BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - Roberto Castro missed the U.S. Open at Merion. It felt as if he was playing one Thursday in the AT&T National at Congressional.
The course that has hosted three U.S. Opens looked as though it could hold another in a moment's notice. Only a dozen players shot in the 60s, with Castro leading the way at a 5-under 66 that required some of his best golf. He made three straight birdies late in his round with a 20-foot putt, a perfect 3-wood into a par 5 and a chip-in.
"It's very similar in that there's not a lot of birdies out there," Castro said. "There's not many good breaks or bad breaks to be had out there. If you drive it in the rough, you drove it in the rough. If you hit it in the fairway, you can go from there."
The average score was just over 73, despite cloud cover for most of the day leading to soft conditions and only a light wind.
Billy Horschel, who tied for fourth in the real U.S. Open two weeks ago, began his day with a 50-foot birdie putt, added a pair of birdies over the next three holes and then hung on for a 68. That was the best score among the early starters. Bud Cauley and Graham DeLaet each had a