News & Opinion

2020 PGA: China’s Haotong Li grabs 2nd-round lead

Haotong Li graphic 2020 PGA Championship 2nd round

Li shoots bogey-free 5-under 65 to move to 8-under 132 and lead by 2 strokes at TPC Harding Park

China’s Haotong Li shot a bogey-free 5-under 65 on Friday at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco to surge to the top of the leaderboard at the PGA Championship.

Li birdied his first two holes and got it to 5 under through 10 before he parred home. He stands at 8-under 132 through 36 holes. England's Tommy Fleetwood shot 64 and shared second place with countryman Justin Rose, American Brooks Koepka, the two-time defending champion, former PGA winner Jason Day, American Daniel Berger and France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera (scores).

Li, who turned 25 on Monday, has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but he has won twice on the European Tour and added another victory on the Asian Tour. He also won three times on the PGA Tour’s China Series in 2014 as a 19-year-old. Worldwide golf fans might remember Li for his third-place finish in the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale, six strokes behind winner Jordan Spieth.

Li has struggled in his two U.S. appearances since the PGA Tour resumed play in early June. He missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament and tied for 75th at last week’s WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

“I didn’t even think I could play like this this week,” Li said.

If Li were to win this week, he would be China’s first male major champion.

After his round Friday, Li reportedly left the course for a quick nap and then returned to Harding Park's practice area. ESPN frequently captured him working through his bag on the tee and around the green, hours after his round, as the sun was beginning to set.

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