Li Haotong pipped Rory McIlroy to the Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club by a single shot – and the stats show there is one part of his game that ultimately clinched the title.
Li was ranked nowhere when it came to length off the tee and greens in regulation – but when it came to putting, there was nobody better.
Over the course of 72 holes, Li ranked 13th in distance of the tee at an average of 303.9 yards, and an astonishing 47th when it came to greens in regulation, with just 65%.
Compare this to McIlroy, whose impressive long game saw him ranked first off the tee with an average of more than 321 yards. This was followed up with a not-so-impressive 27th for greens in regulation (70.8%), but the advantage certainly lay with the Northern Irishman.
But it was on the short grass that Li took over taking an average of just 1.49 putts per green, and needing just 23.8 putts per round over the four day – both figures ranking him first in the field.
McIlroy on the other hand, required 1.7 putts per hole (rank 40), and 27 putt per round (rank 27)
Driving for show, putting for dough indeed.
Add to this the fact Li never once dropped a shot when he found the sand, a 100 per cent save-rate, compared to 60 per cent from McIlroy and we can see that it was the Chinese star’s short game that took him to the title in Dubai.
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