Kurt Kitayama surged into the top five on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai Rankings after securing his second win of the season with a sensational comeback at the 2019 Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf.
The 26 year old, who has now won twice in just 11 starts, came into the final round three shots behind Italian Fabrizio Zanotti but steadily played his way through the first 15 holes at level par while those around him were struggling to cope with the tricky conditions along the coast. The American then posted back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 before making a par at the last to snatch the title after Zanotti, Maximillian Kieffer and Clement Sordet had all dropped shots on the homeward stretch. With the victory, Kitayama collects 460 Race to Dubai points which moves him up to fourth on the Rankings with 1256.6 points for the season.
“It feels pretty good to get the win,” said Kitayama after playing a marathon Sunday of 33 holes following Friday’s severe weather delay. “The comeback in the third round definitely helped me going into the final round and to get back in contention. With it being a continuous round kind of helped me cruise into the next one.
“I was watching the leaderboard to know where I was, especially coming down the stretch and when you take the lead you want to know where everyone else is and where in the course they are and see what holes you have coming up and you set up yourself for that.
“This win feels really good because when I won my first title I was playing really well so I felt it was coming, this week, however, I came here after three missed cuts and I did not have good weekends in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. So I had to grind through this, especially after the bunker shot, so it feels great to just grind through all that.”
Zanotti, Kieffer, Clement Sordet and Jorge Campillo all shared second place in the Sultanate, just one shot behind Kitayama. The quartet of players all pick up 182.5 Race to Dubai points which moves Zanotti from 50th to 24th while Kieffer, Sordet and Campillo all climb into the prestigious Race to Dubai top 50.
Peter Hanson also made significant strides in the Rankings after a tied sixth finish alongside Thomas Pieters and Joachim B. Hansen. The trio of player get their hands on 82.7 points which sees Sweden’s Hanson leapfrog from 221st to 106th on the Rankings while Pieters moves up six places to 32nd and Hansen edges himself into the top 50 in 47th position.
Scott Jamieson, Ashley Chesters and Chris Paisley finished one further back to complete the top ten in Muscat. Chesters jumps up to 66th from 102nd while fellow countryman Paisley moves up 27 places to 54th. Scotsman Jamieson strengthens his place in the top 50 by jumping from 30th to 27th.
The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai Rankings will contest the season-ending US$8million DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai from November 21-24 where US$3 million will be up for grabs for the winner, making it the richest prize in world golf.