Kurt Kitayama of the United States shot his second seven-under-par 65 in two days to take control at the halfway stage of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on Friday.
The 25-year-old started where he left off, making a birdie at the first. However, he dropped shots for the first time in the tournament, making a double-bogey at the par-five 2nd.
Undeterred, Kitayama displayed plenty of resolve and skill to come back with four consecutive birdies in his subsequent four holes at the Four Seasons Golf Club, Mauritius at Anahita.
Kitayama, who is enjoying a successful season on the Asian Tour after making his mark at this year’s Qualifying School, sunk four more birdies on his inward nine before signing for a 13-under-par 130 total at the event, tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
“I'm feeling pretty comfortable,” Kitayama said.
“I'll stay the same over the weekend and still be aggressive. It's gone well so far so don't want to switch things up too much.”
India’s Chikkarangappa S. is two shots behind after ending his day with a 68.
The wheels seemed to have fallen off for the 25-year-old Indian after consecutive bogeys on holes 14 and 15. However, he made a fantastic recovery after the turn by sinking five birdies in a row from holes 1 to 5.
RIGHT: Chikkarangappa trails Kitayama by two shots at the Mauritius Open. PHOTO: Warren Little/Getty Images.
Another birdie on 9 put him in lone second going into the weekend rounds.
Frenchmen Victor Perez and Matthieu Pavon shot 69 and 66 respectively to keep up the pace. They are three shots behind the leader, in tied-third.
Justin Harding made the cut for the first time at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
The South African hit some wild drives on his first 10 holes that led to three bogeys, but he managed to haul himself back into contention with four consecutive birdies from holes 2 to 5.
Harding finished the second day in tied-seventh, and he has an excellent opportunity to close the gap on leader Shubhankar Sharma in the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings race.
Sixty-five players made the cut, which was set at two-under-par 142.
Australian Travis Smyth narrowly missed the halfway cut after shooting rounds of 68 and 75.