Guido Migliozzi of Italy, is the winner of the 2019 Magical Kenya Open. With this victory, Migliozzi bagged the top prize of Sh20.5 million and moved from official world golf ranking of 576 to 199. On the Race to Dubai Rankings, he moved from 218th to 28th place.
22-year old Migliozzi posted an impressive total score of 16-under par on what was a windy, firm and fast golf course at the Karen Country Club to claim his maiden European Tour victory after 14 starts on the main tour.
Spain’s Adri Arnaus and the SA pair of Justin Harding and Louis de Jager tied in second place, just one stroke behind the winner.
"I like this moment," said the Italian. "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,” (www.europeantour.com).
Applauding the victory, Irish singer Niall Horan, founder of the Modest! Golf Management, tweeted: “Yessss!! @guidomigliozzi has won his first @EuropeanTour event. Couldn’t be prouder of his and everyone at @modestgolf. @KenyaOpenGolf”. This tweet went out to Horan’s 39 million plus followers and was retweeted and liked over 25,000 times! Horan had earlier in the event tweeted about the great crowds at the Kenya Open – a tweet that was similarly retweeted and liked over 25,000 times.
The Kenyan charge at the Magical Kenya Open was led by Thika’s Simon Ngige who finished T25 with an impressive five-under par score.
Ngige may not have won the championship but he definitely won the hearts of the Kenyan golf fans. His rounds of 68, 72, 70 and 69 coloured with moments of brilliance, including a chip in on the 18th hole for birdie on the final day – what has been described as the ‘shot of the week’ – entertained the gallery and rekindled the dream of the Kenyan victory at this marquee golf event. Ngige banked Sh1.22 million for his efforts.
Justus Madoya, the resident golf pro at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort was the only other Kenyan to make the CUT; he finished T72 with rounds of 71, 71, 72 and 75. Madoya banked Sh190,000.
The Safari Tour leading golf professionals, Greg Snow, Dismas Indiza, Riz Charania, David Wakhu and CJ Wangai did not perform well at Karen. Snow and Indiza were unlucky to miss the CUT by a single painful shot.
Leading amateur Samuel Chege missed the CUT by two strokes whilst the talented juniors, Bradley Mogire and Kibugu Mutahi failed to perform under what were very tough golfing conditions. Nevertheless, the experience gained for the juniors and other elite amateurs will be invaluable as they continue to shape their careers.
The Magical Kenya Open was a championship of many firsts; this was the first time the event was being played as part of the main European Tour, complete with Live TV and some of the top golfing stars. For the first time since 1967, the Kenya Open was broadcast live to over half a billion homes across the globe giving the Kenyan brand priceless and positive brand exposure.
This was the first time the championship village hosted two live performances, the first by MoTown on Friday, March 15, and the second by SA’s Mafikizolo the following day.
This was the first time an immediate Ryder Cup Captain was playing in Kenya. Thomas Bjorn, who led Team Europe to victory in France, was in Kenya following an invitation by the Kenya Open Golf Ltd. Other star players invited included Ho-Sung Choi from Korea, Haydn Thomas from South Africa, Marcel Siem from Germany and Shubhankar Sharma from India.
Over 10,000 Kenyans attended the Magical Kenya Open, driving record tickets sales at the gate and high sales at the food and drink vending points.
The TV commentators – Tony Johnstone, Jay Townsend and Richard Kaufman spent a considerable amount of time on air discussing Kenya’s beauty – from the wildlife in the Nairobi National Park to the bird species at the Karen Country Club!