Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A spectacular debut

Unheralded Castro conquers course, leads Players

  • Print
Tiger Woods hits from a bunker on the second hole at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday.

JOHN RAOUX / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Tiger Woods hits from a bunker on the second hole at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods was nine shots out of the lead, not the best position at The Players Championship, especially since he had not even started his round. Perhaps the bigger surprise was the guy who posted the record-tying round Thursday.

Roberto Castro had only played the TPC Sawgrass in a practice round. He made a debut he won't soon forget.

There was the 9-iron to a foot on the island-green 17th and a 4-iron to about the same tap-in range on the 18th, the hardest hole on the course. He hit a 3-iron to three feet for eagle and twice hit wedge so close he didn't even have to read the putt.

When his memorable day was over, Castro had a 9-under 63 and his name in the record book twice. He tied the course record held by Fred Couples and Greg Norman, and his three-shot lead was the largest margin after the opening round at The Players in 21 years. Welcome to Sawgrass.

"I hit it close a lot," said Castro, making it sound as easy as it looked.

He led Rory McIlroy, who broke par for the first time in his fourth appearance with five birdies after the turn and conservative play off the tee on the front nine for a bogey-free 66. Zach Johnson also had a 66 while playing in the pristine morning conditions.

Woods had to work a little harder in the afternoon. Not only did he spot Castro nine shots, Woods had never broken 70 in the opening round in his 15 previous tries.

"It was a day that I felt I had to shoot something in the 60s," Woods said.

He ran off four straight birdies around the turn. He was on the cusp of his first bogey-free round at The Players until his 8-iron from 200 yards went just over the green and he flubbed his chip. The bogey gave him a 67, a strong effort considering he knew he had a lot of ground to make up before hitting his first shot.

Vijay Singh, playing one day after he sued the PGA Tour for its handling of his doping case, was largely ignored while playing in the group behind Woods.

At one point, Singh let out a hearty laugh walking off the tee with Robert Garrigus and J.J. Henry. His golf wasn't the subject of the laughter. Singh hit into the water on the last hole and made bogey for a 74, leaving him in danger of missing the cut.

Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., opened with a 1-under 71. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., shot an even-par 72.

So ended a first round filled with plenty of action -- a record-tying score by a player hardly anyone knows, McIlroy breaking par for the first time at Sawgrass, 17 balls in the water around the island-green 17th and 33 rounds in the 60s. Padraig Harrington followed an eagle with a double bogey. Michael Thompson made a hole-in-one.

But it all started with Castro, a 27-year-old who felt like he couldn't miss. "I don't think anyone has figured out what the secret is to this place," he said.

Woods, Webb Simpson and Ryan Palmer each had a 67, the lowest score from the afternoon.

McIlroy also played in the morning, in the same group as Masters champion Adam Scott (69) and Steve Stricker (67). The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland had never made the cut or even broken par at The Players, but he figured it out on a gorgeous morning by dialing it back off the tee and letting his iron play take over. McIlroy never came seriously close to a bogey, and he didn't hit driver once on the front nine.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2013 C7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The Whiteboard - Jets' 5-on-3 penalty kill

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who should get more playing time in Jets net?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google