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May 9 2013

7:21 PM

Castro leads by three at THE PLAYERS

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods broke 70 for the first time ever in the opening round of THE PLAYERS Championship.

Rory McIlroy had his lowest career round at TPC Sawgrass.

But it in the end it was Roberto Castro atop the leaderboard after a course record-tying 9-under 63 that leaves him three shots clear of the field after Thursday's opening round of the PGA TOUR's flagship event.

McIlroy and Zach Johnson are tied for second after each shot 66, while Woods is one of six players another stroke back after a day in which 67 players broke par.

Castro was better than all of them.

Playing in his first PLAYERS Championship, he made nine birdies and no bogeys.

Teeing off on the back nine, Castro went out in 13, making birdie on Nos. 16, 17 and 18, before an eagle on the par-5 second and two more birdies on Nos. 4 and 6.

Castro's ball-striking was phenomenal as he hit a half-dozen approach shots to inside 5 feet.

He had a chance to add one more birdie on the par-5 ninth but his putt to break the course record slid by the hole.

Woods, meanwhile, looked to be headed toward his first ever bogey-free round here until his approach shot on the final hole bounded off the back of the green. He failed to get up and down to save par.

Still, it was his best round at TPC Sawgrass since the final round of 2007 and came within one of matching his career low here.

Masters winner Adam Scott shot 69, while defending champion Matt Kuchar carded a 71.

Brandt Snedeker also shot 71, while Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Charl Schwartzel were all at even par.

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