Brazil’s Adilson da Silva was all smiles after his team sailed through to the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup this week, which made his early hold on third place at Euphoria Golf Estate that much more enjoyable.
Playing in the first tournament of the Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung, Brazil’s top golfer shot a second-round 69 on Thursday to move within three shots of leader Danie van Tonder.
The 42-year-old felt the World Cup fever that has gripped Brazil and was visibly excited about the prospect of winning in South Africa while his national soccer team competed.
“It would be very nice to win this week with the World Cup happening in Brazil. I like this course and I’ve been keeping it in play, so I feel like I still have a chance,” he said.
“We are a soccer nation and this World Cup is the biggest thing for us. It’s nice to see it in your home country and we are proud of the work they’ve done, because there was so much bad publicity before the tournament, but in every game I’ve seen the pitches are looking absolutely perfect and the people are having fun.”
The emotion was dialled up off the course, but on the Annika Sorenstam-designed track it was all focus from Da Silva, who shot 69 on Thursday for sole third at the close of the morning session.
“I would love to go there now, because there is such a good vibe all over Brazil. The whole country has stopped and everybody is having so much fun, which is awesome to see. But for now I have to stay in the moment and try to sink some more putts!” he joked.
The indomitable Van Tonder carded his second 67 of the week for a 10-under-par total on Thursday. He led the morning field by two shots and looked ready to pick up his second win of the season.
“No bogeys today and five birdies, so I’m happy. I’m just trying to be consistent, so I’ll go out there tomorrow and try to shoot another low score,” he said.
Ulrich van den Berg birdied the final two holes of his round for a five-under-par 67 and sole second on eight-under. The 2013 BMG Classic winner has four top-10 finishes already this year and he could easily take the victory this week.