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“I’m excited for what the weekend is going to bring,” he said.

Castro tied the course record on the TPC Sawgrass in May with a 63 to lead the opening round of The Players Championship, and then he followed with a 78 and never seriously challenge the rest of the week. After opening with a 66 at Congressional, he dropped a shot early from a fairway bunker on No. 3 and was plodding along until finishing the back nine with a pair of birdies, and then adding a birdie on the par-5 16th.

“I felt good,” he said. “I probably learned a lot there (at Sawgrass) and realized that one round doesn’t mean anything — just got to keep going. And I was able to do that.”

Defending champion Woods is not playing because of an elbow injury, and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose withdrew earlier in the week because of fatigue. Some of the other big names most likely won’t be around for the weekend, such as Hunter Mahan, who had a 72 and was at 5-over 147. Masters champion Adam Scott traded birdies and bogeys in his round of 71 that left him nine shots behind.

Brandt Snedeker had to salvage a scrappy round with two late birdies for a 71, leaving him five shots behind.