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  • Li Haotong Fires Opening To Thrill Home Crowd At Volvo China Open

Li Haotong fires opening 64 to thrill home crowd at Volvo China Open

Li Haotong delighted the home crowd with an opening 64 as he bids to win a second Volvo China Open title in Shenzhen.

Li, who lifted the trophy in 2016, carded eight birdies at Hidden Grace Golf Club to end the day a shot behind France's Romain Langasque and in-form Swede Sebastian Soderberg.

Langasque had started from the 10th and set the early clubhouse target with a flawless 63, which included seven birdies in a row from the 16th.

Playing in the group behind, Li birdied his last three holes to complete his error-free 64 before Soderberg rounded off a day of low scoring – 49 players broke 70 and 92 finished under par – by joining Langasque at the top of the leaderboard.

"I've been playing really solid over the last few weeks," Li said. "My putting has been very good and hopefully I can continue this momentum for the rest of the week.

"I was expecting a lot of attention and media requests this week and having played this event in the past, I am used to it.

"I am really enjoying the experience of playing in front of home crowds. The atmosphere is amazing and I have a lot of people following me around this course."

Soderberg has finished second in his last two events to occupy top spot in the DP World Tour's Asian Swing, with the top three after this week's event securing a place in the US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

"It would be really nice to come out on top and win the Asian Swing," Soderberg, who has risen to a career-high 98th in the world rankings, said.

"There is a spot in a major up for grabs this month so naturally you will always pay a little extra attention to that. I need to take each shot at a time and not get ahead of myself.

"My schedule is looking pretty good right now in terms of the tournaments coming up but I'm trying not to think about that."

France's Alexander Levy, who is bidding to win the tournament for the third time, is eight shots off the pace following an opening 71.

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