Nicole Castrale apparently did not start the weekend thinking she'd be involved in the trophy ceremony at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. She didn't realize until she finished her round how close she came to doing just that.
Castrale shot a 7-under-par 64 at Highland Meadows Golf Club yesterday to propel her into second place. She finished five groups ahead of winner Paula Creamer, though, so she and her caddie/husband Craig Castrale left before the finish to catch a 7:50 p.m. flight out of Detroit Metro airport.
A 29-year-old native of Glendale, Calif., Castrale birdied six of seven holes on the back nine to card her best round of the year. She had eight birdies and one bogey.
"I was just trying for fairways and greens with it being so windy out there; I was just giving myself a chance," Castrale said.
Castrale started the day tied for 15th and bogeyed the first hole. She then zoomed past most of the top 10 as others had difficulty with the windy conditions. Castrale had the best round of the day by three strokes.
"I have played well in the wind over the course of my career," Castrale said. "Whenever it is windy I like to think that I can post a good number and move up the leaderboard."
Her biggest move came while Creamer was struggling on the back nine, and Castrale admitted she wanted to see if she could get in Creamer's head a little bit.
"When I got to 13, and I had two par-5s left, my goal was to try to birdie both and post a number and let her see it, and basically see what happens," Castrale said.
Castrale almost eagled the 17th hole, hitting a sand wedge within about a foot of the hole. She birdied that par-5 but drove her 18th hole tee shot into the rough, leaving her a less-than-ideal approach shot for her final par 5.
"I may have come up a few short but I gave it my all," Castrale said. "It's a good Sunday any time you shoot 6-under par on the backside."
Castrale has fared well in her limited history at the Farr Classic. In 2006 she finished ninth. She has one victory, coming last year at the Ginn Tribute. Yesterday was her fourth top-10 finish of the year, three coming in the last month.
"I feel like I'm starting to get in the groove a bit," Castrale said. "I just felt like I really wasn't putting things together early in the year. I was hitting it pretty good and putting well, that's kind of the key."
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