Adilson Da Silva weathered the wind and the whirlwind that was Jared Harvey’s charge to win the R600,000 Sun City Challenge by one stroke on Friday.
He carded a two-under-par 70 for his closing round on the Lost City Golf Course to hold off Harvey’s brilliant five-under-par 67, and that gave Da Silva his 12th Sunshine Tour victory and moved him to 14th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
In the end, it was a brilliant approach shot to the heart of the green on the 485-metre par-five 18th which secured the victory for the 41-year-old Brazilian who now lives in Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal.
“That was maybe the best shot I played all week,” he said. “I choked down on a four-iron, and I aimed left because of the threat of the water on the right. With the wind coming from the left, it came off the club perfectly.”
Even so, he had 30 feet of putting left, and he pushed his first one about two feet past to leave himself with a nervy little knee-trembler for the win.
In fact, the trembling started for Da Silva as early as the 14th, where he made his second bogey of the day, while Harvey ahead of him had made birdie on 15 to move to within one stroke.
“The wind was everywhere out there, and those bogeys came simply from not knowing which club to use,” said Da Silva.
Add that to the fact that Da Silva finds the Lost City a very difficult layout anyway. “There are so many holes where you’re hitting uphill, or downhill, and then there are a lot of the par-fours here where I need a long iron in,” he said.
Harvey, who has two wins on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour to his credit, but has yet to break through on the Sunshine Tour, had no such problems. He’s long off the tee, and he got the bit between his teeth after the turn when he made birdie on 10 and then an eagle three on the 533-metre 11th.
On a day when only six players of the 46 broke par on the closing nine, the 24-year-old Harvey charged home in five-under-par 31 and set a target that made a veteran like Da Silva tremble while trying to close the deal.
In the end, it was Da Silva’s mental strength that got him through the tight spot. “I’ve been working really hard on the mental side of the game,” he said. “I know my swing is good thanks to my coach John Dixon, but the work I’ve been doing with my mental coach Dave Beattie is starting to make a difference.”
He’s won on the Sunshine Tour every year since 2009, and only last year did that list include just a single victory for the year. Midway through 2013, he already has two Sunshine Tour titles to his name.
There will be more.