Chaka DeSilva excited by chance to tee it up with golf’s elite
Playing in a PGA Tour event among the world’s elite is a “dream come true” for Chaka DeSilva, one of five local players who will showcase their talents in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course this week.
“I’d be lying if I said playing in a PGA Tour event isn’t a dream come true,” the Mid Ocean Club professional told The Royal Gazette. “I’d be lying if I said I haven’t walked a golf course at St George’s when I was a young man pretending I was playing in a PGA Tour event.”
The 41-year-old punched his ticket after finishing third in the 36-hole local qualifying tournament at Port Royal this month.
“I wanted to be competitive and in and around the lead of the tournament and just to have a chance,” added DeSilva, who carded an eight-over 150. “I just wanted to be there with an opportunity.
“I didn’t start off great but was able to right the ship and start putting some pars together. I made a couple of birdies, got it back to a pretty respectable score on day one and just carried that momentum into day two.
“I just want to say thank to you all the people that have given me well wishes, congratulations and support.”
Since then DeSilva has practised whenever the opportunity presents itself.
“I have been playing probably the most golf in the last two weeks that I have in the last ten years,” he said. “I have been playing a fair amount and staying back at Mid Ocean late evenings on the putting green until dark.
“I’m not super excited about how I am hitting it. But I am getting more excited because obviously with the amount of golf I have been playing in the last ten days, it’s hard not to get a little bit better. I’m trying my best as much as I can.”
The son of Louis “Red” DeSilva, the late St George’s Cricket Club president, will compete among a star-studded field boasting major champions in Patrick Reed, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Jason Dufner and Danny Willett.
“It’s a big-name field,” DeSilva added. “It’s a strong, strong field, super exciting.
“It’s super, super exciting for Bermuda and for anyone who loves golf. It’s great to see these guys come here and see what Bermuda golf has to offer.”
As for his approach going into the 72-hole championship, DeSilva said: “I’m just going to go in there and try and hit fairways and greens and see if a putt or two drops here or there.
“Not trying to make birdies, not trying to make eagles. I’m just trying not to make a bogey and a double.
“So if I can go in there and just try and hit fairways, hit greens and hopefully a putt or two drops, it would be interesting to see if I can make the cut.”
No local player has made the cut at the PGA Tour event to date.
Meanwhile, Michael Sims, Camiko Smith, Brian Morris and Damian Palanyandi are the other local players set to compete in the Bermuda Championship, which starts on Thursday.
Sims, the former Web.com Tour player, won the local qualifying event by four shots with fellow professional Smith and amateur Palanyandi claiming the remaining qualifying spots up for grabs along with DeSilva.
Morris, the Ocean View Golf Club head golf professional, who is battling stage 4 brain cancer, was extended a sponsor exemption.
“I look forward to being out there and I am super excited for Brian Morris being able to compete in this year’s Butterfield Bermuda Championship,” DeSilva added.
“I’m excited to see what Michael and Camiko do. I really think those two gentlemen are going to do well this year. I know that they have been working extremely hard and taking this thing extremely serious.
“I hope they do well, as well as Damian.”