Da Silva hits the front at Africa Open
Last updated: 16th February 2013
Adilson da Silva dipped 10-under-par in his weather-interrupted first round and asserted his dominance at East London Golf Club with a second round 68 on Friday to take pole position in the €1-million Africa Open.
But he will have South African Jaco van Zyl breathing down his neck in Saturday's third round.
The Brazilian set the target at a lofty 14-under-par 130, but the first round pacesetter hauled himself into the chasing pack over the front nine and reeled in the Brazilian with a string of birdies from the 12th to the 15th.
Van Zyl closed three pars to close with an inspired five under 67, leaving Da Silva a mere three shot cushion.
Meanwhile John Parry, who collected four birdies on the back nine, finished with a birdie for a 66 that vaulted the Englishman to third on his own, just four shots off the pace.
South Africans Darren Fichardt and Oliver Bekker also moved into contention with 67 and lurk at eight under, one shot ahead of Portugal's Ricardo Santos, who got in touch with a 66 and a share of seventh alongside Frenchman Gregory Bourdy (67).
But the man to catch in Buffalo City this weekend could be the Brazilian number one.
Da Silva opened his campaign at the par-72 coastal layout with a string of five birdies in his opening six holes and a hot putter and some impressive chipping saw him hit the front with a chip-in eagle-three at the 15th and successive birdies at the two closing holes.
He rode a hot putter to five birdies in his second round, dropping his only shot in 36 holes at the former par-five 11th, which is playing as a par four for the tournament.
Da Silva said a sharp short game and former caddie, Frankie Chirute on the bag, is the key to his success thus far. "I am feeling the pace of the greens and Frankie and I are reading the greens very well," he said. "My putting let me down lately, and it just came alive again.
"I must have had 23, 24 putts, which must make it my best round in putting. I was averaging 32 putts a round in Asia last year."
The South Africans will have to step it up if they hope to stop the 10-time Sunshine Tour winner and continue the country's stranglehold on the Africa Open title because Da Silva would relishes nothing more than to become the first foreign winner of the tournament and add his name to an illustrious list of Major champions that have lifted the title in the last four years.
Two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen won in 2009, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel in 2010 and Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen, won the event in 2011 and 2012.
"It would be a huge breakthrough for me," said Da Silva. "A win on Sunday would effectively give me a two year exemption in Europe and I would gain a lot of world ranking points."
The cut, which fell at even par, left 77 players to challenge for a cut of the €1-million purse, including European Tour champions Thomas Aiken and Jbe' Kruger and multiple Sunshine Tour winners Keith Horne, Brandon Pieters and Doug McGuigan, who holed a hallelujah putt to make the weekend.
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