Adilson Da Silva, the Brazil-born South African resident who hits the golf ball straighter than just about anyone else in the game, kept his hopes of finishing No 1 on the 2023 Legends Tour with a second straight 67 on day two of the season-ending MCB Tour Championship at Constance Belle Mare Plage. GRANT WINTER reports from Mauritius.
The 51-year-old’s 10-under-par aggregate of 134 on the superb Legends course sees him just one off the lead held by Robert Coles of England and Sweden’s Michael Jonzon going into Sunday’s final round in this $1-million tournament.
England’s Peter Baker, with three wins this year, tops the 2023 Order of Merit with Da Silva, who has won four times, hot on his heels. No other player is in contention for the No 1 spot so Sunday will be a straight shootout between the two players for top honours.
Baker also shot 67 on Saturday to be alongside Da Silva on 134, with Michael Long of New Zealand and Peter Fowler of Australia also on 10 under.
Baker is marginally ahead of Da Silva in the points race because he has had more second-place finishes than his rival. But if the boy from Brazil should win for a fifth time this year, and Baker drops a few spots down the leaderboard on Sunday, he could well top the Order of Merit.
Since joining the Legends Tour aged 50 last year Da Silva has been a sensation, winning the Staysure British PGA in England last year en route to Rookie of the Year honours.
And the birdie-smashing pro who lives in Ballito, KZN, has kept up the great golf this year with victories in Austria, Switzerland, France and, last week, Vietnam.
“Today was steady with a handful of birdies and no bogeys. I did miss a couple of makeable putts but I’m in a good space mentally,” said Da Silva, who hit a brilliant three-wood approach onto the green at the par five and two-putted for a four to post his final birdie of the day.
It’s an intimidating hole with plenty of water on the right of the fairway as well as left of the green. No room for error but Da Silva was bang on line with both tee-shot and his second. In fact he was never in trouble all day long on a course where water comes into play on all but one of the 18 holes so to be dead accurate like he is is a big plus.
Besides the contest for Order of Merit honours, there is also the equivalent of R3-million going to the winner on Sunday so, money-wise, there is plenty at stake.
South Africa’s James Kingston, who topped the 2022 Legends Tour Order of Merit, is not completely out of this week’s victory chase but with a 36-hole score of 138 after a pair of 69s he will need a really low number in the final round to pull off the win.
Compatriot Chris Willaims played well Saturday to shoot 68 to be on 139 and inside the top 20.
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