SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Florida head coach J.C. Deacon jokes that the outdated Ricky Castillo is again. The present model of the Gators sophomore, nevertheless, could be higher.
Castillo, the reigning Phil Mickelson Award winner, received off to a sluggish begin this season, failing to crack the highest 20 in any of his fall begins. But previously couple of months, Castillo has been lights out, hanging it fantastically and rolling in lengthy putts with regularity. He placed on a tee-to-green clinic in going 4-0 on the Walker Cup earlier this month, and final week at regionals he helped his staff rally into the highest 5 by making 5 birdies and an eagle in his remaining 11 holes.
“I spent a lot of the last six or seven months working on my swing, and I’ve just been feeling a lot more comfortable,” Castillo stated. “Everything has finally come together. I built a lot of confidence at Walker Cup, and it led into regionals and then to here.”
In Friday’s opening spherical of the NCAA Championship, Castillo shot 2-under 68 on a tough day at Grayhawk Golf Club, which regardless of a scarcity of wind performed robust with tough pins and rock-hard greens. The Gators are 8 over as a staff.
“It’s really easy to make birdies out there,” stated Castillo, who carded 5 of them, together with 4 on the again 9 (his first 9) and two (Nos. 14 and 16) by way of putts from exterior of 25 toes. “But it’s also really easy to make bogeys.”
Castillo had three of these, although two of his dropped pictures got here after taking an unplayable. He hit his drive on the par-4 18th, which performed as a par-5 throughout the ladies’s championship, off the toe and located the left desert. He then closed his spherical by flaring his drive proper on the par-4 ninth.
But Castillo didn’t fret both time. He received up and down from 90 yards for a tap-in bogey at No. 18 and hit a pleasant shot to 35 toes and calmly two-putted for bogey at No. 9.
“I just tried to figure out a way to get it in for five,” Castillo stated. “That’s what I did really well is making sure I didn’t make any big numbers.”