BANGKOK, Thailand: Adilson Da Silva of Brazil renewed his love affair with the Tamsui course after carding a two-under-par 70 to grab a share of the halfway lead at the wind-swept Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Friday.
Silva, who holds an impeccable track record in the storied event, fired four birdies against two bogeys under blustery conditions to take his place atop the leaderboard alongside Australian Maverick Antcliff (72), South African Justin Harding (73) and Lionel Weber (73) of France.
The quartet leads by one shot on three-under-par 141 total in the US$850,000 Asian Tour event held at its traditional home at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018.
Korea’s Heungchol Joo produced the highlight of the day when he stuck an ace on the par-three eighth hole after hitting a four-iron from 172 metres. It was the second time he sank a hole-in-one during a professional tournament.
Local veterans Lin Wen-tang and Tsai Chi-huang signed for respective rounds of 72 and 71 to share fifth place with Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond (72) at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which is celebrating its 32nd edition this week.
The halfway cut was set at four-over-par 148 with a total of 53 players, including one local amateur, advancing to the next two rounds.
Did you know?
– Adilson Da Silva has an impeccable track record at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He has not finished outside top-three in his last three starts in the storied event. In his debut appearance in 2012, he also enjoyed a tied-ninth place finish.
– Prior to this week, Silva has made only three cuts in 11 starts this season. He claimed a tied-ninth place result in Japan last week to propel to 65th place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings. Needs a strong performance this week to break into top-60 and retain his card for the 2019 season.
– Last year, Silva came in joint runner-up after finishing two shots back of winner Gavin Green of Malaysia.
– Silva enjoyed a career high in 2016 when he was given the honour of striking the first tee shot at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when golf made a return into the programme after 112 years.
– Silva has won multiple times on the Sunshine Tour but is still searching for a first win on the Asian Tour.
– Silva started playing extensively in Zimbabwe from between 1996 to 2003, winning more than 30 titles and five Zimbabwean Order of Merit crowns. Played in the British Open in 2000 and 2007.
– Maverick Antcliff secured his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School after finishing tied-seventh. He missed only two cuts in 11 starts this season and his best result was a tied-ninth place finish at the Indonesia Open in July.
– The 25-year-old Antcliff came in tied-fourth when he made his Asian Tour debut at the 2017 Asian Golf Championship in China last November.
– Antcliff, who turned professional in 2016, is playing the Mercuries Taiwan Masters for the first time in his career.
– Lionel Weber graduated from the 2013 Asian Tour Qualifying School and is searching for his maiden victory on the region’s premier Tour.
– Weber has been struggling to find his form all-season, missing eight cuts in 15 starts with his best result being a tied-21st place finish in Myanmar earlier in January.
– The 28-year-old Weber found only seven fairways but missed just four greens in regulation in his solid round of 68. He amassed 28 putts in total.
– Justin Harding is playing in only his sixth start on the Asian Tour this season. He has claimed two victories and a runner-up finish so far.
– Harding navigated his way around the greens with only 26 putts in his round of 68.
– Harding broke into top-10 on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings following his second-place result in Japan last week. He sits in a current eighth position.
– The 32-year-old Harding won his first Asian Tour title in his first start on Tour this season at the BANK BRI Indonesia Open in July. He later claimed a six-shot victory at the Royal Cup to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the region’s premier Tour.
– Harding is the higest-ranked player in the field in 97th place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).