Odds are good you haven’t heard much about a kid named Kurt Kitayama.
He’s yet another American taking on the Brooks Koepka plan for golfing success.
Kitayama, a former golfer at UNLV, finished third at the European Tour’s Q-School (yes they still have one over there) and got himself a slot on the tour for this season.
This past week he got a huge victory in Oman, you could call it the Sandstorm Open because sandstorms kept wiping out play at some point for most of the tournament. If you think rain and wind is bad — try a sandstorm.
Kitayama was in the hunt early in Oman. He was just a shot back at the halfway mark but started with third round with a quadruple-bogey. He still managed to shoot 71 at Al Mouj Golf Club.
Kitayama was chasing the leaders all day Sunday and he was still two shots back with three holes to play but birdies on the 16th and 17th saw him sign for a 70 and get to seven under, a shot clear of Spaniard Jorge Campillo, German Maximilian Kieffer, Frenchman Clément Sordet and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti.
Kitayama came through all three stages of the Qualifying School to earn his rookie season and now has two wins in just 11 European Tour starts after his victory at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.
“This one feels really good because when I won the first one I was playing really well and it just felt like it was coming,” he said. “This week I came in off three missed cuts and not having good weekends in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It feels great to grind through all of that.
“The way we started that third round, I was like, ‘can we stop right now?’ It gave me a refresh and it was incredible coming back.”
What’s next for Kitayama?
His upside looks great and he’s got a lot to play for, including a possible Masters berth.