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April 5, 2018

Haotong Li

Augusta, Georgia

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce Haotong Li, at his first Masters, has shot a great 69. He's had a great season so far, winner of the Dubai Desert Classic in January, congratulations. He had a spectacular round. As he said on the way over, he had on the back nine, I think one par, but lots of birdies, and a few bogeys, as well, a very successful nine.
I'd like to open by asking you about your first impression of your first round in competition at Augusta National.
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, my first round was quite solid and made a lot of putts over there. Actually, I thought I'm going to be nervous on the first tee. It was all right. So just quite happy to see have such a great opening round.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. I'm going to open it up for questions.

Q. You seem to have made great progress since last year at the U.S. Open when it didn't go so smoothly for you, so well for you, after making the cut, which was so great. Can you talk about the improvements you've made, the progress you've made?
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, actually, U.S. Open was my first major ever in my whole career. Actually, I got a lot of experience from there. I've improved a lot since last year, since the U.S. Open. Got a lot of confidence from there.
I think I just need keep doing what I'm doing now. I think one day will become a good player (smiles).

Q. Do you know the history of Amen Corner, and can you tell us what you did at 11, 12 and 13 today?
HAOTONG LI: Well, actually after the 10th hole, I made a lovely bogey down there and literally almost say "Amen" down there.
Over the 11th tee, got lucky down the 11th hole. Second shot over the green and use lob‑wedge, putt that. Hit it not too hard but it is really hard. Hit the flag, drop in.
And then 12, just good shot down there.
And 13, missed a tee shot and good lay up. Also got lucky there. Missed the rough by an inch and easy up‑and‑down down there. So quite lucky today.

Q. Good skill, though.

Q. Talent.
HAOTONG LI: Yeah (laughter).

Q. First of all, what club did you hit on 12?
HAOTONG LI: 9. Smash 9.

Q. Smash 9. And secondly, what kind of history do you have watching the Masters on TV? Do you remember when you first started watching it and when you first started thinking, maybe in your lifetime you'd be able to play here, if ever?
HAOTONG LI: I don't really know actually because since‑‑ since very beginning, I will‑‑ I just watch on TV all the time. Never miss once on TV for the Masters.
It's quite unreal for myself, and to be here, play golf here, it's such a big honor.

Q. What time did it come on in Shanghai, the Masters? What time was it on television in Shanghai?
HAOTONG LI: Always midnight.
(Questions and answers in Mandarin.)
Q.(Translated) How do you feel about the greens today? And talk about your putting on 15 and 18.
HAOTONG LI: I'll skip that one. Nothing exciting about that (laughter).

Q. You just had a new sponsor, WeChat. Talk about your relationship with them?
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, it's a big honor to be part of them and get support from them. Just want to say we've been together, getting better and better, and let more people love this game, and just make some good success.

Q. In the last year, you've had two remarkable Sundays. At The Open last year you shot 63 to finish third, and then beating Rory in Dubai. What did those two rounds teach you about yourself, and what confidence did that give you coming in here this week?
HAOTONG LI: Take a lot of confidence from Rory that week. Actually, after that week, I've been struggling a little bit on my putting. I've been working a lot on that, and you can see today I make a lot of par saves, par putts.
So I just have to keep going.

Q. When is the very first time you set foot at Augusta National, and what was the very first thing you wanted to see after watching it on TV all those years?
HAOTONG LI: Actually, first time step in Masters was last week Tuesday. I practiced the whole day.
First‑‑ sorry?

Q. You had watched it on TV all those years, so when you finally got here, what was the first thing you wanted to see in person?
HAOTONG LI: See if same as TV.

Q. Was there something special you wanted to go see?
HAOTONG LI: Not really, actually. Everything's like amazing. It's just like on the TV.

Q. When you won in Dubai, we hold you about the history of the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters. Over the last two years, Danny Willett winning over there and Sergio García. Now you have made a great start. What do you have to say about that?
HAOTONG LI: Well, at least it's a good sign for myself, and hopefully I can join them.

Q. The week before you were in Dubai again. Can you just tell us what you were doing over there?
HAOTONG LI: I've been partying, that's it.
MODERATOR: Thank you, all. We wish you all the best in the round ahead and look forward to seeing another stellar performance tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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