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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — TaylorMade Tour Staffer Roberto Castro, competing in his first career PLAYERS Championship, crashed the party in a big way on Thursday with his course record-tying 63 – a round that included seven birdies and an eagle – as he circled his way to a three-shot lead (-9) at TPC Sawgrass. Fitting, it was, as Castro represents one player in a larger trend of pros who’ve switched into a counterbalance putter in recent weeks, especially in Ponte Vedra Beach. Playing his first round with a new Daddy Long Legs putter – Castro’s model is 38”, 71° lie angle, 3° of loft – he didn’t make any especially long putts but was dead solid throughout, needing only 26 putts to get into the clubhouse.

On a day where his ballstriking was nothing short of magnificent, he converted short birdie putt after birdie putt to build and maintain major momentum in what would become just the third round of 63 in championship history. He joined elite company thanks to a brilliant opening round Thursday before finishing T19 (-5) Sunday, taking great experience and positive momentum from the PLAYERS as the 27-year-old continues to fight for a breakthrough win on the PGA Tour.

“The last two weeks I’ve hit the ball really nicely,” Castro said. “Scores haven’t shown it, but lot of greens in regulation and lot of fairways hit the last couple weeks.  So, obviously, not great finishes, but a couple putts here and there and the last couple weeks could have been good too.”

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