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Monday, 18 March 2019
 Guido Migliozzi - Magical Kenya Open champion  (Getty Images)
Guido Migliozzi - Magical Kenya Open champion (Getty Images)

There was only one word to describe the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa. Magical.

The event was first played in 1967 and counts Major Champions Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam and Trevor Immelman among its winners but the Karen Country Club tournament made its European Tour debut last week.

And after South African Louis de Jager surged into a four shot lead at the halfway stage, it was Q School Graduate Guido Migliozzi who came back to show nerves of steel and claim his maiden European Tour crown.

With no top tens from his previous 13 European Tour starts, the 22-year-old Italian had to draw on his experiences from three victories on the Alps Tour to hold off Spaniard Ardi Arnaus and South Africans Justin Harding and De Jager to win by one shot on 16 under.

However, Migliozzi's triumph was not the only story of a fine week in Nairobi. Here, we take a look at the thrills and spills of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.

Never re-book a flight early if you're Jeff Winther

A message to Dane Jeff Winther: Don't underestimate your own ability.

The 30-year-old looked destined for an early plane home after a nine over par 80 in the first round, so much so that he booked a flight for after his second round on Friday.

However, eight birdies and just a solitary bogey for a 64 saw Winther squeeze past the cut, much to the joy of Ryder Cup-winning captain Thomas Bjørn who did not hold back when mocking his compatriot on social media.

As Bjørn pointed out, Winther needed a top 20 finish to break even after his expenditure but he could only register tied for 68th and will, for the time being, be out of pocket.

Porteous and Harding know all about Kenya

South African pair Haydn Porteous and Justin Harding may have the advantage of growing up on the same continent as last week's hosts, but they certainly know all things about Kenya.

The European Tour tested the general knowledge of some of the golfing professionals in the build up to the week, with varying degrees of success.

And while others struggled, Harding and Porteous came to the fore, with the former proving top of the class.

Harding's superior knowledge also translated on the Karen Country Club course too, as the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters champion finished in a tie for second as the 33-year-old continued his stellar start to the 2019 season.

Glad’s House and Marco Iten


The Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa and charity Glad's House combined to provide a former street child with a week she will never forget at Karen Country Club.

Anna Achieng caddied for Marco Iten in Nairobi as Glad's House and the European Tour continued their relationship, which strives to help the under privileged in east Africa.

Formed 12 years ago by Victoria Ferguson and Frederick 'Bokey' Achola in the coastal city of Mombasa, Glad's House aims to improve the lives of young adults and children living on the streets by offering them counselling, training and, most importantly, a home.

Shubhankar Sharma is a great safari partner


Shubhankar Sharma has taken on some of the biggest and greatest players in world golf, but it was off the course where he enjoyed a wild experience in Kenya.

Unlike in his native India or on the golf course, there were no Tigers to be seen at the Nairobi National Park, but Sharma saw crocodiles, black and white rhinos, zebras, impala, giraffes, warthogs, guinea fowl, owls, eagles and ibises as he joined six time European winner Tony Johnstone on safari.

Sharma, who is the reigning Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year on the back of a stunning two victory debut campaign, was overjoyed by the experience in the Kenyan bush, especially after witnessing a hippopotamus for the first time.

Marathon man MacIntyre finishes on monumentous high

Robert MacIntyre has had a globe-trotting adventure on the European Tour in recent months, but it came to a glorious end in Nairobi.

The 22-year-old has been on the road for nine successive weeks, which has taken him from the Middle East to Australia, back to the Middle East before finishing in Kenya and it capped off with a superb final round at Karen Country Club.

The Scot made six birdies and an eagle on his way to a course record 63 to propel him into a tie for 17th before taking a well earned five weeks off from tournament golf.

A winner with a difference

As forementioned, Migliozzi secured his maiden European Tour title in Kenya but the victory came with a twist - as one of the most important clubs in his bag did not belong to him.

Migliozzi admitted this when he asked whether last year's winner and fellow Italian Lorenzo Gagli gave him advice, he said: "Lorenzo gave me more than that because he gave me one of his clubs. One of my clubs was broken and he gave me one club and that was key of this win, so thanks Lorenzo.

"(It was) a two iron. It was the key for this course as it was very tight and tough course, I used the two iron most of the tee shots, so thanks Lorenzo twice."

Migliozzi also became the first player from Modest Golf to claim a European Tour triumph - the golf management company which was set up by One Direction's Niall Horan - and the 22-year-old spoke about his joy of breaking the company's title duck.

He added: "We started the relationship three years ago and this moment is very important for me, for everybody, for Niall, for Modest Golf company.

"I'm very happy for that. I'm very happy to have been the first signing to Modest and to be the first European Tour winner, I appreciate that."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MIGLIOZZI, GuidoITA18-16
T2HARDING, JustinRSA18-15
T2DE JAGER, LouisRSA18-15
T2ARNAUS, AdriESP18-15
5BHULLAR, GaganjeetIND18-14
T6LANGASQUE, RomainFRA18-13

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