Adilson flying high in East London
The wind may have relented on day two of the Africa Open Golf Challenge at East London Golf Club on Friday, but Adilson da Silva’s pursuit of birdies did not, as he followed a 10-under opening round of 62 with a convincing second-round 68 to reach 14 under par and a three-stroke lead over Jaco van Zyl (67).
Englishman John Parry’s late birdie charge secured a 66 and sole possession of third place on 10 under, while the South African duo of Oliver Bekker and Darren Fichardt each fired scores of 67 to share fourth place on eight-under.
Portugal’s Ricardo Santos (66) and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy (67) lie a further stroke adrift in a share of sixth.
After a wind delay of nearly three hours on day one, Da Silva was only able to complete nine holes.
However, he did so in six under par, and enjoyed an overnight share of the lead with Van Zyl, who had earlier posted a 66.
The Brazilian resumed this morning at 7am on the tenth hole, and closed out his round emphatically with an eagle and two birdies in the final four holes to sign for a bogey-free round of 62 – good enough for a four-stroke lead at the time.
Half an hour later, he was at it again as he started his second round with three birdies in his first seven holes, and posted an outward nine of 33.
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Two further birdies without a blemish guided him to an impressive 68, and a total of eight under par for his 27 holes on the day.
“The pins today were tucked away, so there are some holes that you can attack, but you must be balanced,” the 41 year-old explained.
“I only went for it when I had the chance. Part of why I’ve done well for the last two days is that I’ve just tried to do my thing, because I am swinging well and my putting has come back to help the situation. I feel quite focused at the moment.”
With a three-stroke advantage over second place, Da Silva admitted that he might find it tough not to get carried away with his lead.
“It’s pretty hard not to think ahead,” he conceded. “I just have to keep doing my thing and forget what’s happening around me. That’s what you have to do. If I can continue to play the way I have been then I’ll be very happy, and that comes from hitting one shot at a time.”
After completing his first round on day one, Van Zyl began with a bogey on his opening hole, and had been cut nine shots adrift by that stage.
A run of four birdies in five holes regained his momentum, but bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes meant he had to settle for an opening nine of 36.
However, a run of four successive birdies from the 12th hole steered the 33 year-old to a 67 and 11 under par for the tournament.
“I didn’t get off to a good start, bogeying the first. And then I got a couple of nice birdies in there, and I just tried to push a little bit and made bogey on eight and nine.
"You don’t want the gap to get too big. I was nine-under-par and still five back at that stage, so I still needed to do quite a bit and definitely had to push a bit.
“But I played nicely on those four holes coming home. I executed the shots perfectly and made a couple of putts. In fact on 16 I also hit a quality shot, but it just spun a little too much,” he said.
The Lonehill resident’s reward is being paired with the diminutive Brazilian in the final group of a co-sanctioned event, and Van Zyl is relishing the prospect of playing with the Sunshine Tour veteran.
“You’re out here to win an event and you need to play nicely. On the European and Sunshine Tours no one is going to lay down and give it to you, so you’ve got to go out and work for it,” Van Zyl cautioned.
“But I know Adilson very well. He’s a super-nice guy and very laid back, so we’re going to have a fun day tomorrow on the golf course,” he added.