CARMEL, IND. – Atlanta’s Roberto Castro was on the other side of the Tour Championship velvet rope when he teed it up for Sunday’s final round of the BMW Championship.
He proceeded to put his head down and bull through the barrier (making the kind of gains that his favorite NFL team, the Falcons, could have dearly used Sunday).
FedEx Cup points standing coming into the BMW Championship – and remember that only the top 30 advance to East Lake and the playoff finale: 53.
Points standing when he began Sunday, following a disappointing 74 on Saturday: 37.
Points standing when he finished off a 67, a 5 under round: 21.
It’s back home for the former Georgia Tech and Milton High player, making his second Tour Championship appearance, completing a season that has rewarded Castro with everything except his first career victory.
“I think (making the Tour Championship) is a huge accomplishment for any player, including the top five or 10 players in the world,” he said. “I think it means you had a good season and you played well again when it matters. I’ll be very proud to tee it up there.”
The launching point for his round came on the par 4 seventh, when from 160 yards out, Castro deposited his 7-iron shot into the cup. The eagle helped propel him to a front-side 32 and into the top 30 in points by the time he made the turn.
“It was one of those I just didn’t have anything to say to it when it was in the air. Arms up means it went in, I couldn’t see exactly but all the crowd went straight arms up. It was a nice little kick start,” Castro said.
There was little drama thereafter. A sole third place finish at the BMW meant a $578,000 paycheck and a very secure spot at East Lake. Castro finished five shots clear of five players tied for fourth.
The 30-player Tour Championship field will have significant Georgia and Georgia Tech connections.
Along with Castro, another more noted former Yellow Jacket, Matt Kuchar, will be making his seventh Tour Championship appearance.
“Atlanta certainly is a nice reward every year,” Kuchar said. “It’s always fun for me to get there. It’s always something that I relish.”
Another frequent East Lake visitor, one-time Bulldog Bubba Watson, is in line for his seventh Tour Championship appearance as well. That certainly can’t hurt Watson’s campaign for a spot on the American Ryder Cup team (play begins Sept. 30 at Hazeltine in Minnesota). Davis Love will announce three of his four captain’s picks Monday, with the fourth coming Sept. 25, at the scheduled close of the Tour Championship.
He’ll be joined by another former Bulldog, Kevin Kisner, 19th in the FedEx Cup points.
Throw into the mix, if you will, the Bulldog who transferred to Augusta State, where he was part of two national championship teams, Patrick Reed. Reed is No. 2 in FedEx Cup points, in position to win it all with a Tour Championship victory.