The golf world’s focus today will be in Akron, where players are fighting for a big trophy (and the world’s No. 1 player is fighting his swing). Those that love the underdog tale should keep at least one eye on the Nationwide Tour, though.
Roberto Castro, 25, was a four-time All-American at Georgia Tech and winner of the 2007 Byron Nelson Award, which is awarded for athletic and academic achievement.
He’s on the verge of a career-altering performance at the Nationwide Tour’s Wichita Open. Castro, who’s never held Nationwide or PGA Tour status, has the 54-hole lead. He’s 19 under par, one ahead of Stephen Bowditch. Scott Gutschewski is in third place, three shots back.
Castro got into this event by the thinnest of margins. He had to win a playoff to advance out of a Monday qualifier for last week’s Cox Classic. Castro birdied his 71st hole to tie for 19th and earn a spot in this week’s event. The top 25 finishers each week on the Nationwide Tour earn a spot in the next event.
If Castro didn’t birdie the par-5 17th at Champions Run, he would’ve tied for 26th at the Cox and would’ve had to roll the dice again in a Monday qualifying this week.
Castro has spent most of his career on the mini-tours, playing just one Tour event and seven Nationwide Tour events since turning pro in ’07.
Castro is No. 6 on the eGolf Professional Tour money list with one victory.
A Nationwide Tour victory would earn him exempt status on the 2011 tour, and give him a good chance of earning a PGA Tour card for next season. The top 25 finishers on the Nationwide money list earn PGA Tour cards for the following season.