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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Haotong Li's Most Extraordinary Day

Just a week after one of the new rules bit him in the you-know-what, Haotong Li got a measure of revenge. To begin with, it appears that the Arabian Desert is something of a bird sanctuary.

Specifically, for eagles. Four of them. All in the same 18 holes.

Haotong Li

And as historic as that was, only one of them came on a par-5. All of the others were twos made on par-4s. Haotong eagled the par-4 first hole, tenth hole and seventeenth hole, then capped the round off with a "normal" eagle on the par-5 eighteenth.

If that wasn't enough, Li's round included a double-bogey. Add in a couple of birdies and he managed to post an eight-under 62.

But even THAT wasn't enough. For you see, after Haotong Li managed this amazing scoring feat, the PGA Tour decided the new rule that bit Haotong had overstepped its bounds when it did the same to Denny McCarthy on Friday. After contacting the USGA and the R&A, the lawmaking bodies agreed that there was indeed a problem, rescinded McCarthy's penalty and promised to reexamine the rule.

Granted, that doesn't change what it did to Haotong Li. But it does give him a measure of vindication.

By the time most of you read this, the Saudi International will be over and we'll know if Haotong was able to capitalize on a historic performance that sends him into the final round tied with Dustin Johnson. But regardless of how the event turns out, Haotong Li has had a most extraordinary day.

And I couldn't let it pass without giving him a shout-out. Well done, Haotong! I hope you have many more days just as wonderful as this one!

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