Strong winds played havoc with the second round of the $1.75 million Oman Open in Muscat, but UNLV alum Kurt Kitayama hasn’t been blown off course from winning his second European Tour event.
The California native remains in the lead despite only playing 13 holes of his second round. Kitayama is on 6-under-par in a tie with Denmark’s Joachim B. Hansen, with many in the field yet to start their second rounds.
A desert storm forced suspension of play at 11:38 a.m. local time when winds gusted between 30-40 mph. Kitayama, who still makes his home in Las Vegas, was level par for his round with three birdies and three bogeys when play was suspended. Hansen was 4-under through 16 holes.
“There were light winds in the morning coming from the north-east and suddenly, at approximately 11:00, we experienced a sandstorm with winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour blowing from the south-west, with gusts between 30 and 40 MPH,” tournament director Miguel Vidaor said.
“Widespread movement of balls on the front-nine greens occurred at 11:38, which is when play was suspended. We continued to monitor the situation, but the wind did not subside in the afternoon and the decision was made to suspend play for the day. We will resume the second round at (9:40 p.m. Friday Eastern Time).”
Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Japan’s Yusaku Miyazato share third place despite being unable to start their second rounds.
Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer was one of only 11 players to complete the second round. He added a 2-under 70 to his opening 69 to jump into a share of third on 5-under.
“It’s not playing very easy,” said Kieffer, who is chasing his first European Tour win. “It was windy and getting gusty too.
“The greens are quite exposed, so you have to take the slope and the wind into account. Putts can be quite difficult into a crosswind.”
Kitayama earned his card for this year’s European Tour through the Qualifying School. He ensured playing rights for the remainder of this season and 2020 when he won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in his third start. He’s hoping to make it two out of 10 this week.