At the age of 16, Adilson da Silva left his modest family home inBraziland, with the help of a golfing benefactor, travelled to Africa. And at Selborne Park Golf Club on Friday, Da Silva continued to live his dream of being a successful professional golfer.
Under the first blue skies all week, Da Silva sparkled with a final round of 69 to win the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament by a single stroke on 12 under par.
It was a victory built around a stunning stretch of five birdies in six holes over the turn, where Da Silva was able to finally lay to rest the putting demons that have plagued him for the past few months, and which began tormenting him over the first few holes of the final round.
Doug McGuigan started the day as the sole leader, with Da Silva in a group one behind.
But the Brazilian three-putted the par-five first for a tame par, missed short birdie putts on the second and third holes, and then three-putted the fourth for a bogey.
“It was such a bad start, and I was really worried. My putting’s been a nightmare. I’ve been hitting the ball so well, but just couldn’t hole putts,” said Da Silva. “But I just hung in there, and the putts started to drop.” He made back-to-back birdies on holes six and seven, chipped in for birdie on the ninth, and holed two 25-footers for birdie on holes 10 and 11.
“That’s when I started thinking I could win this, especially with a few tough holes coming in.”
With McGuigan wavering slightly on his way in to finish on 11 under with a 71, and Danie van Tonder leaving his charge a bit too late for a 67 and a share of second on 11 under, Da Silva parred the last for victory.
And he never forgets how lucky a 16-year-old was to get out of the town of Santa Cruz de Sol and pursue his dream.
“I was very lucky to come toAfrica. My parents would never have had the means to afford it. Now with this win, it feels like I can build up to something good again.”
SCORES (RSA unless specified):
204 – Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 69 66 69
205 – Danie van Tonder 71 67 67, Doug McGuigan 68 66 71
207 – Desvonde Botes 71 69 67
208 – Allan Versfeld 70 69 69, Vaughn Groenewald 68 69 71, Charl Coetzee 69 66 73, Jared Harvey 67 68 73
209 – Jaco Ahlers 73 68 68, Lindani Ndwandwe 75 65 69, Andrew Curlewis 70 68 71, Joshua Cunliffe 69 69 71
210 – Matthew Carvell 71 70 69, Michiel Bothma 70 70 70
211 – Theunis Spangenberg 71 71 69, Trevor Fisher Jnr 68 72 71, Jacques Blaauw 69 69 73, Ulrich van den Berg 71 66 74
212 – Riekus Nortje 76 66 70, Jake Redman 67 74 71, Martin du Toit 68 68 76