EAST LONDON, South Africa -- Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva made light work of a 28-hole day on Friday to storm into a three-shot lead over local favorite Jaco Van Zyl at the halfway stage of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club.
Da Silva, a 10-time winner on southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour, began the day one shot behind overnight leader Van Zyl after only completing eight holes on a wind-delayed first day. But he quickly found the rhythm he had exhibited on Thursday in carding five birdies over the first six holes.
An impeccable display of short-game skill saw the 41-year-old sign for a career-best first round thanks to an eagle at the long 15th after chipping in from off the green. Back-to-back birdies over the closing two holes helping the Natal resident to a stunning 10-under-par 62 – just one off Richard Sterne’s course record.
He refused to let up in his second 18, too, as some excellent putting led to five birdies with his first and only bogey of the tournament thus far at the par-4 11th not disrupting an otherwise wholly impressive 4-under 68.
Leading the way at 14 under par heading into the weekend, Da Silva attributed much of his success in and around East London’s greens to caddie Frankie Chirute and said a good draw could also have contributed to his fine first 36 holes.
“I got a good break yesterday,” he said. “It was extremely hard out there for the morning field, and then I got the break and I just started making some putts. I somehow just felt the pace, and my caddie Frankie and I are reading the greens very well.
“My putting has been letting me down lately, and it just came alive. I must have had 23, 24 putts, which must make it my best round in putting,” he explained. “I was averaging 32 putts a round in Asia last year.
“A win on Sunday would be a huge breakthrough for me; it would effectively give me a two year exemption in Europe and I would gain a lot of world ranking points.”
Van Zyl, who opened with a 6-under 66, was among the later starters on South Africa’s Eastern Cape and impressed once again as a quartet of birdies from the 12th helped the Johannesburg resident to a 5-under 67 on Friday to stay within touching distance of the leader.
One further back with 36 holes to play was 2012 European Q-School winner John Parry, who shot a joint best-of-the-day 66 on Friday.