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Monday, 03 December 2018
Kurt Kitayama  (Getty Images)
Kurt Kitayama (Getty Images)
American Kurt Kitayama put himself in the limelight after claiming his maiden European Tour title on just his third start with a two-stroke victory at the tri-sanctioned Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita, but what has the American's journey in golf been? We take a look...
 
The 25 year old was one of only seven players to play all 252 holes in the three stages of the gruelling European Tour Qualifying School last month to earn his card for the 2019 season.
 
However, it did not take long for Kitayama to get in the winners' circle after recording a 20-under-par total at the Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita, two shots clear of S Chikkarangappa and Matthieu Pavon.
 
"I’m just so proud, really happy," he said after his victory in Mauritius. "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.

"I was aware a little bit of what was going on, 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."
 
Kitayama has travelled all over the globe in recent years, playing the Web.com Tour for the 2017 season and the Asian Tour during the last campaign with mixed results.
 
He made just three top 25 finishes from 20 events in 2017, with his best performance coming at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club where he finished tied for 11th.
 
Last season on the Asian Tour proved to be more consistent for the American, with three top-five finishes including a tied for second at the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup in Japan in September.
 
However, he is looking to end 2018 on a high and consolidate on his lofty second place in the early stages of the 2019 Race to Dubai Standings.

What a great year - Kurt Kitayama 

In January, Kitayama was ranked 1,187th in the Officail World Golf Rankings but after his victory, will move inside the world's top 200 players to 198th in the standings.
 
"What a great year. I still have two more events, but to win on one of the last events of the year is just great.
 
"It’s been a different journey for me (going from Web.com 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."
 
His impressive display in Mauritius has not gone unnoticed, where he hit an eagle and 23 birdies in his 268-shot total, and the Chico native could be a player to watch out for in the future.

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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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