East London – Brazilian Adilson da Silva rediscovered his putting touch to take a three-stroke lead Friday after two rounds of the Africa Open.
He completed a 10-under-par first round of 62 early Friday for a four-stroke lead over South African Jaco van Zyl, with the late finish caused by a three-hour delay when 30-kilometre-an-hour winds started to move balls on greens.
The Brazilian returned to the 6066-metre East London Golf Club course soon after and some excellent putting helped him to a four-under 68, with Van Zyl shooting a 67 to retain second place.
Da Silva, a diminutive 41-year-old South Africa-based regular on the domestic Sunshine Tour, dreams of representing Brazil at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
But his more immediate target is a first European Tour victory Sunday in this Indian Ocean town, as the foreign contingent seek to end a South African stranglehold on the Africa Open since its inception five years ago.
Shaun Norris and Retief Goosen won the first two editions, and Major winners Louis Oosthuizen (twice) and Charl Schwartzel have topped the leaderboard since it become a co-sanctioned European Tour-Sunshine Tour event three years ago.
The wind which wreaked first-day havoc in the one-million-euro ($1.3m) tournament was milder Friday although rain brought a measure of midday discomfort for Da Silva among others.
Da Silva had three birdies and one bogey on his first nine and two birdies on the second and said later he owed the four-under 68 to good reading by him and his caddie of tricky, sloping greens.
“My putting, which has been letting me down lately, suddenly came alive. I had about 24 putts which makes it one of my best rounds as I was averaging 32 putts in Asia last year,” said the Brazilian.