On a day when Scott Jamieson got himself in the mix with a 66 in the penultimate circuit at Al Mouj in Muscat before having to settle for a top-ten finish, Kitayama battled back manfully from a potentially-damaging quadruple-bogey 8 to secure his second title triumph of the campaign.
Closing rounds of 71 and 70 for a seven-under-par 281 total left him a shot ahead of four players – Spaniard Jorge Campillo, Clemet Sordet of France, German Max Kieffer and Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay.
“It feels great to win,” said Kitayama of a success that lifted him into fourth place in the Race to Dubai behind Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter and Richard Sterne. “My comeback this morning [he got back on track with an eagle and six birdies] helped set up this final round. I was back in contention and with it being continuous rounds it helped me cruise into the next one.”
The 26-year-old Californian made the breakthrough on the circuit when winning the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open in December before compatriots David Lipsky (Alfred Dunhill Championship), Bryson DeChambeau (Omega Dubai Desert Classic) and Dustin Johnson (Saudi International and WGC-Mexico Championship) all added victories.
“This one feels really good,” added Kitayama. “When I won the first one I was playing really well and it felt like it was coming. This week, coming in off three missed cuts, not having good weekends in Abu Dhabi and Dubai this felt like a real grind, especially after the start of the third round, so it feels great after going through that.”
Jamieson carded eight birdies in the third round but could only manage one in the final circuit. Even then, he shared the lead early on and was still in the title hunt before dropping back-to-back shots at the 16th and 17th, three-putting on both occasions.
A closing 75 left the Florida-based Scot in joint ninth – his third top-15 finish in five events and, sitting 27th in the Race to Dubai, he is on course to have his card for next season wrapped up a lot sooner than last year.
So, too, is David Drysdale, who sits 14th in the rankings despite undoing some of his good work by dropping three shots in the final three holes to finish joint 23rd.
It was a similar story for Bob MacIntyre, the only other Scot to make the cut. After going 69 holes without a double-bogey in testing conditions, the left-hander then had two in a row before also finishing with a bogey to slip from inside the top 20 to joint 45th.
On the LET, Dutchwoman Anne Van Dam cemented her place as one of the current automatic qualifiers for the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in September by winning the Canberra Women’s Classic.
It was the 23-year-old’s third title triumph on the circuit in the past six months and fourth overall, leaving her in a promising position to be on the team that will be trying to win the trophy back under Catriona Matthew’s captaincy in Perthshire.
Producing her best performance for a long time, Carly Booth finished fourth, a last-hole birdie in a closing 70 seeing her edge ahead of another Solheim Cup hopeful, Swede Madelene Sagstrom.
On the LPGA, Korea’s Sung Hyun Park won the HSBC Women’s World Championship after firing a closing eight-under 64 at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. The effort secured a two-shot success.