Gator sophomore Ricky Castillo missed the cut at the U.S open, shooting 12-over-par over the first two rounds.
Castillo started Thursday morning shooting a 1-over-par 36 on the front nine. He then struggled on the back half of the course. Castillo shot a double bogey on hole 16 to push him to 3-over-par on the day, finishing at 73. He was right in the mix to make the cut after round one, tied with veterans like Justin Rose and Tiger Woods.
The wheels fell off during round two. Castillo started 5-over-par through the first five holes Friday and never fully recovered. He did manage to birdie two of the last three holes on the front nine, though, finishing the first half of round two 4-over-par and 7-over-par for the tournament.
The back nine didn’t go Castillo’s way either. He shot five bogeys on the back, finishing the day with a 9-over-par 79. He completed the tournament 12-over-par, with a total score of 152.
Castillo’s finishing score does not tell the whole story, however. He was lethal off the tee, hitting 43% of fairways over the two days of competition, higher than the field average (40%). He also drove the ball an average of 324 yards, over 10 yards more than the field average of 311 yards.
Castillo also putt the ball extremely well on Winged Foot’s notoriously tough greens. Castillo averaged 1.67 putts per hole, lower than the field average of 1.71 putts per hole.
While Castillo won’t be competing into the weekend, he still had an incredible experience. He had a few highlights, including one that had the attention of a national audience, thanks to the Golf Channel’s official Twitter account.
Castillo was thrown straight into the deep end getting his first major start at a course like Winged Foot. It has given even the best golfers trouble over the years, and this tournament is no different. Entering Saturday, the leader, Patrick Reed, was at just 4-under-par.
“Winged Foot requires a lot of precision and creativity,” Castillo said in a release. “It's not a place where guys can just go out there, play fast, and aim at pins. The undulation and severe angles on the greens require a lot of imagination..”
At only 19, Castillo will have many more chances to compete for the U.S. Open title. For now, he’ll bring his first major experience back to Gainesville, where he will prepare for the Blessings Collegiate Invitational hosted by the University of Arkansas.
Sophomore Ricky Castillo wrapped up his first major start Friday, shooting 152 on the tournament.
Michael Hull is a third-year journalism major with a specialization in sports & media. He has a minor in business and leadership and is a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars fan.