Walk on the wild side continues an extra day
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.