Kenya Open: Rookie Guido Migliozzi wins by one for European Tour breakthrough

Guido Migliozzi with the Kenya Open trophy
Guido Migliozzi with the Kenya Open trophy

Guido Migliozzi held off challenges from Justin Harding, Louis de Jager and Adri Arnaus to win the Magical Kenya Open.

Leaderboard

-16 Migliozzi

-15 Arnaus, Harding, De Jager

-14 Bhullar

-13 Samooja, Langasque

-10 Johnston

Day four report

Guido Migliozzi held off challenges from Justin Harding, Louis de Jager and Adri Arnaus to win the Magical Kenya Open.

The young Italian, part of Niall Horan's Modest! Golf stable, carded a two-under-par 69 on a tense, gripping final day to win by a single shot.

It's his first European Tour win and indeed first top 10 on any major circuit, having graduated through Qualifying School, prior to which his three victories had all come on the Alps Tour.

"There was a lot of pressure, obviously," said Migliozzi. "After the birdie at 12, I was leading, but it was tough.

"I enjoy (pressure) very much. I'm happy about how I'm playing under pressure. I would like to thank every part of my team."

Harding produced final-round fireworks yet again but this time had to settle for a share of second alongside compatriot de Jager, who had held a four-stroke lead at the hafway stage, and Spanish youngster Arnaus.

The latter made two early bogeys but having worked his way back into the mix, was unable to find the birdie he needed down the stretch.

Migliozzi, who had made the turn in a level-par 35, birdied the 10th and 12th holes to establish the narrowest of cushions but there were few signs of nerves on the biggest day of his career.

Coming down the last with his one-shot lead intact, the 22-year-old found the fairway before hitting the pin with a fantastic approach which effectively sealed the title.

In seven previous starts this season he'd managed nothing better than 56th place in South Africa, but now he'll be exempt on the European Tour until the end of the 2020 campaign and into the top 500 in the world rankings.

Meanwhile, Simon Ngige holed out at the last to finish as the leading Kenyan on five-under, producing one of the moments of the week in the process.

Day three report

Rookies Adri Arnaus and Guido Migliozzi share the lead on 14-under-par entering the final round of the Kenya Open.

Arnaus blasted out of the blocks on Saturday, quickly erasing a four-shot deficit to Louis de Jager with six birdies over the opening 11 holes.

As his charge began to stall, playing partner Migliozzi made his move with birdies at the 11th, 12th and 13th before briefly opening up a two-shot lead with a further birdie at the short 17th.

But the Italian, a three-time Alps Tour winner, bogeyed the difficult 18th and when Arnaus rolled in a 15-foot putt for a final birdie, the pair were tied at the top.

De Jager's grip on the event was loosened by a level-par front nine on a low-scoring afternoon, but birdies at the 10th and 11th had him back in pole position.

However, the South African bogeyed holes 13, 15 and 16, a birdie at the 14th throw in to limit the damage, until an excellent three at the last saw him move back within one.

Kalle Samooja matched Migliozzi's 64 to move into a share of fourth with Gaganjeet Bhullar, while Justin Harding's bid for back-to-back titles remains alive after a round of 68 moved him to within four of the lead.

He's joined in a share of sixth by Scotland's Liam Johnston and English youngster Jack Singh Brar.

Day two report

South Africa's Louis de Jager took control of the Kenya Open thanks to a second-round 66 at Karen GC.

De Jager has been making hay on home soil of late and has found comfort in Nairobi, adding to a first-round 64 to move clear on 12-under-par.

"I told the guys when we played a practice round on Tuesday, after the desert you could feel you were in Africa, back in our continent," he said.

"You get used to the feel of the kikuyu (grass) and the ball travels the same as back home in Pretoria, distance-wise, so it really feels like we're back home.

"I had to find my feet a bit at the start of the season but I'm felling comfortable out here, this is where I belong.

"I started off birdie-birdie and it got me in the right mindset for the round. I kept it going, kept it on the fairways, kept hitting the greens and made a few putts."

Adri Arnaus made six birdies over the closing eight holes to climb to second alongside Jack Singh Brar, the young Englishman who had shared the lead on Thursday.

Singh Brar's progress on day two was far steadier, but a birdie at the 17th saw him move back within four of leader de Jager.

Justin Harding's hopes of back-to-back titles were boosted by a round of 65 which vaulted him into a shade of fourth alongside Gaganjeet Bhullar and Guido Migliozzi, with Stuart Manley and Liam Johnston on shot further back and six adrift of the leader.

Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano played his final nine holes of round two in just 28 shots to go from a possible missed cut to a share of ninth, but perhaps the performance of the day came from Jeff Winther.

A first-round 80 had left Winther staring at a missed cut - indeed, he booked an earlier flight home - but eight birdies in the opening 12 holes of round two lifted him inside the mark.

Day one report

England's Jack Singh Brar picked up five shots over his closing four holes to move into a share of the lead after day one of the Kenya Open at Karen GC.

The 22-year-old rookie was ticking along at two-under as he reached the sixth hole, having started his round at the 10th, when an eagle prompted a stunning finish.

Birdies at holes seven, eight and nine saw him shoot 64, two lower than his previous best on the European Tour and enough to join Louis de Jager at the top of the leaderboard.

Singh Brar turned professional in 2017 after taking three points from four matches in a losing Walker Cup effort and graduated from the European Challenge Tour last season with the help of a win at the Cordon Golf Open.

"Through the round I got up and down when I needed to and then I was five under through my last four, a great way to finish the round," he said. "I have to just keep pushing now because you can't defend on this Tour."

De Jager, who came through the Qualifying School at the sixth attempt last season, said: "I have been hitting it really well over the past two weeks and I did that again today but just managed to hole a few putts, too."

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar was bogey-free in a six-under 65, while Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey shot a morning 66 to end the day at five-under alongside the promising Adri Arnaus.

Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn dropped shots at two of the final three holes in a one-under 70 while among the pick of the locals was Dismas Indiza, a 50-year-old veteran who recovered from a bad start to shoot 69.

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