Guido Migliozzi played one of the great final-hole shots on the European Tour to win the French Open. Luke Donald, for one, would have been extremely impressed at the 25-year-old’s skill and chutzpah, as well as greatly encouraged with next year’s Ryder Cup in mind.
Donald, the European Ryder Cup captain, has made no secret of his wish to have an Italian in his ranks in Rome and the suspicions have been that his hopes were pinned predominantly on Francesco Molinari continuing his resurgence.
But Migliozzi more than fits the bill if this remarkable performance at Le Golf National – which hosted the 2018 Ryder Cup – is anything to go by.
From lying 13 shots behind after 36 holes and five shots behind on Sunday, the young gentleman from Vicenza powered to a one-shot victory over Rasmus Hojgaard courtesy of a course record-equalling 62 and 16-under total in Paris.
There were nine birdies in Migliozzi's nine-under magnificence, but his closing three on the imposing 471-yarder took centre stage.
From almost 200 yards, he hit a sweet five-iron to 5ft, taking on the huge lake guarding the green, with the pin cut on the narrow side. It was only the second birdie of the day on the par four. "An explosion of feeling," Migliozzi said when asked for his emotions.
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This was Migliozzi’s third Tour title, but his first in three years. In truth, his season had been indifferent until this. "I love to battle on the golf course and today I received something back," he said. "It was a beautiful day of golf."
It was tough on Hojgaard. The 21-year-old Dane cruised into a six-shot halfway lead following a 62 and 65 but saw all that brilliance negated by a quintuple-bogey eight and a bogey in the first three holes of his third round. However, he dug deep to play his next 15 holes in three-under and a final-round 68 further highlighted his resilience. It was another display for Donald to savour.
Team USA will go into the Ryder Cup clash in Italy on the back of their ninth consecutive victory in the Presidents Cup after they beat the International team 17.5-12.5 at Quail Hollow. Jordan Spieth was the star performer and won all five of his games, including accounting for Australian Cam Davies 4&2 in the last session.
Davis Love’s team only needed to gain 4.5 points from the concluding 12 singles and despite the International team’s rousing fightback on Saturday that was essentially a formality.
Trevor Immelman’s visitors clawed back some pride on the penultimate day, winning the two sessions by 5-3, but the prospect of a victorious comeback from 11-7 down was always going to be beyond them in North Carolina.
Immelman can only wonder how different it could have been if he had been able to select the likes of Cam Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer and Louis Oosthuizen. But the quartet have joined LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded rebel circuit, and were banned by the PGA Tour.
In light of that, the International team put up a gallant display, bettering Europe’s abject display in last year’s Ryder Cup when Padraig Harrington’s men were rolled over 19-9.
Kim Joo-hyung was particularly inspirational on the third day, injecting life into a contest that was in danger of turning into a procession. Immelman was effusive in his praise for the Korean 20-year-old, saying: "He’s a tremendous gift to our sport. He has the ability to be a global superstar. I’m a huge fan."