Wins when players lead from Thursday to Sunday are rare. When they happen, they are memorable – for the player who achieved this feat, and for the spectators who had the privilege of witnessing such an extraordinary tournament week. This is especially true of the BMW International Open 2022, with excitement being dialled up a notch at the end of four fantastic tournament days at Golfclub München Eichenried – and the tournament win going to Haotong Li only at the first play-off hole. The Chinese golfer, who headed to the clubhouse with an overall score of 22 under par after 72 holes, took on Belgium’s Thomas Pieters in the play-off; he closed the gap of three shots separating him and Li on Sunday. The first play-off hole was decided by a 12-metre birdie putt from Li, which brought him to his knees, overwhelmed by his emotions.
“It’s incredible. There are no words to describe this feeling,” said Li. “Ten months ago I wanted to stop playing golf. I told my friend and now caddy Zhi Yang. He has always been with me through the dark times. I cannot thank him enough. I hardly slept last night, but I dreamed of lifting this trophy – and now that dream has come true. It is unbelievable.
Li made history in 2018 when he kept Rory McIlroy at bay with his victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and went on to become the first Chinese pro golfer to make it into the top 50 of the world rankings. After another strong year in 2019, recent times have been quieter for the man from China – until he putted his way to victory at München Eichenried.
Back in Action.
AS SUSTAINABLE AS POSSIBLE.
BMW International Open attendees discovered more than just a new colour scheme; there was also a Tournament Village with a new look and a large number of BMW i vehicles. These were the most obvious measures implemented by tournament organiser BMW in an attempt to make the BMW International Open as sustainable as possible.
“The most sustainable event is obviously the one that does not take place at all. However, this does not mean that you cannot make a host of adjustments to keep the environmental footprint as small as possible,” says Jörn Plinke, Head of BMW Golfsport Marketing. “That is precisely what we have done with the BMW International Open. The fully-electrified BMW shuttle fleet, which is charged with 100 percent green electricity, is the most obvious contribution to sustainability for us as an automobile manufacturer, but by no means the only one.”
To avoid plastic waste, fresh water stations were also installed all over the golf course and players were given refillable water bottles. Water dispensers were also installed in the organisational offices and working areas. As far as was possible, there was also a PET-free water supply at the tournament. Where it was not possible to avoid plastic bottles, for spectators for example, there was a seamless deposit system in place.
After Sieger Haotong Li (CHN) and the unfortunate play-off loser, Thomas Pieters (BEL), followed Ryan Fox of New Zealand (-20) in third place by himself, ahead of Finland’s Sami Välimäki (-18). Fifth place was shared by two-time tournament winner Pablo Larrazábal (ESP), Romain Langasque (FRA) and Nicolai von Dellingshausen (GER, all -17), which made him the best of the 17 German players who started the tournament. Marcel Schneider (-13, T15), Max Kieffer (-11, T26), Yannik Paul (-10, T32), Martin Kaymer, Hurly Long, Timo Vahlenkamp (all -9, T36) and Marcel Siem (-7, T53) were the other seven local pros to make the cut.
Billy Horschel travelled from the USA, hoping to win his third BMW title in Munich, to add to the BMW Championship he won in 2014 and the 2021 BMW PGA Championship, but had to make do with an overall score of eleven under par and tied 26th place in the end. “It has been an awesome week, I had a lot of fun. It was nice to see friends on the DP World Tour again,” said the American. “My golf was good at times, but not good enough to win.”