Walk on the wild side con­tin­ues an ex­tra day

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA

WILD COAST: There will be yet an­other day of ac­tion in the Wild Coast Chal­lenge, and it will hope­fully be the last.

The 2018 edi­tion of the coastal tour­na­ment has been one to re­mem­ber, from even be­fore it started on Wed­nes­day.

The putting sur­faces that were ma­li­ciously dam­aged on the eve of the tour­na­ment are al­most a dis­tant mem­ory now, given the far more sin­cere ob­sta­cle that the Port Ed­ward weather has pro­vided.

Rain, cold and wind have com­bined to make things very dif­fi­cult for a stel­lar cast, and some have even thought to change the tour’s name from Sun­shine to some­thing more be­fit­ting this week.

It has been a test of pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance for play­ers, and it is no sur­prise that the old heads are pop­u­lat­ing the top of the leader­board.

Of­ten, in ad­verse con­di­tions, ex­pe­ri­ence trumps ex­u­ber­ance.

As the field headed to this morn­ing’s fi­nal round, the name on top was still that of Adil­son da Silva, who had the lead when time was called on Thurs­day night.

The Brazil-born “lo­cal” was 11-un­der with eight holes to play in his sec­ond round, and he added two more birdies to close on a six-un­der 64, and an over­all 13-un­der par to­tal.

That gave him a slen­der one-shot lead over the hottest player on the course, Vaughn Groe­newald.

The five-time Tour vic­tor scorched his way to a nine-un­der 61, a score which was gazumped by a mem­o­rable ea­gle on the par-five 16th hole, which cuts across the wa­ter.

Groe­newald nailed his driver, and then set up his putt with an ex­cel­lent ap­proach, to give him­self a fan­tas­tic chance on the fi­nal day.

Lurk­ing three shots off the lead are the likes of Daniel van Ton­der, Hen­nie du Plessis and Alex Haindl, who also went low in his sec­ond round. His seven-un­der 63 gave him a share of third, and that trio at 10-un­der for the tour­na­ment will look to put early pres­sure on the lead­ers.

It does look as if the back nine, and its scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for those who can keep the ball in play, will be de­ci­sive to­day.

The ex­cel­lent scor­ing on the in­ward nine this week has been tes­ti­mony to the won­der­ful re­pair job that was ef­fected on Mon­day and Tues­day, with the greens rolling bet­ter than most would have an­tic­i­pated.

Even in bat­tle with the el­e­ments, the cut still fell at three-un­der, em­pha­sis­ing both the qual­ity of the golf course and the play.

The green-keep­ing staff at the Wild Coast may have reck­oned on a long drink and a re­laxed Satur­day morn­ing, but they will rise early once more, to wrap up what has been one of the most event­ful weeks on tour.

There was an an­tic­i­pated shot­gun start for the field of 52 at 7.20am, and all in­volved with the Wild Coast Chal­lenge will hope that the dust has fi­nally set­tled come lunch-time.

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