Migliozzi wins French Open after stunning last-round 62

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Guido Migliozzi won the French Open by one shot from Rasmus Hojgaard after a stunning nine birdies saw the Italian tie the course record with a 9-under 62 in the final round on Sunday.

It was the 25-year-old Migliozzi’s third European Tour win, his first for three years, and one he’ll remember a very long time.

“I was just in a good vibe on the course. I was enjoying my golf and it was a beautiful day. My girlfriend was with me and my coach as well,” Migliozzi said. “Today golf gave something back to me. It was one of those days that was beautiful to live.”

His birdie on the 18th was the best, as he went against his caddy’s wishes and used a 5-iron fade and even came close to an eagle on the course’s most difficult hole.

“The shot at the 18th was something incredible. I went for it and it paid off,” Migliozzi said. “My caddy was not happy. It was not the real strategy but I felt I could try.”

When Migliozzi finished on 16-under 268, he was one shot ahead of Hojgaard, who had two holes left to play. The 21-year-old Dane’s par on the 17th left him needing a birdie on the par-4 18th to force a playoff.

But Hojgaard, who had led since posting a superb 62 of his own in Thursday’s opening round, teed off into the rough. He landed his approach shot cleanly, but needed a 48-feet putt for birdie and fell 7 feet short to finish with a 3-under 68 for 15 under overall. It was a bitter end to the tournament for Hojgaard, given his round on Thursday and that he led by six strokes after the second round.

“It was a few silly mistakes over the last two days that cost me the win this week, but I’m happy with where my golf is heading. I’m striking the ball good and I’m putting nice,” Hojgaard said. “It obviously stings a little bit at the moment but later tonight I’ll be looking back and I’ve got a lot to be proud of.”

Frenchman Paul Barjon (70), South African George Coetzee (71) and Belgian Thomas Pieters (70) failed to apply pressure on a wide-open last day and finished four shots behind Hojgaard in a tie for third at 11 under.

Hojgaard held a slender one-shot overnight lead from Coetzee after making a terrible start to Saturday’s third round and ending it with a 3-over 74. The damage was done in that round with a quintuple-bogey on the second hole.

But he cast those bad memories aside in style as he began his final round, sinking a birdie on hole No. 2 and an eagle — his first of the tournament — on the next. However, he bogeyed Nos. 8 and 9 as Coetzee — a five-time European tour winner — moved level at 13 under.

Then it was Migliozzi’s turn to shine as he shot up the leaderboard with five consecutive birdies on Nos. 6-10 to move within one shot of the co-leaders at halfway, along with Barjon and Pieters.

Coetzee fell back after a triple bogey on the 15th, and Migliozzi’s incessant pressure finally got to Hojgaard.

The tournament was not played over the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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