BEAU CHAMP, Mauritius – Kurt Kitayama claimed his first European Tour win at the Mauritius Open on Sunday as he closed with a 4-under 68 for a 2-shot victory.
Kitayama's first European title came in just his third tournament as the American held off Chikkarangappa S and Matthieu Pavon, who both carded 67s to tie for second.
Defending champion Dylan Frittelli finished strongly, shooting 65 to share fifth place. Justin Harding, tied for the lead with Kitayama overnight, was a shot ahead of him in fourth.
Kitayama had an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in his final round at Four Seasons Golf Course, going birdie-eagle-birdie from Nos. 3-5 to pull ahead. He had to hold his nerve, though, after his second dropped shot on No. 16 saw his lead cut to just a shot and gave Chikkarangappa and Pavon a chance.
Kitayama recovered to finish birdie-par for a breakthrough win after only coming through qualifying school last month.
''I'm just so proud, really happy,'' said Kitayama, who finished on 20-under 268 overall. ''It's an unbelievable moment for me. I'm just so happy I was able to pull it off.''
The 25-year-old Kitayama said earlier in the tournament he would reconsider staying on the European Tour at the end of the year, but he may have made his mind up to continue after Sunday's success.
''This whole year has been, well, what a great year,'' he said. ''I still have two more events but to win on one of the last events of the year is just great.
''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.''