JACKSON, Miss. – Roberto Castro’s second round at the Sanderson Farms Championship included some sunshine, thunderstorms, a five-hour rain delay, yellowjackets and a snake.
None of it mattered. He navigated the elements and the unwelcome wildlife to shoot a 5-under 67 on Friday at the Country Club of Jackson to take a four-stroke lead.
“That’s why I stay in the city,” Castro said. “I’m not good in nature.”
But he has been very good in Mississippi, following up a 10-under 62 on Thursday with another impressive round. The highlight was an eagle on the par-4 eighth when his 122-yard shot with a pitching wedge spun back about 10 feet into the cup.
“It’s fun to get one to fall,” Castro said. “Sometimes you go a couple of years without making one and then you make a couple in a couple weeks.”
Bryce Molder, Jhonattan Vegas and D.J. Trahan were tied for second at 11 under. Molder shot a 69, while Vegas and Trahan had two holes remaining when play was suspended for the day.
Molder had two bogeys and five birdies, including a tricky 6-foot putt for birdie on the final hole.
“To knock it in the middle felt good to at least finish that way,” Molder said.
But the story of the day was once again Castro, a 30-year-old who is winless on the tour in more than 100 starts.
He struggled with his driving on occasion during the second round, but made it up for it with a good short game and putting. It helped that the course was once again exceptionally soft, making for forgiving landings on the green when trying to power out of the rough.
“For how much rain they’ve had, (the course is) holding up well,” Castro said.
Castro played three holes before the five-hour delay, making a birdie on No. 3 before the rain came. His round really because interesting when play resumed.
He was on No. 5 when a yellowjacket crawled up his shirt and stung him on the left side. He said he hadn’t been stung since he was a kid. Castro went to Georgia Tech and joked that he was upset “one of my own kind” attacked him.
Georgia Tech’s mascot is the Yellowjackets.
“It just kind of got up under my shirt, and I knew it, and it just got me,” Castro said. “It still stings now, but it didn’t really bother me.
A little later, he saw a snake, leading to his jokes with his caddie about the joys of city life.
“It was a lot to take in,” Castro said. “But I feel like I stuck to my routine and made a lot of good shots.”
Defending champion and Canadian Nick Taylor is tied for 8th at 9 under after his opening 36 holes.
Adam Hadwin didn’t hit a shot Friday. The Canadian, who held a share of 4th heading into Friday, is tied for 17th at 7 under.
The second round was set to resume Saturday morning. More rain is expected.