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Swirling winds produced tricky conditions and close scoring at the top of the field on the opening day of the Legends Tour’s first ever visit to Vietnam, but two players who’ve already tasted victory this season edged themselves into the lead with brilliant finishes.
Playing alongside one another, Da Silva eagled the 17th and Hend finished birdie-birdie to reach -5, one shot clear of Jyoti Randhawa and Greig Hutcheon.
Da Silva is the only man who can potentially catch Peter Baker at the top of the MCB Road to Mauritius, but he needs at least a top-5 finish and to finish ahead of the Englishman this week to extend the race to next week’s season-ending MCB Tour Championship – Mauritius.
The Brazilian started well with three birdies in the first five holes, and his only dropped shot of the day came at 7 to be out in -2. He kicked on as the wind strengthened on the back nine with another red number at 12 and one of only two eagles all day on 17.
“My tee shots were really good today,” said Da Silva, whose three wins this year have all come on tree-lined courses quite similar to this week’s venue.
“We were a bit fortunate that the wind never really came on the front nine, then it came in pretty hard on the back nine. I was really happy. I hit the ball well and I putted well, so it was good.
He produced a brave approach shot over water to set up his three at the par-5 17th:
“The wind was slightly helping from the right, but I still had quite a long way in with 220 metres to the flag. I hit a nice three-wood and it pitched pin high and released to about 20 feet, and I holed the putt. That was a bonus because if I don’t really hit two big ones I can’t get up on a par 5 like that.”
Co-leader Hend is looking for a second Legends Tour victory after he won on his debut at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open in Germany in mid-September. This is just his second start on the seniors circuit as he’s been playing largely on the Asian Tour since that win.
The Australian’s birdies came in pairs as he picked up shots on 5, 6, 11, 12, 17 and 18, with his only blemish coming at the 9th. His 31 on the inward half was tied for the best back nine score of the day.
Randhawa fired an impressive seven birdies, but he also had three dropped shots in an eventful 67 that sees the Indian handily placed one off the lead. Hutcheon, who’s 10th in the MCB Road to Mauritius, was steadier for his -4 total as he went bogey-free and picked up shots at the 2nd, 11th, 14th and 17th.
Mardan Mamat and Michael Jonzon are tied-5th on -3, and MCB Road to Mauritius number one Baker opened with a 69 to be part of a 10-way tie for 7th that also includes former US Open champion Michael Campbell and four-time DP World Tour winner Jeev Milkha Singh.
Nineteen of the 60 players broke par at Vinpearl Golf Nha Trang, which is a par-71 championship layout set amidst the beauty of Vietnam’s premier beach destination, surrounded by the azure blue sea and majestic mountains.
Visit www.legendstour.com to see the full leaderboard, second round tee times and find out more about the Vinpearl DIC Legends Vietnam at Vinpearl Resort Nha Trang, in association with headline sponsors VinFast, Vinpearl, Vinpearl Golf Nha Trang, VinWonders and DIC Group.