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January 18 2013

6:57 PM

Castro, Hahn set the pace again

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- A year ago, Roberto Castro had modest goals when he played in the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

After all, the popular stop in the desert was just the second event in Castro's rookie year. He wanted to stay patient, and he felt if he could just break par for each nine he would be "hanging in there."

But Castro, who ended up tying for 42nd in 2012, has a different mindset this year. You've got to "get it going and keep it going," Castro learned, and that's exactly what he's done over the first two rounds.

Castro played the Palmer Private Course on Friday and shot 67 that enabled him to maintain a share of the lead with James Hahn, who shot the same score at La Quinta. Both players had opened with rounds of 63, as did Jason Kokrak.

Scott Stallings and Darron Stiles, who both played La Quinta, and Richard H. Lee, who birdied the last hole at the Palmer Course, are all one shot off the lead after rounds of 65. Kokrak is among nine players tied at 12 under, two strokes off the pace.

Joining Kokrak in a tie for sixth are rookies Lee Williams and David Lingmerth, Zach Johnson, Kevin Stadler, Charles Howell III, Greg Chalmers, Charley Hoffman and Aaron Baddeley. The best rounds among that group came from Lingmerth, who shot 8 under, and Williams and Howell, who shot 65s -- all on the Nicklaus Course. 

Russell Henley, last week's winner who only had three bogeys in the first 90 holes of his rookie campaign, had a more adventurous round on Friday but remains in contention at 11 under. Henley had four birdies and an eagle in the second round but also dropped three shots to par.

The cut will be made on Saturday after everyone has played each of the three courses. Phil Mickelson, who is tied for 91st, still has some work to do -- although his round of 67 was five strokes better than his opener and a definite step in the right direction.

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