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AT&T National: Four tied for lead after third round
Castro’s problems were early, and not entirely up to him. After a bogey on the par-3 second hole when he was on the down slope of a bunker to a short pin, he hit a tee shot right of the third fairway. Just his luck, the ball landed in the soft sand at the edge of the grass and disappeared. The ball was buried under an inch of sand that Castro had to scrape away just to make sure the ball was his. He took a penalty shot to drop it in the middle of the bunker, couldn’t reach the green and made double bogey.
“Nothing good was going to happen if I swung at it,” he said. “And I thought, ‘If I dropped, pitched out, I could make bogey or double, which is not the end of the world.’ I didn’t need to sit there and make 8 or something.”
Through it all, the son of Peruvian parents with an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Tech never panicked.
“Over four days here, every player is going to hit kind of a rough patch,” Castro said. “I don’t see it being easy out here. … So mine just came early today, and I just tried to survive it.”
It looked early on as though the more times Spieth put himself in contention, the more comfortable he would be. That only lasted a short time.
He opened with a 10-foot birdie putt and followed that with a tee shot that used the backstop perfectly on the par-3 second, the ball rolling back down the hill to 2 feet for a tap-in birdie. After a good par on the third hole, he had a two-shot lead.
Five holes later, he was four shots behind.
That’s how quickly the scores changed on a balmy Saturday at Congressional — not just for Spieth, but for everyone.
Spieth’s troubles began when he missed the green long and right on the fifth hole, leaving him a downhill chip to an elevated green. The best he could do was 15 feet and he missed his par putt, ending his streak of 33 straight holes without a bogey.
He missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 sixth. After hitting 3-wood into thick rough left of the fairway at No. 8 and hacking out short of the green, Spieth had a chance to save par until he three-putted from 5 feet. And on the ninth, his wedge spun off the front of the green and rolled down the hill, leading to another bogey. If that wasn’t enough, he missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 10th.
“I think the way this course is set up with this thick of rough and narrow fairways, if you don’t drive it good, you can make bogey on any hole,” Haas said. “The greens are soft enough that if you hit good drives, you can hit it close. You’re seeing birdies, but you’re also seeing some loose shots gets penalized.”
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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