Brazil-born Adilson Da Silva, South Africa’s adopted golfing son, kept his hopes alive of finishing No 1 on the 2023 Legends Tour by shooting a five-under-par first round 67 in the season-ending $1-million MCB Tour Championship on the Legends Course at Constance Belle Mare Plage Friday. GRANT WINTER reports from Mauritius.
England’s Peter Baker is currently No 1 on the 2023 Order of Merit with 51-year-old Da Silva, the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2022, hot on his heels in second place, with no one else in with a chance of ending the year on top.
Da Silva has won four times on Tour this year, which included victory in Vietnam last week, while Baker has three wins to his credit but more second-place finishes than the South African. He, too, posted a 67 Friday playing alongside Da Silva so it’s very much ‘game on’ with the pair of them three off the first-round lead.
Da Silva started the day impressively with four straight birdies.
“The putter was hot and I holed from 15 feet, six feet, two feet and eight feet to quickly go four under,” he said. “Then it dried up and I just couldn’t convert the birdies although I was hitting my approaches close and striking the ball really well. Then I missed a tap-in par at the par-three 11th to three-putt and make bogey.”
Now he was only three under but birdies at the par-four 16th and par-five closing hole saw him finish the day at five under and one off the day one pace.
“I guess I putted well in patches but at least I’m in the hunt and feeling confident,” said the KZN-based professional.
Da Silva and Baker were paired together, with South Africa’s James Kingston and Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez, third and fourth in the Order of Merit, playing in the group just ahead of them.
The 58-year-old Kingston, who has enjoyed a handful of golden years on the Legends Tour and won the Order of Merit last year, was two over par through nine holes on Friday, but a hot five-birdie back nine saw hit back to sign for a 69 and he is once again in contention.
With son Christopher on the bag, Kingston in a strong finish rolled in an 18-footer for a birdie two at the spectacular par-three 17th before hitting two big shots next to the green at the par-five 18th and chipping and putting for a four to pick up another shot.
“A bad lie and a stupid error cost me early on but thankfully I came back strongly as the round progressed,” said the former South African Open champion.
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