“I was happy with my score today, especially playing The Links. We couldn’t choose a better day to play than this one, so we were very fortunate with the weather,” he said.
The tournament plays out across three of Fancourt’s courses, with the 168 professionals playing one round at each of The Links, Montagu and Outeniqua. There is a 54-hole cut before the leading 65 and ties play a second and final round at the Montagu course, where Da Silva will look to secure his first victory of 2014.
“The conditions are perfect at all three courses, especially with the amount of rain they’ve received in the last few weeks. I like the layout of Montagu, but you still have to hit good shots, so tomorrow should be challenging, but it should also be fun,” he said.
The Brazilian who lives in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal has made one bogey in 54 holes and on Saturday carded a flawless 70 that left him two clear of Jean Hugo and Trevor Fisher Jnr.
“I’ve got a local caddie and we’ve been reading them pretty good,” said Da Silva. “In the last two tournaments I’ve been hitting the ball so well, but my putting has been off. This week something feels much better and I’m confident for tomorrow,” he said.
Hugo also tackled The Links in 70 blows on Saturday to bring up a three-way share of second on 12-under-par ahead of the cut. The 14-time Sunshine Tour champion last won in August 2013 and will be raring to go on Sunday.
“I played solidly out there and I’m hitting it nicely, so I’m hopeful for tomorrow. Anything can happen and I think Adilson is playing well, but with some good weather and low scoring it could be a fun day,” he said.
Fisher (left) parlayed a run of four consecutive birdies from the fourth to the seventh on Montagu into a five-under-par 67 to move into a share of second with Hugo. His fifth birdie of the day came at the 18th on a bogey-free day for him.
“It felt good,” said Fisher. “I got a bit of the rhythm going this week – it’s been on and off a bit lately. It’s always tough to win, so I just want to have the same feeling tomorrow that I had today, and if I win, then I win. But I’m definitely going to be putting my head down and trying my best out there.”
South African Open champion Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark is the other player in a share of third, and he too got a run of four successive birdies going on Montagu. His came from the 14th to the 17th, but he spoiled things somewhat when he dumped his approach on 18 into the water and took a bogey-six there. But three other birdies on his card saw him sign for a 66 and a climb of five paces on the leaderboard into contention.
Big Easy Tour graduate Francois Coetzee clocked in with a four-under-par 69 at The Links and was the first player in the clubhouse on an 11-under-par total. He was joined by Keith Horne, who shot 69 at Montagu for his share of fourth place.
“Today I played really well and kept it in play for the whole round,” said Coetzee. “I’m still quite new and this is my first time in contention at a big tournament, but I’ve been in contention at Big Easy events and that can only help. This week has been good so far and let’s hope for another good one tomorrow.”
Da Silva has every chance to start 2014 on a high note, but the final round at Montagu will tell all.
“I just have to try to keep doing what I have been doing,” he said. “I feel like I’m playing well, so I’m confident, and tomorrow I’ll try not to get ahead of myself and play each shot at a time.”