China’s Li Hao-tong is seeking a repeat of another home victory when the WGC-HSBC Champions starts at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Thursday.
In line with the superhero theme for the US$9.5 million Chinese showpiece this year, Li, who won his National Open in May, is hoping his alter ego, ‘The Force’ can produce another grandstand finish in front of his home fans again.
“I feel very good about coming back to compete at the WGC-HSBC Champions again. I’ve been playing very well this year and I’m hoping to carry that form over to this week’s event.
“The field’s a really strong one and it’ll be challenging. But I’m looking forward to it,” said the 21-year-old.
Reigning champion, Scotland’s Russell Knox, will defend his title against an all-star cast, including world number two and 2016 US Open Champion Dustin Johnson, world number three and four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, two-time US Masters Champion and winner of the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions Bubba Watson, as well as Open Champion and Olympic Silver medallist Henrik Stenson.
Li finished tied for seventh at the WGC-HSBC Champions last year, emerging as the highest placed player from Asia.
While he admits he may not be in the same league as the rest of the other superheroes, Li, who had the distinction of being the first Chinese to be involved in the opening ceremony, knows it will be a matter of time before he joins the exclusive club.
“I think I still have a long way to go in terms of catching up with these top players. But I also know that if I keep working hard, I’ll belong in this elite company one day.
“It was a huge honour to be the first Chinese player to feature in the opening ceremony. It is a great motivation and will inspire me to do better and raise the profile of Chinese golfers not only in China, but all around the world,” said Li.
Li is among the six Chinese players hoping to become the first Chinese to win a World Golf Championship title on home soil this week.
For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, please visit www.HSBCgolf.com/mens or follow official WeChat account: HSBCChampions