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May 9 2013

10:59 AM

Castro sets pace at 7 under

Roberto Castro makes a tap-in birdie at the 17th hole on Thursday.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A 4-footer for eagle at the second hole, his 11th of the day, has give Roberto Castro sole possession of the lead Thursday morning in his first PLAYERS Championship.

Castro shot a 31 on the back nine that included birdies on the final three holes -- a stretch that has been nicknamed "The Gauntlet." He two-putted for birdie from 65 feet at the par-5 16th, then tapped in for another from 19 inches at No.17 and from 23 inches at No. 18.

Casey Wittenberg, last year's Web.com Tour player of the year, is along in second at 6 under. He shot 33 on the front and has birdied three of his first four holes on the front nine.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who has never broken par at TPC Sawgrass, is tied for third at 5 under with his playing partner, Steve Stricker.  Click here to "Follow this group" -- PGATOUR.COM is streaming every hole of their round.

Jason Kokrak and Scott Stallings, who started the day with five straight birdies, are 4 under and there are 10 players another stroke behind, including Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and former PLAYERS champ Henrik Stenson.

 

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