Chaka DeSilva holds slim lead after first round of Bermuda Championship local qualifier
Chaka DeSilva holds a slim one-shot advantage in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship local qualifier going into the final round at Port Royal Golf Course today.
Mid Ocean Club professional DeSilva will probably feel that he missed a chance to put daylight between himself and his rivals after physical problems threatened to derail his challenge midway through his round.
DeSilva overcame cramp and a few bad swings on his way to a one-over 72 that featured five birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey yesterday.
Heading into the turn at two over, DeSilva steadied the ship on the back nine playing the holes in one under par to give himself an advantage over a tight chasing pack that includes defending champion Michael Sims and amateur Jarryd Dillas.
“It’s nice to be leading and I’ll take it,” DeSilva said. “But I didn’t hit it well at all and I struggled walking. It was extremely hot out there and I was battling with cramping. I hit the ball horribly but my putter was extremely hot. I made everything I basically looked at.
“I made golf look really simple and really hard today at some points.”
The 42-year-old, who is bidding to qualify for a second straight Bermuda Championship, got off to a flyer with back-to-back birdies on the opening two holes.
Starting well, he split the fairway with his tee shot on the 1st and got up and down for birdie after sinking a 12-foot putt.
DeSilva nearly holed his iron approach for eagle at the par-5 2nd but was forced to settle for another birdie after just missing his putt, but all of his good early work came undone with successive bogeys at the 5th and 6th after he found fairway and greenside bunkers.
A short birdie putt on the 7th momentarily halted the slide before he again gave shots back with a double bogey on the next hole after finding the hazard and missing a short putt to save par at the 9th after finding the rough.
DeSilva’s fluctuating fortunes continued early on the back nine in as he rattled in two long birdie putts either side of a bogey at eleven before maintaining level footing for the the rest of the round.
There is a four-way tie for second with amateurs Christian Collins and Jarryd Dillas, and professionals Michael Sims and Arriek Douglas just one shot behind the overnight leader.
“It’s tough, every hole the tees are at the back,” said Lynn University student Collins, who is playing in his first tournament here in four years.
“There was no room for error especially the par threes as they were super long, so you really had to hit it straight today.”
Douglas, the assistant professional at Five Forts Golf Club, was pleased with his round.
“Today’s round was pretty solid,” he said. “It started off well and then I had one hiccup on number 5 and had to manage the game from there and keep myself in it.
“That’s what I was able to do and 73 gives me a good chance for tomorrow.”
Sims was also content with his round despite squandering a share of the lead after missing the fairway and two-putting for bogey at the last hole.
“I played really well,” he said. “It was pretty tame out there today so it would have been a good day to take advantage of it.
“The greens are really good, the golf course is in great shape and it’s a bland round. Just keep trucking along and all you can do is play golf.”
Professionals Camiko Smith, Cory DeSilva and fourteen-year-old amateur Oliver Betschart are tied for sixth at four over while amateur Damian Palanyandi and professional Dwayne Pearman are tied for ninth at five over, with professional Nick Jones just outside the top ten.
In addition to the three qualifying spots at this qualifier, those who place fourth, fifth and sixth will be granted exemption spots into the APGA Championship, which will also be held at Port Royal on October 11 and 12.
Those players will also be reserve alternatives for the Bermuda Championship field, while those who finish seventh, eighth and ninth will be reserve alternatives for the APGA Championship.