Kurt Kitayama carded a blemish-free 66 to hold a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Oman Open.
American Kitayama managed an eagle and four birdies to sit on top of the leaderboard at six under par, just ahead of Scott Jamieson and Yusaku Miyazato.
The 26-year-old – who claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Mauritius Open late last year – overcame windy conditions at Al Mouj Golf to set the early pace, thanks mainly to a hot putter.
He found the cup from 18 feet out on the green at the par-three eighth before sinking another long attempt at the 12th, securing him an impressive eagle at the 543-yard hole.
“Conditions were pretty tough so to be bogey free was really good,” he told the European Tour. “My putting was great, I had great speed. I made a few putts outside 10 feet so that was really nice.”
Low round of the day.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) February 28, 2019
Scotsman Jamieson had four birdies in his final seven holes as he and Miyazato – who reached six under before dropping a shot at the 15th – capitalised on early starts to set the pace.
A group of seven players sit on four under, including a trio of Frenchmen – Raphael Jacquelin, Alexander Levy and Adrien Saddier.
They are joined by Belgian Thomas Pieters, Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, Englishman David Horsey and Scott Vincent from Zimbabwe.