Golf

Li Haotong ready for glory after beating Rory

Chinese youngster Li Haotong is braced for a "big" reaction from his fans back home, after stunning Rory McIlroy to win the Dubai Desert Classic yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 22-year-old trailed four-time Major winner McIlroy by two shots with eight holes left, but displayed nerves of steel to overhaul his playing partner and ensure that he will become China's first top-50 player in history.

When asked what the reaction would be like in China, Li, who led by one shot overnight, said: "It's going to be big. Last night, my phone was exploding, seriously, (there were) so many messages, saying 'oh, Haotong', on the website or whatever."

Li, who has set his sights on April's US Masters after qualifying with an impressive third-placed finish at last year's British Open, played the final six holes in four-under par.

He may have fate on his side - the last two winners of the Dubai Desert Classic (Danny Willett and Sergio Garcia) have gone on to claim the green jacket. - AFP

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