If anyone can hold off Rose, Li has confidence to do it

ANTALYA, Turkey – China’s Haotong Li will begin the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open leading the likes of defending champion Justin Rose and 2016 champion Thorbjorn Olesen by three strokes.

A player like Rose, who can take over No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking with a victory on Sunday, can make any lead seem small, but Li has experience in this position.

Li began the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January one stroke clear of Rory McIlroy and held off the Northern Irishman for his second victory on the European Tour.

“Definitely got a lot of confidence from that, and since then, playing a lot of big events, which has built my confidence,” Li said. “It’s going to be an exciting day tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to going against Rose.”

Li moved into the lead in similar fashion on Saturday in Turkey, chipping in for birdie at the ninth and holing out for eagle at the 10th hole to go from three back to leading by three shots on his way to a third-round 63. In Dubai earlier this year he shot a third-round 64 to move into the top spot.

Li can make a serious jump in the Race to Dubai standings on Sunday. With a victory he can move as high as second on the season-long list and within striking distance of leader Francesco Molinari, who didn’t play the Turkish Airlines Open.

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