days,” Li added.

Li said he enjoyed the experience despite struggling in the final two rounds and reckoned it would help his confidence in the long run.

“I think I’ll be more comfortable playing in the big events, and help me play better the next time,” he said.

Li, who turned professional at age 16 and won the Volvo China Open last year on the European Tour, said he started pressing in the third round.

“I think I was just more aggressive than in the second round,” he said about his third-round 82. “You need to play smart. You need to play safe sometimes.

“Third round I was just a little frustrated, especially after I started. The first couple of holes made a couple of bogeys and felt I rushed.

“Next time I’ll probably stay patient and think I will be better.”

Li is among the Chinese golfers following in the footsteps of Liang Wen-chong, who finished eighth at the 2010 PGA Championship.

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by ……)

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