Friday, December 1, 2023

By Mark Sampson

The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita dawned with a few hopefuls in the running. It was Kurt Kitayama and Justin Harding leading the pack at 16 under followed by Kawamura, Pavon and Chikkarangappa S three adrift. A number of players came in at four under to move up the leader board but it was South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli who made a big move down the stretch. After turning at two-under-par he birdied holes 12 through 15 and added another on the 18th to post a tally of 16 under-par. Frenchman Matthieu Pavon started well with five birdies on his first seven holes. Unfortunately, a bogey followed to slow the momentum with another on the 15th. It was too little too late for Pavon who signed for a five-under-par 67 and 18 under for the tournament. Day one’s leader Chikkarangappa S from India had a blemish free round of five birdies leaving him in a tie with Pavon. 3rd day’s low scorer Justin Harding who started the day leading with Kitayama could not duplicate his stellar golf from Saturday. Birdies on two and four were cancelled out by two bogeys on the front nine and on the back nine two birdies and one bogey were recorded. This left him on 17 under-par for the tournament one behind Pavon and Chikkarangappa S. The day however belonged to American Kurt Kitayama with solid golf on his front nine including a birdie, eagle, birdie flourish. Down the stretch he made some good up-and-downs until the 16th. Overshooting his first putt he missed the return and with that dropped to 19-under to halve his two-shot lead on Pavon and Chikkarangappa S. A well stuck iron into the par three 17th followed by a good putt saw him return to 20 under and a two-shot lead coming down the 18th. Just off the green for two he was unable to birdie the hole but par was more than sufficient to secure his maiden win. In his rookie year on the European tour Kurt Kitayama is a name to look out for.



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