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January 28, 2018

Haotong Li

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

CLARE BODEL: Haotong, an incredible win. You must love performing under pressure because you seem to do it so well.

HAOTONG LI: Yeah, I think today handled and especially the last four holes, become a win here, quite happy.

CLARE BODEL: And you've lifted that giant trophy there, your second European Tour title, and you've broken into the Top-50 in the world. Things are going pretty well for you.

HAOTONG LI: Yeah, my parents and coach always told me, just keep doing what you're doing and good things will come. So like you said, like you said.

CLARE BODEL: It's all working out nicely.

HAOTONG LI: Yeah, lucky.

Q. Congratulations. It's you're also the first Chinese player to break into the Top-50 of the World Ranking and it looks like you are going to the Masters?
HAOTONG LI: Actually I already have Masters.

Q. You already got an invite into the Masters?

Q. So how are you looking forward to the rest of the year, and does this win change your goals for the year?
HAOTONG LI: For sure, definitely, because last year I've been playing very decent, very solid. I had probably a few times a few chance to catch a trophy but unfortunately not. Especially last week, missed the cut, and was a little bit hard time for me since last week, and just so fresh and just get me in very good position.

It's definitely going to give me a lot of confidence for next few events, rest of the year. Especially for Masters. Never been there before. Looking forward to those big events.

Q. You played so well at the EurAsia Cup, and Arjun said that you have balls of steel.
HAOTONG LI: Well, everyone has a couple balls (laughter). You can't complain about that.

Q. You played so well over there, and has it been building up the form, or you know, that week, where you beat some of the best European Tour players, that gave you a lot of confidence, as well?
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, actually that win helped me a lot, especially holed a couple of really important ones, long putts out there. And especially this week, every time when I had an important putt, just kind of remind me of Malaysia. So I think very helpful.

Q. When you stood on the first tee today with Rory behind you, how intimidating was that for you, knowing, though, that you had a one-shot lead standing there?
HAOTONG LI: Well, one-shot lead is nothing actually. So many --

Q. You won by one shot.
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, but especially start final round, so many good players out there behind me, and I know if you don't play great, you can't win, no chance. So I just go out there and play my best, like you said.

Q. Did you have a number in your head?
HAOTONG LI: No. Especially today I it was a little bit tough conditions compared to the last three days, and just really played solid. A little bit disappointed on hole No. 10, waste a couple shots there. But good recovery on the last couple holes.

Q. When Rory teed off at 16, he hit it way right and then way left, did you begin to think then, maybe this is my day?
HAOTONG LI: Well, I didn't realise his second shot would hit to left side like tough lie or something. I just want to focus on my game and made a great 2-putt. Actually a little bit scared on that putt, was quite quick.

Q. You putted so well this week. Was that the main strengths of your game this week, would you say that that was the main reason?
HAOTONG LI: Well, I think because I just signed with my new sponsor, Bettinardi, that helped me a lot (laughter).

Q. On the 15th, the putt that you made for birdie, would you say that was a critical moment? Which was the most crucial moment of today?
HAOTONG LI: Well, for some reason, since Rory make that bogey after, I've just been so relaxed, just want to have fun because already two shots back behind. But I know still in that position. And lucky, I make birdie on 13, and he make par.

And next hole was a pretty bad lie, saved par there. And was into 15th green, for some reason, I just think it felt so good down there. Felt so comfortable. And also got lucky, make that putt. I think it's mostly important put out there.

Q. Did anyone else hear about the reaction in China? What will the reaction be like in China to your win?
HAOTONG LI: It's going to be big. (Laughter).

Q. How big?
HAOTONG LI: You know, what because yesterday, last night, my phone is like, how to say, like boom, explode, seriously, so many message, "Oh, Haotong!!" Like on the Web site, whatever.

CLARE BODEL: Have you checked your phone yet today.

HAOTONG LI: I haven't got my own. I asked so many times, I don't know where it is or whatever (laughter) and then they said, if you win this week, you're going to break a lot of new records or something. Well, so lucky I did.

Q. You like to joke a lot on the golf course. Did you even try to joke something with Rory today before at the start of the round?
HAOTONG LI: Well, I think when you are into back nine like Sunday back nine, when Rory just one-shot lead, he won't joke with you (laughter).

Q. Did you joke with him on the front nine?
HAOTONG LI: Well, I haven't tried. Maybe try next time.

Q. What did he tell you after the win?
HAOTONG LI: Just said congratulations. Maybe just different level from top, congratulations to me.

CLARE BODEL: Thanks, everyone.

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