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The 27-year-old Castro, who shot 9 under Thursday, followed the round of his life with one to forget. He shot a 6-over 78 in the second round Friday and dropped into a tie for 29th.

Despite the stumble, his outlook remained positive.

“I wouldn’t have been embarrassed or felt bad or anything if I would have shot two 76s this week,” Castro said. “It’s a hard golf course. I’m 3-under par and beating 110 of the best players in the world through 36 holes. So I just kept telling myself, `it’s not easy, it’s not easy, it’s not easy.’”

Only five golfers _ Derek Ernst, Brian Harman, George McNeill, Greg Owen and Y.E. Yang _ had worse second rounds than Castro.

Castro, though, preferred to focus on his finish. After making a birdie, five bogeys and a double through 12 holes, he settled down and made six consecutive pars.

“It was huge,” he said. “I was 6-over par and sitting there looking at 16, 17 and 18. I saw (Thursday) every hole on the course is hard, so it was nice to finish with six really solid holes.”

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HEADED HOME: Eleven former major winners, including Vijay Singh, headed home after missing the cut at The Players. Fourteen other major winners advanced to the third round.

Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Geoff Ogilvy, David Toms, Keegan Bradley and Y.E. Yang joined Singh in getting the weekend off.

Singh sued the PGA Tour on Wednesday for exposing him to “public humiliation and ridicule” during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer antler spray. The tour dropped its case last week.

The lawsuit and its timing raised eyebrows, especially since The Players is the tour’s flagship event. Singh’s presence at TPC Sawgrass this week, though, caused few, if any, distractions.

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EAGLE SIGHTINGS: The par-4 18th has historically been the toughest hole on the Stadium Course.

And it’s playing that way again this week _ but not without a couple of historic exceptions.

After surrendering just two eagles over the previous 31 years during The Players, the finishing hole has given up two in as many days. Marc Leishman accomplished the feat Friday, holing out with a wedge from 172 yards away. Jason Dufner carded an eagle there Thursday.

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