World number two Jon Rahm kept his hopes of winning the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play alive with a convincing victory on day two in Austin.
Rahm, who has won three strokeplay events on the PGA Tour this season, suffered a surprise defeat to Rickie Fowler in group two on Wednesday.
But the former US Open champion bounced back to beat Keith Mitchell on Thursday, winning 4&3 in windy conditions at Austin Country Club after making an eagle and five birdies.
“I think the biggest difference was on the greens,” Rahm told Golf Channel.
“I started off good yesterday but on 11, 12 and 14 had three putts and that’s why I lost those holes. That’s why I went from having a two-hole lead to going down quickly.
“Today I played pretty similar, not many mistakes tee to green and I was able to capitalise on a couple of putts.”
Rahm will face former BMW PGA Championship winner Billy Horschel in the final round of group matches on Friday and said: “Not many pairings are going to have more electricity on the course than me and Billy combined so it should be a good one.
“I’m going to have to get the win tomorrow.”
Kitayama, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this month, defeated South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout 2&1 for his first win of the week.
Andrew Putnam is in charge of group seven after claiming his second straight win, the 56th seed beating New Zealand’s Ryan Fox 2&1.