Kurt Kitayama holds two-shot lead after second-round 65 in Mauritius
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 30/11/18 5:06pm
Kurt Kitayama will take a two-stroke lead into the weekend of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open after he fired a second consecutive 65 at Anahita.
Kitayama, who earned his European Tour card with a tie for third place in the Final Stage of Qualifying School earlier this month, defied the hot and humid conditions to make nine birdies as he hit the top of the leaderboard on 14 under par.
The American kept a bogey off his card on day one and got off to the ideal start on Friday morning with a birdie at the first, although he then admitted to a "little blunder" at the long second, where he ran up a double-bogey seven.
But he responded with four consecutive birdies before putting together a tidy run of six pars, and he then picked up further shots at four of the final six holes to set the early clubhouse target which he maintained for the remainder of the round.
"I started with a birdie and then just had a little blunder at two," he said. "I got back on track right after so it was nice to bounce back after a double. I'm driving it well which is making it a lot easier. It's a pretty big advantage to be able to hit shorter irons in.
"I'm feeling pretty comfortable, and I'll stay the same over the weekend, still be aggressive. It's gone well so far so don't want to switch things up too much."
Seenappa Chikkarangappa started at the 10th and was one over for his round after a disappointing back-nine 37, but he roared back into contention with five straight birdies from the first before another at nine capped a 68 which earned him outright second on 12 under.
French duo Victor Perez (69) and Matthieu Pavon (66) are one stroke further off the pace, while another Q School graduate, Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, moved smoothly to 10 under with an eight-birdie 65.
England's Lee Slattery lies six shots off the lead following a 69 that featured an eagle and three birdies, while four-time major champion and course-designer Ernie Els added a 70 to his opening 69 to make it safely through to the weekend on five under.