PINEHURST, N.C. | On the first fairway of Pinehurst No. 2, the sun glares into the sandy surrounds while the flagstick plays dead from heat exhaustion. The only sound among the two players, their caddies and a few dozen spectators comes from the constant muttering of the pines that collect voices from those who three-putt below. Donald Ross promised his first hole to be a firm handshake, but what would he say to all of the sweating palms unable to grip the innocuous-turned-nefarious opener?
In this U.S. Amateur cauldron of heat, pressure, 36-hole days and unrelenting turtleback greens, Ricky Castillo opted to wear dark gray pants like a professional would. He didn’t have to, and nobody else did, but it’s symbolic of how he hopes the decision will be mandatory in the coming years.
Just how polished, you may be wondering, is this 18-year-old from Southern California? Perhaps we should start with how, as a young boy, Castillo learned that playing golf with his brother Derek would get the two of them excused from chores. Taking a di...
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