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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Castillo climbs leaderboard on final day at Grayhawk

The Gators number one golfer finished the NCAA Championship at even par.

Ricky Castillo hits his tee shot on the first hole during Singles at the 2021 Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla. on Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Ricky Castillo hits his tee shot on the first hole during Singles at the 2021 Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla. on Sunday, May 9, 2021. (Chris Keane/USGA)

All the attention was on California native Ricky Castillo at the DI Men’s Golf National Championships Monday following Floirda’s failure to make the cut as a team. 

Castillo entered the afternoon in a tie for 16th, and the direction of his final round was quickly in question after an opening-hole bogey. He flipped the script with back-to-back birdies on the following two holes to move back in the right direction. 

Another birdie on the par-3 eighth hole closed a 2-under-par 33 on the front nine. Castillo played the par-3s 4-under-par throughout the tournament, better than anyone else in the field. 

The sophomore fell back to even par three holes into his back nine with bogeys on hole 10 and 12. It was smooth sailing to the finish after the two squares with all pars and a birdie on the 17th. A 1-under-par 69 vaulted Castillo into sole possession of 12th place. 

Oklahoma State’s Bo Jin entered Monday atop the leaderboard with a two-stroke lead at 9-under-par. The freshman carded a 3-over-par 73 and missed a par putt on the closing hole to allow Clemson’s Turk Pettit to take home the individual championship trophy. The Tiger matched two bogeys with two birdies on his way to an even-par 70 for a 7-under-par tournament and the title.

This weekend was not the first time Castillo showcased his talent on a national stage. The Walker Cup earlier this May placed the Gator into a fierce competition between the United States and Great Britain & Ireland. He was the only American to go undefeated in match play and propelled the team to retain the coveted title. 

The conclusion of Castillo’s individual round Monday marks the true end to the Florida men’s golf team’s season. The All-SEC second team member led the Gators in nearly every statistical category during his 2020-21 campaign, highlighted by a 71.06 scoring average and eight top-25 finishes. 

Contact Joseph Henry at jhenry@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @Josephhenry2424

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