One year on from the 2019 Magical Kenya Open presented by ABSA, we reflect on how Guido Migliozzi’s maiden European Tour victory transformed his career.
The 23-year-old Italian had earned his card through Qualifying School at the end of 2018, and by June had already amassed two victories, which saw him break in to the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.
Here’s a closer look at his first win, and what’s happened since…
First European Tour victory
After turning professional in 2016 and earning three victories over the next two years on the satellite Alps Tour, Migliozzi claimed the 13th card at European Tour Qualifying School in 2018 to earn his rookie season on the European Tour.
Yet while Migliozzi’s initial introduction to the European Tour was a slow one - making just two of his first seven cuts – everything quickly changed during his first appearance at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Asba.
It was just his 14th career start, and eighth of his rookie season, but Guido proved himself a convincing champion as he earned a one stroke victory over Adri Arnaus and South African duo Justin Harding and Louis de Jager at Karen Country Club.
Having been tied with Arnaus heading into the final round, Migliozzi carded birdies at both the tenth and 12th holes before proving pressure was no issue for him as he parred his final six holes for a memorable maiden victory.
"I like this moment," he had said at the time. "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.”
Migliozzi’s victory ensured his name now sits among the prestigious list of former champions of Kenya’s national open, including Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and Trevor Immelman.
Breaking into world’s top 100 with a second win
His first win prompted a spell of consistent form, and it wasn’t long before Migliozzi’s name was etched upon another European Tour trophy.
The Italian, playing in his 20th event on the European Tour, advanced to the knockout stages of the Belgian Knockout, tied in 11th position after the 36-hole stroke play section with rounds of 70-66 at RInkven International Golf Club.
En route to the final, Migliozzi dispatched of Pedro Oriol, another Spaniard in defending champion Adrian Otaegui and then needed two extra holes to see off David Law in Saturday’s early knockout matches. He continued to shine on Sunday, besting Bernd Wiesberger in his quarter-final and Ewen Ferguson in the last four to set up a final against Darius van Driel.
Migliozzi excelled in the final, producing a driving masterclass to earn a four shot victory over van Driel with a score of three under par, but a win wasn’t the only notable accolade of his week in Belgium. In addition to joining Kurt Kitayama as the second 2018 Qualifying School graduate to win twice in the 2019 Race to Dubai season, Migliozzi also moved him inside the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.
A strong finish to the season
Following his second Tour victory Migliozzi continued to impress on the biggest of stages, starting with his seventh place finish at the Porche European Open.
Migliozzi then finished his season with four top 20s – including a tie for 20th place at the Turkish Airlines Open and a tie for 16th at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai – guaranteeing he would end his rookie season at 40th in the Race to Dubai.
Reflecting on his stand-out season, Migliozzi was clear that this is only the beginning.
“This has been an incredible first season, but I’m not going to stop here,” he said at the end of last year.
“I want this to be the start of a long career and the more I play in tournaments of this stature, the better I will get.”
Staying true to his word, Migliozzi’s latest outstanding performance was a tie for fourth at the 2020 Oman Open two weeks ago, two strokes behind Finland’s Sami Valimaki.
He’s currently ranked 125th on the Official World Golf Ranking, and sits at 82nd in the Race to Dubai Standings