UNLV product Kurt Kitayama holds 1st-round lead in Oman Open

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

UNLV product Kurt Kitayama holds 1st-round lead in Oman Open

Euro Tour

UNLV product Kurt Kitayama holds 1st-round lead in Oman Open

By

Kurt Kitayama is in the hunt for his second European Tour victory in just his 10th start on the Euro circuit. The Californian holds the first-round lead in the $1.75 million Oman Open.

Kitayama, who played college golf for UNLV and still resides in Las Vegas, returned a 6-under-par 66 around Al Mouj Golf club. He had no bogeys, four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 12th hole.

“Conditions were pretty tough, so to be bogey free was really good,” Kitayama said. “My putting was great, I had great speed. I had a great putt on 17 from 60 feet to leave a tap-in. Then my last putt over a ridge was great. I made a few putts outside 10 feet so that was really nice.

“On 11 I drained a 40-footer. Hit a great second into the 12th, giving myself 15 feet and I was able to drain that. I got a little lucky out there. I made quite a few putts, so hopefully I can do that tomorrow too.”

The 26-year-old claimed his card for this year’s European Tour at last year’s Qualifying School. He won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in just his third start to secure his playing rights for the rest of this season and next year.

Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Yusaku Miyazato of Japan share second place on 5 under after matching 67s. Jamieson is bidding for his second European Tour win following the 2013 Nelson Mandela Championship.

“I drove it well and putted well,” said Jamieson, who played college golf for Augusta State. “I didn’t hit my irons particularly close but I think that’s difficult to do round here. The greens are firm with a lot of run-offs. You find yourself playing away from the flags. I had a chance to hole some nice putts and I had a chip-in on 17.

“You can’t go for it here. You can hit some really good shots which would just run off the side of the green, and then you’ll have a really tough up-and-down. You need to stay patient, play away from the flags and hope you can hole some putts.”

Thomas Pieters is one of seven players in a tie for fourth after a 68.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home