Kitayama wins Mauritius Open

2nd December 2018 | Sunshine Tour

Kitayama wins Mauritius Open

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Kitayama wins Mauritius Open

Kurt Kitayama of the United States carded a final round 68 of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open to claim his maiden win in his first Sunshine Tour appearance.

A Rookie on both the European Tour and the Asian Tour, having earned his playing privileges for both Tours at their respective Qualifying Schools, Kitayama was making only his third start on the European Tour.

“I’m just so proud, really happy,” he said after his victory, “It’s an unbelievable moment for me, I’m just so happy I was able to pull it off. There were definitely some nerves around the first tee shot. Going birdie-eagle-birdie helped to calm things down for the rest of the day.”

He admits, however, that it was never going to be easy to claim victory in such a strong field which included three former champions in Dylan Frittelli, George Coetzee and Wang Jeunghun.

“I was aware a little bit of what was going on,” said the 25-year old Kitayama who has also played on the Tour in the United States. “I kept one eye on the scoreboard. I just tried to stay calm and take it one shot at a time. It was important on 13, to get back with another birdie. I just tried to stay patient. “It’s been a different journey for me (going from Tour to Asian Tour to European Tour). It’s been really exciting, being able to travel all over the globe and I’m going to continue to travel more. I’m really looking forward to it.

Justin Harding’s scintillating form continued, meanwhile, as he mounted the challenge in his quest for a fifth win of the season. He finished three shots behind Kitayama after carding a final-round 71. Frittelli shared the fifth spot with Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura, four shots behind Kitayama.

“I would have liked to have given it a better go today,” said Harding, “it’s been a good year and I have been reasonably consistent and I’ve had a bunch of top-fives, been in the final group a couple of times as well. I’ve been there and thereabouts, so I’m happy to have posted a top-five in my first made-cut in Mauritius.”

Other South Africans who impressed this week at Anahita include Oliver Bekker whose total of 14-under gave him a share of seventh with Antoine Rozner of France, Max Schmitt of Germany and Scotland’s Grant Forrest.

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