Guido Migliozzi moved into the top 30 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings after showing nerves of steel down the homeward stretch to secure a one-stroke triumph over a trio of players and claim his maiden European Tour title at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.
The 22 year old, who secured his European Tour playing privileges through Qualifying School at the end of last year, was playing in just his 14th European Tour event but showed composure beyond his years after getting his nose in front of the pack with a birdie at the 12th having started the day tied for the lead with Adri Arnaus.
The three-time Alps Tour winner then carded six straight pars under immense pressure at Karen Country Club to sign for a tournament total of 16 under par and join the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Ian Woosnam in winning the event as it made its debut on the European Tour.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 17, 2019
“I like this moment,” said the Italian, who collects 335 Race to Dubai points to leapfrog from 218th to 28th on the Race to Dubai Rankings. “I like the pressure, it’s like a drug. I love pressure, I love playing with a lot of people looking at me and a lot of cameras.
“There was a lot of pressure on the course. After the birdie at the 12th I was leading but it was tough. I just kept patient towards the end, that was it.
“I enjoyed the last two days very much. The pressure was a lot and I’m happy about how I’m playing under pressure, also with my putting game that I worked a lot on.”
Arnaus and South African duo Justin Harding and Louis de Jager finished one behind Migliozzi to share second spot and pick up 149 Race to Dubai points each. Arnaus jumps from 46th to 25th on the Rankings, de Jager climbs to 57th from 155th while Harding moves up to second from fifth and a step closer to a maiden appearance at next month’s Masters Tournament.
On the rise 📈
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 18, 2019
“I think I’m probably still going to have to have a decent result come the Match Play (WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play) but I’ve at least given myself a decent shot at Augusta,” said Harding who started the week ranked 52nd in the Official World Golf Ranking with the Masters Tournament open to the top 50 players.
“I thought I played quite nicely. Didn’t get everything out of the front nine, couple of bad chips on six and seven which were naughty, but gave myself a chance coming down the stretch.It was another good week, (I’m) pretty pleased. I battled, probably from hole one, with club selection and the wind swirling around so to have come out and posted 15 under, I’m pleased.”
Gaganjeet Bhullar finished one further back to take fifth place on his own which earns the Indian star 84 points and moves him to 40th from 57th on the Rankings while 2018 Challenge Tour graduates Romain Langasque and Kalle Samooja completed the top six on 13 under par with both men receiving 65 points. Langasque moves up two places from 24th to 22nd while Samooja make a leap from 120th to 70th on the Rankings.