Adilson da Silva (Getty Images)
Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva will take a three shot advantage into the weekend of the Africa Open after a brilliant second day display at East London Golf Club.
The 41 year old, a regular on the co-sanctioning Sunshine Tour, had birdied five of his first six holes on Thursday, but after a lengthy delay caused by strong winds was only able to par the next two before play was halted for the day.
One behind clubhouse leader Jaco Van Zyl overnight, Da Silva birdied the ninth on his return, then chipped in for eagle at the long 15th and finished with back-to-back birdies - the latter also coming from off the green - for a sensational ten under par 62 and four shot lead.
The round was the best of his professional career, but Da Silva proved it was no fluke as he followed it with a second round 68 after a quick turnaround.
He birdied the short tenth - his second - then bogeyed the 11th, but picked up further shots at the 13th and 15th - the latter after chipping to three feet.
A 15 foot birdie putt at the long first and another gain at the seventh gave him a 14 under par halfway total and commanding six shot clubhouse lead, although Van Zyl reduced the gap to three with a 67.
Afterwards Da Silva admitted that he may have been on the right side of the draw as Thursday’s morning starters had to face the strongest gusts, which eventually started to move balls on the greens.
“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 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. I was averaging 32 putts a round in Asia last year.”
Van Zyl was among the last players out in the second round, and having been usurped as leader lost further ground with a bogey at the first.
Still chasing a maiden European Tour title after 12 top-ten finishes, Van Zyl quickly rediscovered his touch with four birdies in five holes from the third, only to bogey the eighth and ninth to turn in a level par 36.
However, four consecutive birdies from the 12th moved him into second place at halfway.
“You don’t want the gap to get too big,” said Van Zyl. “I was nine under par and still five back at one stage, so I still needed to do quite a bit and I decided to push. 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.”
England’s John Parry carded a 66 to lie third on ten under, with South African Darren Fichardt fourth on eight under after a second round 67; the Saint Omer Open winner pleased to rediscover his best form on home soil.
“For some reason over the holidays my swing went so I’ve been trying to find that,” he said. “I’ve found something since coming home from the Desert Swing and now today it was there for me.
“It’s still early days and there is plenty of golf yet to come. I feel very comfortable at home after being the Middle East for the last three weeks.
“My record in East London is pretty good, and in 2009 I lost to Retief Goosen in a play-off. I like this tournament and wouldn’t mind another good result here.”
In-form Ricardo Santos was a shot further back on seven under; the Portuguese star - 11th on The Race to Dubai after three top-ten finishes in his first five events of the season - shot a 66 which included a 20 foot eagle putt at the par five first.
“I’ve played well over the last four weeks,” said the 30 year old.
“It’s really nice and I feel comfortable with my game and confident. I just try to do my best on every shot and see what happens from there.
“It’s always good when you’re in contention, especially when you missed the cut a year before.”