Untidy finish no problem for co-leader Castro

Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:11pm EST
 

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LA QUINTA, California (Reuters) - Little-known Roberto Castro was delighted to hold a share of the second-round lead at the sun-splashed Humana Challenge on Friday, despite suffering a late wobble with two bogeys in his last three holes.

While twice former champion Phil Mickelson made up some ground after an erratic start to the pro-am celebrity event in the California desert, Castro fired a sparkling five-under-par 67 to remain tied at the top.

Castro, a 27-year-old journeyman, took advantage of another near-perfect day for scoring at La Quinta, mixing seven birdies with two bogeys to finish at 14-under 130, level with fellow American and PGA Tour rookie James Hahn (67).

Compatriots Scott Stallings (65), Darron Stiles (65) and Richard Lee (65) were a further stroke back in a tie for third, with U.S. Ryder Cup player Zach Johnson among a group of nine bunched at 12 under after shooting a 66.

Castro, joint leader overnight with compatriots Hahn and Jason Kokrak, played flawless golf with seven birdies in his first 15 holes to briefly lead the field by three strokes.

Though he limped home with bogeys at the seventh and ninth, where he three-putted, he was happy with his position going into the weekend in the third PGA Tour event of the season.

"I played good," a smiling Castro told reporters after his round on the Palmer Private course at PGA West, one of three venues hosting the tournament. "I played well all day.

"Some nice up-and-downs on the par-fives for birdies, a couple (of shots) slipped away there at the end, but yesterday I made a 50-footer on the last on a good putt.   Continued...