Brilliant Adilson tames Sun City to win Nashua Challenge

Adilson Da Silva turned in the round of his life on Saturday as he carded a nine-under par 63 to win the R500,000 Nashua Golf Challenge by five strokes.

Da Silva’s score equals the best ever achieved around the 7,162-metre Gary Player Country Club, Swede Henrik Stenson’s 63 from 2008. However, the Nedbank Golf Challenge uses some different tee positions, so Da Silva’s is the best off the professional markers at the famous resort course.

He ended up with a total of 202, 14-under-par.

“From the beginning, I felt wonderful,” said Da Silva, “and somehow, I managed not to get ahead of myself.

“I’ve been hitting the ball really well for quite a while now, and I think the last two rounds – and today especially – the putting started to fall into place,” he added.

Not that he needed his putter on a couple of occasions: He chipped in on 16 in the middle of a sequence of three consecutive birdies which took him out of the reach of the chasing pack.

In the end, second-round leader Trevor Fisher Jnr carded at two-under-par 70 to finish in 207, and rookie Dean O’Riley closed with a six-under-par 66 to secure third place alone with 209, one stroke ahead of Vaughn Groenewald.

To put Da Silva’s round into some sort of context, only eight players of the 40 who made the 36-hole cut were able to finish the final round under par.

He was immaculate on the day, picking up his first birdie on the second and making three more before the turn to reach halfway at four-under and already in a very strong position.

He made that position impregnable as he birdied 10 and 12 before his closing burst of three in a row from the 15th. “It was impressive to watch,” said Fisher.

Veteran Andre Cruse, who started the day in a share of third at four-under-par, got stung by a bee on his right hand at the fifth. It was still swollen as he came in with a seven-over-par 79, and his hand was shaking.

“It’s shaking because of the way Adilson played,” he laughed.

It has been a quiet start to 2011 for Da Silva, who has his Asian Tour card: After his 2010 which had 10 top-10 finishes, including two victories, he had only one top-10 in 2011 before the victory at Sun City.

“I’m enjoying my golf now,” he said. “I’m really feeling like I can win again.”

That sounds ominous for his fellow Sunshine Tour professionals.

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