Li Haotong overcame Thomas Pieters in a dramatic play-off to win the BMW International Open, sinking a stunning 15-metre putt to claim his third victory on the European Tour.

Having taken a three-shot lead into the final day in Munich after hitting the front on day one, Li had the opportunity to seal a one-shot victory on the 18th after Pieters' excellent fourth-round 67 kept him in second place.

But LI's seemingly routine putt clipped the left-hand side of the hole and bounced away, bringing the 18th back into play as the duo ended the tournament locked together at 22 under par.

The Chinese 26-year-old looked to be on the back foot after a wayward chip left him some 15 metres out, but he made a terrific putt to seize the initiative before breaking down on the sidelines when Pieters failed to keep the play-off alive.

Having won his first European Tour title since 2018's Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Li told Sky Sports he was struggling to describe his emotions after almost giving up the sport entirely last year.

"I don't have the words to describe it right now," he said. "As soon as I chipped that ball, I thought another chance got away, I couldn't believe that was going to happen to me again.

"Ten months ago, I literally decided to quit golf, and somehow I'm where I am now... it's just f****** golf! It's hard to describe! I had no idea I could've won this play-off."

Li shot 70 on Sunday before wrapping up a triumph that had looked likely from day one in Germany, on which he equalled both his career-best round and the course record with an exceptional 10-under 62.

Meanwhile, Ryan Fox came third at 20 under after his own fourth-round 67, edging out Finland's Sami Valimaki in fourth by two shots.

Pablo Larrazabal, Nicolai von Dellingshausen and Romain Langasque shared fifth spot at 17 under, while 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen finished level with Jordan Smith for a share of eighth.  

Li Haotong holds a three-shot lead going into the final day of the BMW International Open in Munich after carding a third-round 67 on Saturday.

The 26-year-old from China followed Thursday's course record-equalling score of 10 under par at the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried with a 67 on Friday.

The same score on Saturday means he heads into the final round with a healthy lead over Belgium's Thomas Pieters, who carded a 66.

Li, who has not won a DP World Tour title since 2018 when he triumphed at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, told reporters: "Just another great day again. Germany has been treating me very good so far.

"I didn't expect an eagle on number six, and didn't expect that birdie on 15 as well. I didn't expect the driver on the last to hit a tree, but to be fair, I pulled it a little bit. It was just another perfect day for me.

"Tomorrow will be a tough day. I just need to hang on in there, play my game. Expect everything. I just need to get comfortable as much as possible."

Pieters made an eagle and four birdies in his round to sit second, one shot ahead of Jordan Smith, who carded 67.

Pieters said: "People have come back from further behind. I just look forward to a lovely day tomorrow and hopefully a lot of birdies."

Ryan Fox's hopes of glory were dealt a blow after a round of 71, which left him tied fourth on 15 under par with Darius Van Driel.

Li Haotong carded a second-round 67 to maintain his lead at the BMW International Open in Munich after a weather-interrupted second day.

The Chinese 26-year-old tied the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried course record with a score of 10 under par on Thursday, taking a one-shot lead into the clubhouse after two eagles in the final four holes.

Li will now also head into the third day in pole position, after overcoming two bogeys on the first seven holes to get himself to 15 under par.

He has not won a DP World Tour title since 2018, when he triumphed at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, but now has a real chance of lifting the trophy after an impressive first two rounds.

"It's another good day in the office. I'm feeling great," Li told reporters. "I think I've only missed two cuts so far this year, so it's been working especially off the tee.

"For sure I'm already feeling the pressure. Hopefully I can play my golf and keep calm. To be honest I didn't drive as well as yesterday, but my short game is quite okay.

"When you get in the rough, the lie could be really bad or could be good. Sometimes you just need luck."

His closest challenger is Ryan Fox, who is just one shot behind after going around in 64 and is chasing a third DP World Tour win.

Play was suspended for around two hours because of the threat of lightning, and Fox brought the thunder when he stormed the back nine with four birdies. 

It was not enough to pip Li to the lead though heading into what promises to be an enthralling weekend.

Daan Huizing is just three shots off the lead, while Thomas Pieters' second round of 64 leaves him four back alongside Jordan Smith, with Maximilian Kieffer five shots off the leader.

The DP World Tour has announced sanctions against players who have broken away to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

A host of golfing stars have committed to the controversial series, with Phil Mickelson among them, and sanctions handed out to DP World Tour members on Friday included fines of £100,000 and suspension from two upcoming events.

Players have been warned they risk being banned from PGA Tour tournaments if they compete in LIV Golf, and the DP World Tour has now confirmed its own sanctions.

In a statement, it said: "The DP World Tour today confirmed the sanctions to be taken against members who breached tour regulations and participated in a LIV Golf event at Centurion Club from June 9-11, despite not having received releases to allow them to do so.

"Such actions contravened the conflicting event regulation laid down in the members' general regulations handbook as well as the code of behaviour regulation, of which the members have been reminded on a number of recent occasions."

Alongside the fines, the sanctioned golfers have been suspended from competing at the Scottish Open and the Barracuda Championship, and warned that playing in further LIV Golf events could see them hit with additional punishments.

The DP World Tour – previously known as the European Tour – says money from the fines will be divided two ways, by being added to the prize fund for upcoming tournaments and distributed by the tour's Golf For Good programme.

Chief executive Keith Pelley highlighted a "strategic allegiance" with the PGA Tour, which has already banned players who competed at the Centurion Club.

"Every action anyone takes in life comes with a consequence and it is no different in professional sport, especially if a person chooses to break the rules. That is what has occurred here with several of our members," Pelley said.

"Many members I have spoken to in recent weeks expressed the viewpoint that those who have chosen this route have not only disrespected them and our tour, but also the meritocratic ecosystem of professional golf that has been the bedrock of our game for the past half a century and which will also be the foundation upon which we build the next 50 years.

"Their actions are not fair to the majority of our membership and undermine the tour, which is why we are taking the action we have announced today."

Scottie Scheffler has admitted it was "definitely a surprise" to see Brooks Koepka join the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Golf series as he reaffirmed his commitment to the PGA Tour.

Koepka became the latest big name to join the controversial LIV series this week, following the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer to join after its maiden event in London earlier this month.

Those moving have faced significant backlash for their decisions, with Rory McIlroy questioning the approach of the players on Wednesday, and while Scheffler was surprised, he stopped short of direct criticism.

"It was definitely a surprise for me. I was at a function with him last week and that definitely wasn't what we had in mind," he told a news conference.

"We were focused on building the PGA Tour and getting the guys that are staying here together and kind of just having talks and figuring out how we can help benefit the Tour, so to see Brooks leave was definitely a surprise for us.

"With that being said, he's made his decision, I'm not going to knock him for doing that."

The world number one also reaffirmed his own commitment to the PGA Tour and rebuffed any chances of him following in Koepka's footsteps.

"For me, it's not where I see myself heading anytime soon. I grew up wanting to be on the PGA Tour.

"I grew up dreaming of playing in these events, I didn't grow up dreaming of playing the Centurion Club in London or whatever it is. 

"I grew up wanting to play in the Masters, in Austin, at Colonial, the Byron Nelson.

"I wouldn't trade those memories for anything at this moment in time. Those memories to me are invaluable. 

"I would never risk going and losing the opportunity to go back to Augusta every year. 

"There's nothing I would want to do right now that would risk having any sort of effect on the way my life is now."

Patrick Cantlay has expressed his concerns for the future of golf after more breakaways to join the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Brooks Koepka is widely reported to be set to leave the PGA Tour and, while there's yet to be official confirmation, it was announced he had withdrawn from the Travelers Championship.

Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are among those to have signed up to the series, with further additions expected in the near future.

This has resulted in a lot of uncertainty around the future of golf and Cantlay has admitted he is concerned.

"Everyone wants to play against the best players in the world and a lot of us are hyper-competitive. That's maybe what drove us to be as good as we are," he told a news conference.

"Anytime there's a potential fracture in the sport, I don't think that's good. You don't see it in any other major sports, where all the talent is in one tour or league. It's definitely a real concern. 

"Right now, there's a competition for talent that is going on, you've seen it in lots of businesses, you've seen it in other professional sports from time to time and part of the concern is not knowing what the future will be like.

"It's an uncertain time for golf. If you think about it in the larger business landscape, it's a competition for talent.

"If the PGA Tour wants to remain as the pre-eminent tour for professional golfers, it has to be the best place to play for the best players in the world."

Patrick Cantley has expressed his concerns for the future of golf after more breakaways to join the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Brooks Koepka is widely reported to be set to leave the PGA Tour and, while there's yet to be official confirmation, it was announced he had withdrawn from the Travelers Championship.

Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are among those to have signed up to the series, with further additions expected in the near future.

This has resulted in a lot of uncertainty around the future of golf and Cantley has admitted he is concerned.

"Everyone wants to play against the best players in the world and a lot of us are hyper-competitive. That's maybe what drove us to be as good as we are," he told a news conference.

"Anytime there's a potential fracture in the sport, I don't think that's good. You don't see it in any other major sports, where all the talent is in one tour or league. It's definitely a real concern. 

"Right now, there's a competition for talent that is going on, you've seen it in lots of businesses, you've seen it in other professional sports from time to time and part of the concern is not knowing what the future will be like.

"It's an uncertain time for golf. If you think about it in the larger business landscape, it's a competition for talent.

"If the PGA Tour wants to remain as the pre-eminent tour for professional golfers, it has to be the best place to play for the best players in the world."

Matt Fitzpatrick credited his U.S. Open triumph to his Sheffield upbringing, which he believes helped to prepare him for the tournament.

The 27-year-old won a first career major after finishing six under par with a composed performance at The Country Club in Brookline, having entered the tournament considered an outsider to clinch victory.

Fitzpatrick likened his sitting prior to the start of play to his football team, Sheffield United, and described his approach as being reflective of his hometown.

"Sheffield, where I grew up playing golf, Hallamshire. Windy, tough, tight, really small greens. All jokes aside, it's actually similar to here. Just doesn't have the length. But always really windy," he said.

"When growing up, it was kind of the same wispy, high rough as well, so you had to learn to control your ball flight and chip well because you just weren't going to hit that many greens.

"It's a steel town, but I love Sheffield. It's great. It's where I'm from. It's where my football team's from. Yeah, it's where all my best pals are from, so yeah.

"I think, not to like compare it to my football team, but I feel like I'm the same deal. Not expected to do well, not expected to succeed. I've won a major today.

"I feel like I certainly work hard for it, and that's kind of where I've grown up from is that's the mentality of everyone around there. It's kind of you're told it's not upper class at all. 

"It's kind of, I can't think of the words. I've been out of the country too long. Yeah, it's certainly like underdog mentality, and you work for what you get."

Fitzpatrick also spoke about the influence of his parents in moulding him to become a humble person, though that doesn't limit his competitive edge.

"They did such an amazing job with me. That was the thing, they always taught me to be humble and to be down to earth, and if they're not bringing me back down to earth, my friends are. That will always be me," he added.

"It doesn't matter what we're doing, how well we're playing, I'll leave here tonight, and they'll give me abuse about something, I know they will. My friend is just nodding back there.

"I don't know, I've always felt like I had it. I've always been competitive, and that comes from my dad as well. My dad was always competitive with us as juniors. I just love winning. I absolutely love winning. I don't care who it is, but I just want to beat everyone.

"Although it doesn't come across -- like I don't show it much because I like to be quite reserved. Yeah, I just love beating everyone. It's as simple as that. Anyone else on tour would say the same thing. That's why the guys are the best, and that's why they play so well. Just love winning."

Matt Fitzpatrick declared he can "retire a happy man" after taking victory in the U.S. Open to clinch a first career major.

The Englishman came in one stroke ahead of Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris, finishing 68 and six under par to secure success on Sunday.

Victory at the U.S. Open signified his second career win at The Country Club in Brookline, having lifted the U.S. Amateur trophy there in 2013 by edging out Australian Oliver Goss.

It also brought an end to the 27-year-old's wait for a first major and, while there's still plenty to play for in his career, Fitzpatrick has declared he can now retire happily.

"The feeling is out of this world. It is so cliche, but it's stuff you dream of as a kid. To achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow," he told reporters.

"I think there were expectations, but I didn't feel them, in my opinion. The field's such a strong field, so many great golfers playing.

"But I think for me, the expectations were for me to play well, but I feel like having won the U.S. Amateur here as well, I just felt so comfortable around this place. Know where to hit it; know where to miss it."

While he could relax after his win, Fitzpatrick outlined his intention to secure six honours in his career in order to attain legendary status in golf.

"Six is the number. That's the number that we all agreed on. I've got a bit of a way to go, but it's a good start," he added.

Fitzpatrick will now turn his attention towards The Open Championship at St. Andrews, a course he loves to play on, though he looks forward to a well-deserved break first.

"It will be great. I love playing St. Andrews. It's a great golf course," he said of the final major of the year.

"It's going to be interesting, obviously, with the length and everything. And now I'm a bomber, I'll probably be driving most of the greens.

"I'm looking forward to it. I've got two weeks off now, which I couldn't be happier about. I'll get my head around a few things, and then I guess we'll go to St. Andrews."

World number one Scottie Scheffler and fellow U.S. Open runner-up Will Zalatoris paid respect to winner Matt Fitzpatrick after a thrilling final round at The Country Club.

Scheffler started his round with four birdies on his first six holes, going on to shoot a 67 and finish five under for the tournament, one behind Fitzpatrick.

Zalatoris also finished at five under, and had a chance to force a playoff by making a birdie putt on the 18th hole, only for it to narrowly miss wide.

It was a remarkable result for England's Fitzpatrick, who became the first player since fellow Englishman Danny Willett in 2016 to mark his first career PGA Tour win with a major victory.

Scheffler told the media after his round that he was happy with his performance, and highlighted the massive improvements he has seen from Fitzpatrick this season.

"My game is still in a good spot," he said. "I gave myself a chance to win the U.S. Open. 

"Performed really well today under a lot of pressure – I made some key putts there in the beginning to kind of get today going. I just played some quality golf. 

"It just so happened the putts [later in the round] were going around the edge instead of in. That's kind of what it felt like was happening most of the week… a few breaks here or there, and I would be the one holding the trophy.

"Tip of the hat to 'Fitzy'. He's been playing really good golf, and he definitely deserved to win this event. I don't know if you guys noticed, but I feel like he has made some extreme improvements off the tee in a matter of months.

"I played with him in Austin this year, and he was not hitting it nearly as far as he is now. I don't know what he was doing. Maybe he was on the Bryson program or something. 

"He's hitting the ball really well and has been knocking on the door for a long time. He definitely deserves this win."

Zalatoris said he thought his playoff-forcing putt was dropping as he watched it travel, and gave respect to Fitzpatrick for what will go down as a legendary bunker save on the 18th hole.

"I did [think my putt was going in] – with about six feet to go, I thought I had it," he said.

"When he pulled it off [out of the bunker] – tip your cap, well done. Now I have to make birdie and hope he misses.

"I painted that shot right over the flagstick and just hit it a little deep. [Fitzpatrick's] golf shot was one-in-20, at best. To pull it off in that situation is incredible.

"He had to cut it around kind of an island of rough in the middle of that bunker. Probably – I don't know how far he had – I'd say roughly around 160, 170 [yards to the pin]. 

"So he's probably hitting a seven or a six-iron and opening it up, carving it off probably left edge of the green. And to get it to be just past pin-high, like I said, the fact he had a look was just awesome.

"When they show the highlights at future U.S. Opens, that's one that's going to be shown, because that was just incredible."

Rory McIlroy kept his good form rolling to finish fifth at the U.S. Open, but with nearly eight years since his last major win, he said he views it as "another missed opportunity".

The Northern Irishman is on an impressive run lately, finishing second at The Masters, fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship, eighth at the PGA Championship, and winning the Canadian Open in four of his past five starts.

He was in contention right from the word go this week, one stroke off the lead after the first round and four-under par heading into the weekend, but he shot a disappointing 73 on Saturday to take himself out of the group of real contenders.

Speaking to the media after his final round, McIlroy said while there were positives to take from the week, it "doesn't really mean anything" for him to bank another top-five finish.

"Another top-five in a major – I guess doesn't really mean anything," he said. "Yeah, the game's there. 

"I've got one more start next week in Hartford before I go to the Open Championship. I'll get two weeks of good rest before the Open and play some links golf and prepare and look forward to that. 

"Again, my game's in good shape. I've got one more chance this year to try to get that major.

"I feel like this is my fourth top-ten in a row coming off the back of three missed cuts in this event – so it's definitely been better – [but] it's still not quite close enough. 

"There was a few holes there today where I made the birdie and then did the reverse ones back with the bogey at the next. To win golf tournaments, you just can't do that.

"But it's there. It's close. I just have to stay patient. As I said, I've got one more opportunity this year to try to get a major, and I'm looking forward to that."

While he feels like this was "another missed opportunity", he said he knows he is playing well enough to win at the highest level.

"It will take a while [to reset and process the outcome] – I'll look back at this as another missed opportunity just as Southern Hills was," he said. "But missed opportunities are better than not contending at all – so that is a positive.

"I have to stay patient at this point because if I just keep putting myself in position, sooner or later it's going to be my day and I'm going to get one.

"It's not win or bust. It's not as if where I finished today is the same as not playing on the weekend. I guess when I look back, will I remember the fifth place I had at Brookline? Probably not.

"I played well enough to give myself a chance to win. I didn't get the job done, but I'm closer than I have been in a while, which is good."

Matt Fitzpatrick claimed his first-ever major win as he edged out Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler to triumph at the U.S. Open at The Country Club on Sunday.

Englishman Fitzpatrick, who won the U.S Amateur at the same course in 2013, carded a two-under par 68 in his final round at The Country Club in Massachusetts to edge out playing partner Zalatoris and Scheffler by one shot, finishing on six under for the tournament. 

Zalatoris, who lost the US PGA Championship in a play-off to Justin Thomas last month, bogeyed the second and third holes but roared back with three birdies before the turn, while Fitzpatrick was two under through his first nine holes.

The Englishman opened his back nine with back-to-back bogeys, which paved the way for Zalatoris to open up a two-shot lead at the summit of the leaderboard after the 11th hole.

They were level pegging again after the 13th, though, largely in part to a stunning long birdie putt from Fitzpatrick.

And 27-year-old Fitzpatrick moved two clear on the 15th thanks to a birdie after Zalatoris could only manage a bogey.

The lead was reduced to one going into the final hole, and despite a poor tee shot that saw him find the bunker, Fitzpatrick held his nerve, playing a sublime shot out of the sand to set him up with two putts to seal his maiden major success.

And that came when, after Fitzpatrick sunk his putt for par, Zalatoris edged his effort just wide.

Zalatoris shared second with world number one Scheffler, while Hideki Matsuyama produced the round of the week - the 30-year-old from Japan hitting a bogey-free 65 to conclude his tournament on three under for a fourth-placed finish.

Collin Morikawa was left to rue a dismal 77 on Saturday, the two-time major champion bouncing back in style from that with a four under par 66 to finish tied fifth with Rory McIlroy, who had an up and down Sunday, and Adam Hadwin on two under for the tournament.

Further down the leaderboard, US PGA Championship winner Thomas carded a four over par 74 to finish the tournament on seven over par – the same as three-time major winner Jordan Spieth.

Hideki Matsuyama will "keep on grinding" after carding the lowest score in the U.S. Open on Sunday.

Posting a 65, Matsuyama was five under on the final round and finished the tournament three under overall.

Matsuyama headed into the clubhouse in fourth place, though his efforts were not enough to put him in contention for success, barring a major slip up from the leaders.

The 2021 Masters champion conceded he did not feel he was at his best over the course of the tournament, though it gives him confidence moving forward and highlighted his putting as a strength.

"To be honest, I don't feel like this is my 100 per cent performance, but it does give me a lot of boost on my confidence," Matsuyama said.

"So, I'll try my best, try to connect this momentum to my next game, and I'll be prepared for it.

"Definitely my putting was helping my game a lot. Rolling really good putts. 

"My shots were pretty decent too. I was able to target most of the greens, so I think that really helped me."

Collin Morikawa, the reigning champion of The Open, will head to St Andrews having learned from his experience at the U.S. Open.

Morikawa was among the favourites to clinch the season's third major at The Country Club this weekend, and was on course to challenge until carding a dismal 77 on Saturday.

He hit back with an impressive 65 on Sunday, though, putting him T5 at the time he went back into the clubhouse - only three off the lead.

While Morikawa required a huge slip up from all of the leaders to get him in contention for glory at Brookline, he was able to reflect on learning what he hopes will be a valuable lesson ahead of defending his Open title next month at St Andrews.

"I don't know if I found something. I think it just taught me that just go play golf," Morikawa told reporters.

"This year has been so much focused on trying to hit that cut and trying to be so perfect, and that's who I am, but just go out and play.

"Things are going to be tough. The ball is not going to go exactly where you want, but just figure it out.

"After this week it was a huge boost heading into the last little stretch of golf.

"I'm very excited. I think I'm going to have to really do a good job about prioritising every single day and splitting up what I need to focus on, whether it's the golf or whether I need to enjoy just being there at St. Andrews, being back as a defending champion.

"I think last year I was able to settle in a little quicker because I played the Scottish [Open] and you just kind of showed up. Time zones, everything, it was just go and play golf.

"This year I think there's going to be a couple more distractions just with being the defending champion and just knowing that it's such a golf-centred town, but that doesn't mean by Tuesday midday all I'll be focusing on is golf."

Morikawa went round in 69 on Thursday and built on that impressive start with a 66 in his second round in Massachusetts, yet it all fell apart on Saturday.

"I didn't see it coming. I think when you are playing well, you'll make doubles, right, and doubles aren't acceptable, just like three-putts," added Morikawa, who already has two major titles under his belt by the age of 25.

"Yesterday with two doubles, you just can't play with that. I know you can kind of rebound from that, and I think Scottie [Scheffler] kind of bounced back and still kept himself around there, but I just... the game and the approach shots and just off the tee, I was playing out of the rough yesterday, which is just impossible at a U.S. Open to play well and to hold and maintain pars.

"So I didn't think it was coming. I hope many seven-overs aren't coming in the future, but it just kind of made me refocus and kind of just get back into things, right, and just really start from the tee, get it in the fairway, and then worry about it from there."

Scottie Scheffler is enjoying the tricky conditions at this year's U.S. Open, sitting two strokes from co-leaders Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick heading into Sunday's final round.

Despite a strong start, the world number one could only manage a one-over 71 at The Country Club on Saturday, finishing on two-under after 54 holes.

In windy and overcast conditions, only seven players posted scores under par on moving day in Brookline, with nine under par for the tournament after three rounds.

After his round on Saturday, Scheffler was far from bemoaning the difficulties he or the field has faced, insisting it is why he is playing the tournament.

"I think the U.S. Open is very taxing, mentally and physically," he said. "I think that's all part of what this makes this tournament so fun. You're going to get tested all different kinds of ways, whether it be physically, mentally, whatever it is. This golf tournament is going to test you.

"That's why I show up here. I think that's kind of the fun of it. If every golf tournament was like this, it would be in for a long season for all of us. A few times a year I think it's a ton of fun."

After a spectacular eagle on the par-five eighth to go three-under over the front nine, the conditions bit Scheffler hard, posting a double bogey and then three consecutive bogeys between 11 and 14.

A birdie on the 17th was followed up with a massive par save on the final hole after finding the bunker, and the usually stoic 25-year-old let out a rare show of emotion, triumphantly pumping his fist after a tough one-putt.

"It was good because I hit my second shot, and I hit it exactly where I wanted to," Scheffler said. "It got gusted, and it came up short. Where we thought the ball was going to end up was right on top of the bunker where I had no stance.

"So, a hole in which I really thought after a good shot on the second round I was going to walk away with five, to get out of there with four was definitely a big boost.

"I knew how hard the putt was, and that's why I was so frustrated because I had a chance to get it somewhat close, and I didn't hit a great shot."

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