DURBAN – The cream rose to the top of the Wild Coast Challenge in Port Edward yesterday, as grim weather continued to throw a spanner in the works of the three-day event.
The first round had to be finished yesterday morning, and it was popular Brazilian Adilson da Silva who finished strongly to shoot up to seven-under, 63, after the first round. Overnight pace-setter Martin Rohwer was a shot behind on a six-under 64, but he then had a long wait as the 60-man field rearranged itself for the second round.
There were other big names who snuck up the leaderboard in the morning serenity, including the big-hitting Daniel van Tonder (64), Jacques Blaauw (65) and Jaco Prinsloo, who also carded a five-under 65.
Vaughn Groenewald shot a three-under 67 in his opening round, and had a hot round going in the afternoon, with five birdies in his first 10 holes. Da Silva, meanwhile, was also amongst the early starters in the afternoon, and he picked up where he left off - especially with the flat stick.
Though only nine holes were possible before the light again closed in, the veteran helped himself to five birdies, with his only blip at the long, par-five second.
That early error was corrected soon enough, as an excellent wedge at the 120m third hole set up his first birdie of the day, followed by another at the demanding, par-four fifth hole.
Da Silva was in the zone, and tucked into the long seventh, before closing his day with two more birdies at the eighth and ninth, to finish his outward nine on four-under 31.
That left him at 11-under for the tournament, at the halfway stage of his tournament.
He will be hoping that he can take advantage of the opportunities on the back nine, and post a stiff target for the challengers lurking behind him.
Much like yesterday, today looks to be a very long day for the players at the Wild Coast Country Club. Weather permitting, play is scheduled to commence at 6:50am, when things are still rather fresh.
The second round cut is projected to be at two-under par, and there is work for some players to do. The defending champion, Oliver Bekker signed for a one-under 69 in his first round, and will need to collect a few shots in his second round, if he is to put up a proper defence of his title.
Another point of interest for what has been a most challenging week down the South Coast will be the logistics of the final round. Most players would have banked on a Friday afternoon finish, and a flight back to Joburg and beyond in the evening.
Now, however, with several second rounds yet to even commence, it is very likely that there will be a scramble for Friday night accommodation, and some very creative rearranging of transport for some point on Saturday.
Whatever happens, the 2018 Wild Coast Challenge will not be quickly forgotten.
The leading scores are:
-11 A da Silva (after nine second round holes)
-8 V Groenewald (10 ), J Blaauw (10), H du Plessis (9)
-7 D Keun (10), W Dingle (10), D van Tonder (9), F van Vuuren (9)