Kitayama secures second European Tour title at Oman Open
3 March 2019
America’s Kurt Kitayama produced a remarkable final day comeback at Al Mouj Golf to win his second European Tour title of the season at the Oman Open.
The American, who won his first European Tour title at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita earlier this season, played a marathon 33 holes on the final day after sandstorms and high winds delayed play in Muscat.
When darkness suspended play on Saturday evening, Kitayama was seven strokes off the pace after a quadruple bogey, and consecutive bogeys on the first three holes of his third round. Returning on Sunday morning, Kitayama played the next 15 holes in seven under par to sign for a round of 71 and a five-under-par total after 54 holes.
Starting his final round just 30 minutes later, the American quickly moved up the leaderboard with birdies on the second and third holes as he chased five other players who shared or outright held first place at various points during the afternoon. Spain’s Jorge Campillo set the clubhouse target of six under after finishing an hour-and-a-half before the final group.
Bogeys on the 7th and 11th holes cancelled out Kitayama’s early gains, but two consecutive birdies on the 16th and 17th saw him take first place outright as Max Kieffer dropped a shot on 17. Kitayama parred the final hole for a seven under par total, finishing one stroke ahead of Campillo, Kieffer, Clemént Sordet and Fabrizio Zanotti.
Kitayama, who won his European Tour card after finishing third at qualifying school in November, said: “It feels great to win again. My comeback earlier this morning helped set up this final round. I was back in contention and with it being continuous rounds it helped me cruise into the next one.”
He added: “Being in the final group helped me. You want to know where you are, especially coming down the stretch. When you take the lead you want to know where everyone is on the course and you see what holes you have coming up and you set yourself up for that. This one feels really good. When I won the first one I was playing really well and it felt like it was coming. This week, coming in off three missed cuts, not having good weekends in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, this felt like a real grind, especially after the start of the third round – so it feels great after going through that.”