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Sunday, 02 December 2018
Kurt Kitayama  (Getty Images)
Kurt Kitayama (Getty Images)
Kurt Kitayama was in a strong position to claim his maiden European Tour title as he held a two-shot lead at the turn on day four of the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.

The American came into Sunday's final round locked at the top of the leaderboard alongside Justin Harding on 16 under par but he carded an eagle, two birdies and a single bogey in his first nine holes to take the outright lead.

Frenchman Matthieu Pavon was alone in second on 17 under after making five birdies and one bogey in his opening ten holes.

After the overnight co-leaders had both safely parred the opening hole, Harding grabbed the solo lead courtesy of a confident uphill birdie putt from around six feet at the second.

But Kitayama joined him on 17 under with a birdie at the next, holing his tricky 25-foot putt, with Harding unable to convert his long birdie effort.

After sending his approach at the long fourth to 15 feet, Qualifying School graduate Kitayama rolled in his eagle putt to jump to 19 under.

Harding, who has won twice on both the Asian Tour and the Sunshine Tour in 2018, tapped in for a birdie at the same hole to stay within touching distance.

But Kitayama doubled his advantage after draining his ten-foot putt at the short fifth to get to 20 under par for the tournament.

After missing his ten-foot par putt at the seventh to drop his first shot of the day, Kitayama steadied the ship with a great par save at the short eighth after sending his tee-shot into a greenside bunker.

Pavon surged into contention after reeling off three birdies in a row from the second before getting two more at the sixth and seventh to get to 18 under par.

The 26 year old dropped back to 17 under after carding a bogey at the eighth but he remained Kitayama's closest challenger.
 
Harding was another stroke behind Pavon in third, one ahead of the group containing defending champion Dylan Frittelli.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KITAYAMA, KurtUSA18-20
T2S, ChikkarangappaIND18-18
T2PAVON, MatthieuFRA18-18
4HARDING, JustinRSA18-17
T5FRITTELLI, DylanRSA18-16
T5KAWAMURA, MasahiroJPN18-16

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