China’s rising star Li Haotong will be aiming for a memorable debut at next week’s CIMB Classic as Asia attempts to deliver its first winner in the PGA Tour’s lone tournament in Southeast Asia.
The 22-year-old Li will be amongst a strong line-up of leading golfers from the region, including South Korea’s Si Woo Kim, who won The Players Championship in May, compatriot Whee Kim, Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan, India’s Anirban Lahiri and world No. 3 Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.
The slender Li is expected to challenge two-time defending champion and world No. 4 Justin Thomas at TPC Kuala Lumpur’s West Course. In July, Li made the golfing world sit up and take notice of his prodigious talent when he stormed through the field at the Open with a closing seven-under-par 63 at Royal Birkdale to finish third.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to compete in my first CIMB Classic on the PGA Tour. I’ve heard it is a great tournament and TPC Kuala Lumpur is a wonderful venue with good facilities for the players,” said Li.
As a 19-year-old, Li won three times on the PGA Tour China in 2014 to top the money list. His biggest win to date was achieved at his national Open last year before his Open Championship heroics, which is the best finish to date by a mainland Chinese golfer in Major history.
Currently ranked 64th in the world, Li is now eyeing the opportunity to break into the top-50 and knows the CIMB Classic will offer plenty of points to the elite 78-man field in Malaysia.
“With plenty of FedExCup points and Official World Golf Ranking points at stake, it’ll be important for me to play well to improve my ranking as it is my goal to break into the world’s top-50 by the end of the year. I’ve been quite happy with the way I’ve played all year, most notably with the third-place finish at the British Open which was quite memorable. I certainly hope to end the year strongly,” said Li.
Advance tickets for the CIMB Classic are now on sale on www.ticketpro.com.my, Ticket Pro sales channels and selected MST Golf Stores in the Klang Valley.
The CIMB Classic is also sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). The premier Malaysian tournament is also the first of three PGA Tour events in Asia during the month of October.