American rising star Kurt Kitayama continued to showcase his huge potential, and the beauty of the Muscat coastline, as he rallied from seven shots behind on a spectacular final day at Al Mouj Golf to claim an unexpected victory at the Oman Open.
The venue, laid out against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean, proved to be a fitting host for a thrilling contest, in which the 26-year-old rookie claimed his second win in just eleven starts on the European Tour.
Kitayama, who finished a shot clear of Spaniard Jorge Campillo, German Maximilian Kieffer, Frenchman Clément Sordet and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti was quick to sing the praises of the Greg Norman-designed test following his victory, highlighting the phenomenal work that Golf Course Superintendent Steve Johnson had done in presenting the course in world-class condition.
‘’This is one of the best-conditioned courses I have ever played,’’ he commented. ‘’The greens roll so pure and with the mountains and the ocean as the setting it’s a very special place to take home the trophy.’’
The American was far from the only player to highlight the quality and condition of Oman’s first links course, which is enjoying its second consecutive season as host venue to the Sultanate’s leading golf event following a successful stretch as the home of the European Challenge Tour’s Grand Final.
The star-studded field was in unanimous approval about the standard of the coastal layout, with a ‘gem in the Middle East’ and ‘one of the best courses we play all year’ just two of the many compliments showered upon General Manager Mubarak Hill and his team throughout the week.
Reflecting on the tournament Mubarak Hill commented: ‘’The hard work and dedication of all our team, year-on-year, to deliver a world-class layout in superb condition continues to blow me away.’’
‘’We are delighted to have again welcomed Europe’s finest golfers to showcase Al Mouj Golf’s fantastic offering on the world stage, and we would like to offer Kurt Kitayama our heartfelt congratulations on his well-deserved victory.’’
Situated between the Indian Ocean and the Hajar Mountains, just minutes from the heart of Muscat, Al Mouj Golf has increasingly cemented its place as one the Middle East’s finest links courses in recent years. It is this reputation that drew a truly international field to the second season of the European Tour sanctioned event, with ten countries represented in the top 11.