Adilson storms clear at East London
Brazilian Adilson da Silva picked up from where he left off on Friday morning at East London Golf Club and closed out his opening round with an eagle and two birdies to post a 10-under score of 62 and assume a four-stroke lead of the Africa Open Golf Challenge.
Gale-force winds resulted in a suspension of play of nearly three hours on Thursday, and Da Silva, whose tee time was originally scheduled for 13:25, could only get through nine holes before play was abandoned due to bad light.
However, five birdies in his first eight holes had seen him soar up the leaderboard as the wind dropped off, and he’d already begun rolling a birdie putt at the ninth hole by the time the siren went.
Despite the noise, the ball never looked like missing and he enjoyed a share of the lead with Jaco van Zyl (66) overnight.
“I missed a little metre-and-a-half putt for birdie on seven too,” laughed Da Silva on Friday. “And then my putt on nine was on its way when the siren sounded to end play – and it went in for birdie!”
He was then able to keep it together when he began on Friday morning, and five consecutive pars ensured there was no loss of momentum.
Having patiently bided his time, he drove the advantage home as he carded an eagle at the par-five 15th and finished his round off in style with successive birdies at the 17th and 18th holes.
“I think we got an extremely good break from yesterday’s morning field. It was extremely hard out there, and we got that break and then I started making some putts,” the 41-year old said.
He added with a smile: “My chipping came along to the party today too, so that helps. I chipped in twice, once at 15 for eagle and then at 18 for birdie. At 18 it went all around the hole there!”
The diminutive Da Silva topped the Asian Tour rankings for driving accuracy in 2012, and it thus seems to make him a good fit for the narrow East London course.
However, he was in no doubt as to what the difference has been so far this week.
“I kept my tee shots very straight. I’m not a long hitter, but I kept it in play, which helped me a lot and gave me a lot of opportunities to go for the pins.
"But my putting has just come alive – I must have had 23 or 24 putts today. I feel comfortable, and I’ve just got to try and do the same again,” Da Silva said.