Guido Migliozzi made a flying start to this year’s Oman Open as the Italian starlet signed for a flawless opening round of six under par 66 to lead by one after an enthralling first day of action at Al Mouj Golf.
The 23-year-old, who won twice in his rookie campaign last year, began his round from the 10th tee and made four birdies on his back nine – including three in succession – to come home in 32 and finish ahead of South Africa’s Brandon Stone, Denmark’s Rasmus Højgaard and South Korea’s Taehee Lee.
“It’s a very good start to the tournament – a 66 and a bogey free round,” said Migliozzi. “And it’s a good feeling to work my way into this tournament on a beautiful course and I will try to give my best over the week. This is a tricky course because the greens are tough and tight, and there are a lot of things which need your attention like the wind and the release of the ball. You can play each hole in a few different styles but it’s really cool and all the players are really happy to play here.”
Stone, who was playing in the same group as Migliozzi, reeled off three birdies heading out and picked up two more shots on his way back to the clubhouse for his five under par 67, and he is reaping the benefits of the hard work he has put in on his game over the last 12 months.
“Last year was a fantastic year for me – even though the results weren’t really there – because we put a lot of structure in place, physically and mentally, and we did it to transform me as a person as well as a golfer,” said Stone. “My game feels fantastic and I’m feeling physically the best I ever have.
“I’m really happy with where my game is at the moment, and even though I missed the cut in Dubai and Saudi Arabia I felt like I played decent golf. Rounds like today make me sit back and think ‘that’s it, that’s what we’re after’ – and after a bogey free 67 on a tricky golf course that can bite you, I’m a very happy man.”
Højgaard, who won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open for his first European Tour title in December, reached five under par with a birdie at the 12th and parred his way home to also card a blemish free 67.
“The conditions when I started out were a bit tricky – the wind was up a little bit so it was a bit of a battle but I got through it,” said the 18-year-old. “This course is quite wide from the tee box, which is very nice, and I’m putting well – and you have to have good speed on the greens out here because you’re going to be faced with some long putts. That was the key today.”
Lee went on a run of three birdies in a row from the 12th and later birdied holes 16 and 18 to also get to five under while a group of eight players sit on four under par, including European Ryder Cup stars Andy Sullivan, Ross Fisher, Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher.
The 2020 Oman Open is supported by:
Al Mouj Muscat, Gulf Energy Development Company, Occidental Oman, Osco Shapoorji
CC Energy Development, Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Oman Air, Omantel, OQ, PTT Exploration and Production, Rolex, Sohar International, St Regis Al Mouj Muscat The Residences, Wicked
Muscat Daily, Oman LNG, Petroleum Development Oman, Petrofac, Sohar Port and Freezone, Tecnicas Reunidas Daewoo